SEDGEMOOR council have defended their decision to close Berrow beach to cars over the winter following a petition by about 900 locals.

The beach was closed at the end of September and and will not re-open until Easter.

A council spokesperson said: “Firstly, most importantly is the safety issue of some vehicle owners being unaware of the dangers of driving on the soft mud, getting stuck and being caught by fast in-coming tides.

“The beach warden service for Berrow ended at the end of September and will not resume again until Easter 2022.

“There is, therefore, no supervision or guidance to vehicle owners unaware of the dangers and who may not be able to get the prompt assistance they may need.

“In addition the opening of beach car parking requires daily operation of the gate.

Access road

“The beach access road needs to be cleared of sand regularly to enable vehicle access onto the beach throughout the off-season months, the ramp onto the beach is also likely to require regular attention to ensure safe access onto the beach.

“The council neither has staff local to Berrow or the number of staff to be able to cover this operation safely on a regular basis.

“There is no restriction for pedestrian access to the beach through the winter months, so those wishing to walk dogs or take horses onto the beach or simply to go for a walk would be able to park on the beach road or locally and walk onto the beach.”

Petition

Rita Morgan set up the petition to complain that locals are being inconvenienced by the move and calling for a re-think.

She said: “This is a first and will greatly inconvenience locals who use the beach out of season when it is quieter, with fewer visitors.

“This really happens in the summer season when visitors do not read the warning signs. Locals are very aware of beach safety.

“We want Sedgemoor District Council to rethink this very poor decision and show some consideration to their local community.”