Sedgemoor District Council has defended its decision to close Berrow beach to vehicles over the winter months after a petition calling on the council to open the beach to local motorists has been attracted hundreds of signatures.
Burnham-On-Sea.com reported here that the council says that it closed the beach to parked vehicles until next April on safety grounds due to the beach wardens ending their duties for the season on September 30th.
A petition was launched by local resident Rita Morgan calling on the council to re-open the beach to local cars.
However, Sedgemoor Disrtrict Council spokeswoman Fiona Harkin has defended the decision this week, saying: “The decision has been taken by the Council to close the Berrow beach gate through the winter months for a number of reasons. It is not a decision taken lightly and we appreciate that many people would wish to see it open for the parking of cars all year round.”
“Firstly, most importantly, is the safety issue of some vehicle owners being unaware of the dangers of driving on the soft mud, getting stuck and being caught by fast in-coming tides.”
“The beach warden service for Berrow ended at the end of September and will not resume again until Easter 2022. There is, therefore, no supervision or guidance to vehicle owners unaware of the dangers and who may not be able to get the prompt assistance they may need.”
“In addition, the opening of beach car parking requires daily operation of the gate. The beach access road needs to be cleared of sand regularly to enable vehicle access onto the beach throughout the off-season months, the ramp onto the beach is also likely to require regular attention to ensure safe access onto the beach. The Council neither has staff local to Berrow or the number of staff to be able to cover this operation safely on a regular basis.”
“There is no restriction for pedestrian access to the beach through the winter months, so those wishing to walk dogs or take horses onto the beach or simply to go for a walk would be able to park on the beach road or locally and walk onto the beach.”