The National Trust has this week been criticised by Brean residents for opening its car park next to Brean Down despite its public toilets being shut, leading to ‘unsanitary’ problems as visitors use nearby bushes and gardens instead.
Hundreds of vehicles have been parked at the National Trust’s car park during the last few days but, with the WCs still closed, residents say they have been faced with an unpleasant problem.
June Day, who lives next to Brean Down, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “If a public car park is opened that attracts hundreds of people a day at £5 per car, they should be expected to provide the facilites to support them.”
“We have seen a disgraceful increase in people defecating and urinating along our hedges and in our gardens – it really is unacceptable and we are at our wits’ end. Some openly do it and laugh at us when we challenge them.”
“We have installed CCTV and are passing on the video to the Police for them to follow up. We don’t blame the Parish Council because they have kept their beach parking area closed.”
June also adds that new wooden barriers and extra signs installed at the top and bottom of the steps at Brean Down have been a “failure” in preventing visitors from breaking social distancing guidelines.
“We see 300-400 people a day stepping over the wooden barrier and then breaking the social distancing rules when they meet people coming up or down the steps.”
The Trust is asking people to use the old military road to the top of the Down instead, where social distancing is possible.
June, who is a care worker, adds: “It is a big worry – we’re seeing people coming here from across the country and it does raise the risk of Coronavirus being spread about as people touch things like hand rails and parking machines.”
She adds: “We are not miserable, moaning people. 99 per cent of the time we love Brean and this is the most wonderful place to live, but at the moment it’s a big worry.”
National Trust spokesman Claire Bolitho told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We are making opening decisions based on local conditions and urge anyone who wants to visit to check our website before travelling. Where we are able, we will open toilets at our countryside car parks.”
“We had hoped to open the toilets at Brean Down but are still waiting on PPE equipment to ensure our staff remain safe and we can protect our visitors. We will publish available toilet facilities on our website, but visitors should be aware that these may change from time to time.”
Sedgemoor District Council has, meanwhile, asked anyone considering visiting local beaches or beauty spots to “think carefully about their planned trip and to be considerate to our communities.”