A local group of tourism businesses in Brean and Berrow has this week presented a ‘no-cost’ plan to Sedgemoor District Council to enable the authority to re-open Berrow beach to vehicles over the winter months.
Burnham-On-Sea.com first reported here that the council has shut the beach to vehicles until next April on safety grounds due to the beach wardens ending their duties for the season on September 30th.
A petition launched by local resident Rita Morgan calling on the council to re-open the beach to local cars has attracted over 1,500 signatures.
Now, the group Discover Brean, which is a consortium of holiday parks and hospitality businesses in Berrow and Brean – has held a meeting with the council to present a possible solution.
The group’s Bob Nicholson told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “As as result of a meeting between Sedgemoor District Council representatives and business representatives from Discover Brean, a request was made that the beach car parking facility should be reopened for the anticipated very busy October half-term break. It was mentioned that SDC would benefit from parking fees to offset the manning costs.”
“It was emphasised that this was not only in the interests of the holiday industry, but in the winter months the facility enables local people to drive onto the beach which is welcomed and enjoyed by many residents, some of whom are elderly and less mobile.”
He adds that the group has offered, on behalf of the Discover Brean subscribers, to take responsibility in the winter months for opening and shutting the gates to vehicular traffic.
Bob says that the offer has prompted several questions from Sedgemoor District Council. He says: “Following this offer, several questions were submitted by SDC: 1 – What hours would be operated; 2 – What dates would you operate on?; 3 – How would the access ramp be maintained?; 4 – How would you ensure beach users are kept safe?; 5 – How would you carry out safety checks?; 6 – How would you supervise/warden the beach while the gate is open. An additional question was whether businesses would be willing to discuss the possibility of part-funding a winter warden.”
He says: “We have answered as follows: 1- 9am to 5pm (or dusk); 2 – Depending on SDC 1st October to 31st March; 3- Access road and ramp would be serviced by members of the maintenance team from the adjacent Holiday Resort Unity Holiday park; 4 – We would follow the practice as observed by SDC on the Burnham Beach through to the Berrow Beach boundary; 5 – Safety checks would be carried out when required. It was pointed out that all the businesses involved were very much aware of responsibility with regard to Health and safety); 6 – Regular checks of what was occuring on the beach during the period that the gate would be open.”
“The services were offered at no expense to SDC. Regarding the question referring to the possible part-funding of a winter warden, we said that Discover Brean would be willing to discuss this, however the offer as proposed would save any additional costs.”
“Discover Brean now awaits Sedgemoor District Council’s response and any action.”
The management group of Discover Brean comprises of Sandyglade John Fowler Holiday Park, Unity, Beachside, Sundowner Bistro, Brean Leisure Park, Brightholme, Warren Farm, The Beachcomber and Channel View.
Burnham-On-Sea.com has invited Sedgemoor District Council to comment on the group’s proposals.