July 21, 2016
Council taxpayers foot £5,000 bill for moving travellers in Burnham area

Thousands of pounds has been spent by Sedgemoor District Council on moving groups of travellers from various locations in the Burnham-On-Sea area this summer, it has been confirmed this week.

Groups of travellers have set up camps in Burnham's Pier Street car park, the Esplanade, the BASC Ground, and Berrow Village Green in recent weeks, prompting costly legal action to be taken in each case.

Sedgemoor District Council estimates it has spent over £5,000 on moving the travellers on during the past three months.

Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told "We do respect people who have a travelling lifestyle, but we also have to consider residents."

"The costs are difficult to quantify because each instance is different, but it does cost us £400 in legal costs each time we begin formal action, regardless of whether the travellers move on before it goes to court."

"There are also 'people costs' involved since our team visit the travellers, go to the court and raise the paperwork."

Burnham Town Centre Manager Beverley Milner Simonds said this week she'd like to see a long-term solution found.

She told "Burnham-On-Sea is not alone in struggling to balance the needs of Gypsies and Travellers and that of residents in more conventional homes. I hope that my colleagues in the District Council can assist us finding a lasting solution that works for everyone."

James Heappey, the area's MP, told earlier this week that he has various discussions underway to push for more to be done to help local authorities tackle the problem. "I fully sympathise with local councils and residents," he said.

Pictured: Travellers in Burnham's Pier Street car park last week and, above, at the BASC sports ground last month

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