Burnham-On-Sea’s MP has this week asked Prime Minister Theresa May to do more to prevent ‘illegal’ traveller encampments in the local area.
James Heappey raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons following a summer of visits by groups of travellers in Burnham-On-Sea and surrounding villages which “angered” residents.
Mr Heappey told the Prime Minister: “Residents in communities across the Wells constituency have been angered this summer by a seemingly endless stream of illegal traveller encampments.”
“Will the Prime Minister look at what more the Government could do to help local authorities to close these illegal encampments more quickly and at less cost to local taxpayers?”
Theresa May responded: “My Hon. Friend raises an important issue, and it is not unique to his constituency; it is felt by many members across the House.”
“We are concerned about unauthorised encampments and the effect when they leave communities.”
“A wide range of powers is available to local authorities and the police, and we want to see them working together and with local landowners.”
“We do keep these matters under review, and I am sure my right hon. Friend the Communities Secretary will be happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss them.”
It comes after travellers set up camp on Burnham-On-Sea’s Esplanade and in the town’s Pier Street car park several times, causing frustration for police. There were also issues with camps in several nearby villages.
WATCH: Video of the exchange with the Prime Minister: