Businesses close as 'more than 1000' travellers arrive in Cheddar

Travellers arrive in North Somerset for religious festival

Police have confirmed that around 100 caravans have arrived on a field near Draycott Park for a suspected religious festival. - Credit: Submitted

Businesses have closed after the sudden appearance of a suspected mini festival being held in Cheddar.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has confirmed it is aware of the group, estimating around 100 vehicles are on the site.

A nearby business owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Mercury that the situation has grown rapidly out of control.

They said: "The group plans to be here until the weekend and businesses have closed for the foreseeable future to avoid any trouble.

"I would guess there are between 500 to 1,000 people, maybe more, with some using the field as a toilet.

"Young people from the group have been into the town causing havoc by stealing or throwing eggs at houses."

A number of nearby businesses have closed as a result of the crowd.

A number of nearby businesses have closed as a result of the crowd. - Credit: Submitted

Sedgemoor District Council confirmed it has been made aware of the group's presence but could not do anything to remove it as they had the landowner's permission to be there.

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A spokesman told the Mercury: "We became aware of the event on Monday and I can confirm that we had not previously been notified.

"As such, the district council would not be required to give authority or permission for this event to take place. I understand that the organisers have the permission of the landowner for use of the land for the purpose of the event.

"We have had no reports of licensable activities taking place on the land. I believe that caravans are in place on the land in support of the event but, again, I am afraid that this would not require planning consent or a license.

"At this stage, therefore, we are not aware of any breaches of licensing or planning regulations and would have no regulatory reason to engage with the organisers. We will of course keep the situation monitored."

Avon and Somerset Constabulary told the Mercury: "The neighbourhood team are carrying out reassurance patrols over the coming days and engaging with those attending the event.

"We ask that any reports of crime or anti-social behaviour are directed to police on 101."

The landowner who agreed to the group's stay was approached for comment but declined to give one.

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