Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge Town Council

Public meeting regarding travellers

Public meeting regarding travellers

2nd October 2023 at 6pm at the BAY Centre

Present: Town Councillor Sharon Perry (SP)
Chris Hall (CH) – Executive Director, Community Services, Somerset
Jonathan Eamer (JE) – Neighbourhood Police Sergeant, Somerset and
Avon Constabulary
Town Clerk and Deputy Clerk
Town Councillor Mathews and 36 members of the public
Councillor Perry welcomed everyone to the meeting and began by passing on
Councillor Millard’s apologies for not being able to attend.
JE had been involved with the group who set up in Cassis Close in May and gave
some background to the process of evicting unauthorised encampments, which have
restrictions, although the Police have powers under S60, S61 Acts etc.
Travellers often turn up at a site late on a Friday and the Police are usually called.
The Police then have to notify the landowner and, in the case of Cassis Close, this is
Somerset Council. At this stage this is a civil matter and often the 24 hour notice to
leave is not served until the Monday/Tuesday. If the travellers do not leave, the
Council then has to obtain a Court Order and if they don’t leave by the date required
bailiffs can be instructed. This whole process can take around 10 days.
CH also explained that when a Council doesn’t have a transit site for travellers to
use, the Council have to go through the Courts as they do not have the power to
move them on. The Council needs to abide by the law but could make Somerset
less attractive for stopping by making sites less accessible. The Police and
Somerset Council are now working together to try and speed up the process.
Residents were given the opportunity to raise issues and ask questions, which were
answered by CH and JE. They included;

  • Travellers seem to have more rights that the general public. Do they pay for
    parking. Are checks done to see if their vehicles are insured? Vehicles are
    insured and taxed and the Council could issue a parking ticket, although this
    is not the best option and doesn’t deter them.
  • One resident stated that parking wardens were instructed to stay clear from
  • How has the new law changed things and why isn’t is quicker?
  • If locks are removed, why can’t they be charged with criminal damage?
  • The ‘lego blocks’ that have been installed will hinder medics if there is an
    accident on the pitch. Travellers can still access the car park.
  • When the police have been called because a resident was being threatened,
    it took over 12 hours for the Police Officers to arrive.
  • Is there any way of having an advanced warning system, if travellers are in
    the area?
  • A zero tolerance policy needs to be implemented.
  • What are home owners’ rights, if people come on to a private property?
    During the meeting several residents spoke of incidents that had occurred
    when the travellers had been in Cassis Close, including: having to cancel
    groups attending the site which effected income; people were frightened;
    people were threatened; water was being taken from residents’ gardens; there
    was anti-social behaviour with loud music being played and dogs barking.
    The impact on the residents and users of Cassis Close was not being taken
    into consideration.
    Residents were advised to report all problems to the Police through 101,
    which will help the Police to take more affirmative action quicker. If a
    crime/criminal damage is in process, call 999. Residents should not put
    themselves in danger.
    The Police and Council are working together to try and speed up the
    timeframe for issuing the notice. The Council also has a statutory duty to
    undertake welfare checks.
    The ‘lego blocks’ have been installed as a temporary measure, although this
    is not guaranteed to stop travellers entering the site. The longer term plan is
    for bunds to be built. Trying to prevent access until it is needed is difficult to
    There is not going to be a perfect solution, although the Police and Somerset
    Council are trying to be as proactive as possible.
    At the end of the meeting it was agreed that a further meeting should be
    arranged in 3-4 months.
    Councillor Perry thanked CH and JE for responding to the concerns and
    thanked everyone for attending.

Other News






Have our newsletter delivered direct to your inbox.

Be the first to hear our latest news.

Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge Council Logo

Thank You

Please check your inbox for any email verifications to ensure you complete the signup process.

Records Retention Schedule

Financial Risk Management Policy - March 2023

Grant Application Kings Coronation Form

The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023, with an additional bank holiday on Monday 8th May 2023.

We are keen to hear from groups/organisations in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge that are looking to celebrate the Coronation. The Town Council has £1500 available to allocate to events being organised to celebrate the Kings Coronation. The maximum grant to be allocated per event will be £500.

You must meet the following criteria for your application to be considered:

– The event will be open to all members of the public

– The event will be free of charge

– The event will take place within the Coronation weekend

– The event will take place within Burnham on Sea or Highbridge


Applications will close on Monday 6th March at midday. 

Your organisation and contact details

What happens next....
Applications will be considered at the Finance and Resources Committee Meeting on Monday 13th March 2023. You will be notified after this date whether your application has been successful.
Burnham & Highbridge Town Council takes your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information for the purposes of contacting you about this grant. The Council’s privacy notice can be found here.

We use cookies to help make this site better. Read more about our cookie policy.

Skip to content