Cheddar blighted again
The curse of mass gatherings of motorists treating Cheddar Gorge as a racetrack returned this weekend. On two separate occasions during the pandemic lockdown the Police had taken action to close the B3135. Over the past month road use seemed to have returned to normal. However on Sunday evening 16 August Police were monitoring traffic and discovered upwards of 300 vehicles using the Gorge.
Extra police resources were deployed to the Cheddar Gorge area over the weekend. After receiving intelligence of a planned car meet on Sunday and multiple incidents of dangerous driving, they acted. At 8.45pm the B3135 was closed to traffic. It took 30 minutes to clear the Gorge area.
The Police noted that motorists were seen performing doughnuts and other dangerous maneuvers as pedestrians and cyclists tried to use the route. It became clear that the motorists action was a danger to other road users. Inspector Andy Pritchard told us “We will not tolerate the dangerous driving that people were subjected to in Cheddar …. and we will not allow public roads to be treated as a race track. Our priority was, first and foremost, to ensure the public’s safety and therefore the Gorge closed as a last resort. We apologise for anyone inconvenienced, but hope they can appreciate why it was necessary on this occasion.”
We understand body worn cameras were being used and the Police are reviewing footage in case it can be used as evidence to support prosecutions of some of the motorists using the Gorge. They are also asking for witnesses to contribute their own evidence “If you witness antisocial driving in the Gorge, please report it on 101. Footage can also be uploaded at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report to help us identify those responsible.”
Meanwhile the Police have promised that extra resources will in future be deployed in the Gorge area to protect local people and other road users.