RESIDENTS across Test Valley have responded to poll results by the Romsey Advertiser, which found an overwhelming majority of participants think beaches should be closed if social distancing can't be observed.

This comes after Health Secretary, Matt Hancock's, warning that the Government has the power to close public areas, such as beaches, if people flout safety restrictions.

Polls held on Twitter and Facebook, which provide a small snapshot of the situation, both found 84 per cent of respondents backed the Government closing beaches across the UK if sun-seekers ignore social distancing rules.

Posts on the Romsey Advertiser Twitter and Facebook pages asking readers to share their thoughts on the poll results sparked a debate and these are some of the comments.

READ: Polls reveal opinions on beaches being closed >>> 

One Twitter user said: "Keeping the beaches open when people are clearing ignoring social distancing rules is disgraceful.

"Beaches are inherently social places and will undermine the efforts of the NHS trying to contain the virus."

One person wrote on Facebook: "I'm not surprised by the result of this poll.

"Catching coronavirus on an overcrowded beach is a real possibility, so the Government should take action to prevent this from happening.

"More local lockdowns will inevitably lead to rising social and economic problems, which may have a lasting impact on millions of people in Romsey and Test Valley."

Another reader said they agreed with the results, adding the only "unrealistic prevention alternative is to leave the litter there, which might achieve the same result but not save the environment".

However, another user suggested shutting beaches would not be fair to people looking to enjoy their nearby beaches.

They commented: "I don't think closing the beaches is practicable, or fair to local people.

"The Wales approach of limiting travel to a certain radius seemed better and more enforceable."