Improving the perception of Cheddar

Since I have been chairing the Parish’s Highways and Open Spaces Committee, I have been involved on two other committees that meet periodically, the Multi-Agency committee led by the police, and the Cheddar Vision group which dates back to Tessa Munt’s time as our MP, these days usually led by a representative from Sedgemoor District Council.

The Multi-Agency committee is specifically looking at the issue of local anti-social vehicle use, out of which has now come proposals for a Public Spaces Protection Order which is currently being drafted. Like the one in Kensington (signage pictured) and in many other locations affected by this issue nationally, it will enable PCSOs and other officers to issue fixed penalty notices to anyone seen breaching the terms of the order. It also ties in to the Cheddar Vision strategy (see below) by making our roads safer for visitors as well as for residents. Once this has been finalised by Sedgemoor District Council in the coming weeks, more detail will be available on the parish council web site.

Meanwhile, the Cheddar Vision group has been formulating a tourism strategy for Cheddar, based around it becoming the “outdoor adventure capital of the South West”. A new village tourism leaflet has already been produced and some visitor profiling work is about to kick off. The vision is to move towards a more up-market and less “tacky” (a word often used to describe Cheddar on Trip Advisor) visitor experience. It is hoped to make Cheddar appeal more to walkers, climbers, cavers, runners, cyclists, birdwatchers, bat spotters, and anyone else with a love for spending time in the outdoors. The National Trust “Top of the Gorge” Festival is a trailblazer for this concept and if you haven’t been before it’s well worth a visit. The third annual event at this site is taking place up at Charterhouse from June 14th-16th and you can find out more details at the NT shop in the Gorge. Maybe I’ll see you at the festival?