Burnham-On-Sea’s MP attended a Town Council meeting this week to discuss a number of local issues, including a new ‘collaborative approach’ to tackling travellers.
MP James Heappey attended the council’s Town Projects Committee meeting on Tuesday (29th May) where members considered a consultation on powers for dealing with unauthorised developments.
Mr Heappey stressed the importance of a thorough response from the Town Council as Burnham has been cited as the first case study on a national level regarding unauthorised encampments of various groups of travellers.
Tatiana Cant, Town Clerk, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Councillors agreed that this is a significant problem for the community and the current enforcement system is not adequate to deal with the problem.”
Representatives from the police – Sgt Ryan Edwards – and Sedgemoor District Council – Steve Hellard – were also at the meeting and described the difficulties they faced with managing the frequent episodes.
Tatiana added: “The technicalities of the removal process lead to delays in the ability to move groups on and often they relocate to a nearby site which means that the problem is only shifted slightly further down the road.”
“The authorities are working closely together to develop a joint protocol which is currently in draft form, and collaborative working is needed to try to solve these issues.”
Town councillors agreed to form a new ‘task and finish group’ which will meet urgently in order to prepare a full response to the consultation by the end of this week.
Pictured: Top, the travellers at Apex Park earlier this year; Above: MP James Heappey at this week’s council meeting in Burnham-On-Sea