June 19, 2021

Litter, parking, anti social behaviour: Bessom Bridge

Last summer’s hot weather and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions attracted many people to Wimbleball. The pressure of large visitor numbers to the Bessom Bridge area of Wimbleball was very high, and at times extreme. We saw unprecedented numbers of parked cars (191 at one count), visitors and large amounts of litter on the lake side and road verges.

Many residents raised concerns with Brompton Regis Parish Council about the negative effects of all this on their daily life and on the environment, and local and visiting fishermen reported being unable to fish. Throughout the past year the Parish Council has been in regular communication with the South West Lakes Trust (SWLT), Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA), the Highways Authority and local Avon and Somerset Police (ASP) teams. We have sought:  

– new and clear signage at Bessom Cross to the main SWLT car park and activity centre and for the parking there to be free in order to encourage visitors away from the bridge area
– no Stopping or No Waiting Highway signs on the road between Bessom Cross and the narrows by the gate entrance to the bridleway which would make clear to drivers the restrictions 
– police action against breaks in Covid-19 regulations
– police action against alcohol related anti social behaviour.
 
Looking ahead into summer 2021, the ASP team is providing regular online and phone discussions to bring together the various organisations involved in seeking to manage visitor numbers.  SWLT has been placing no parking cones along the bridge which seems to have deterred some problematic parking. South West Water has closed the permitted path from the Bessom Bridge car park on to the bridge. ENPA and SWLT have agreed to provide information events and support to encourage visitors to take litter home, not use barbecues or fires on land near the lake and generally to behave responsibly.  
Residents who witness situations that cause them concern may wish to raise the issues in the following ways:
– ring the police non emergency number 101 and email the local police team (bryan.stevens@avonandsomerset.police.uk ) to report breaks in Covid -19 regulations, parking issues, highways issues and alcohol related anti social behaviours
– email SWLT to report concerns on the lakeside:  NReeves@swlakestrust.org.uk
– email ENPA to report concerns in the area around the lake: DJBarnett@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk
– email BRPC Clerk to report concerns and actions: brpcclerk@gmail.com