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General

If you are going to Bridgwater Fair….

Every year Sedgemoor District Council hosts a historic outdoor travelling funfair and market near the centre of Bridgwater, Somerset. The funfair on St Matthews Field, TA6 7HD is organised by the Showman’s Guild with Sedgemoor District Council organising the market elements of the event. Bridgwater Fair attracts crowds from far a field and is recognised as the largest fair in the South West with roughly 40,000 visitors each year.

This annual event, which dates back to the Charter of King John, is now almost 800 years old, the last 600 years of which have been spent on St Matthews Field.  The Charter decreed that the four day fair was to start annually on the last Wednesday in September.

  • 2021’s Bridgwater Fair will start on Wednesday 29th September and ends on Saturday 2nd October.

Opening times:

Opening and closing times for the fun fair are usually:

  • 11:00am to 11:00pm Wednesday;
  • 1:00pm to 11:00pm on Thursday;
  • 1:00pm to 11:30pm on Friday and
  • 11:00am to 11:00pm on Saturday.

The West Street market usually opens:

  • 10:00am to 10:00pm Wednesday;
  • 10:00am to 10:00pm on Thursday;
  • 10:00am to 10:00pm on Friday and
  • 10:00am to 10:00pm on Saturday.

Following tradition, the Fair will be officially opened on ‘Fair Wednesday’ at 11:30am by Sedgemoor District Council’s Chairman and the Mayor of Bridgwater.

Road closures and prohibition of on-street parking:

Detailed road closure information is displayed in the notice section of the Bridgwater Mercury at least twice in the run-up to the event, usually late August and mid-September.

Road closures come into place at 9:00am Tuesday 28th September 2021 and are lifted at 10:00am on Sunday 3rd October 2021. West Street, Milton Place, St Matthews Green, Westover Green and St Matthews Field are affected by road closures. Diversion routes will be in place.

Prohibition of parking (and traffic coning) will be in place along many surrounding streets including Northfield, Durleigh Road (to the junction of Woodbury Road), Park Road and Albert Street from 8:00pm on Monday 27th September 2021 until 10:00am on Sunday 3rd October 2021.

Westfield Close and Halswell Close will be residents permit only.  If residents park without a permit then they are  liable to a parking fine.

Car parking:

As in previous years limited parking will be available Thursday to Saturday of fair week, with the Rotary Club of Bridgwater which is located on the Fairfield and costs of £5.00 per vehicle.

 

Additional public parking is usually available at the YMCA in Friarn Avenue and at Bridgwater Cricket Club on Durleigh Road.

Please note there are additional car parks within the town centre but these are not operated by Sedgemoor District Council.

West Street and Fairfield Markets:

The markets we know today, with their stalls set-up through West Street, as well as the one-day horse and goods market held at the top of St Matthews Field, are very different to the original fairs of 800 years ago. The West Street market runs from Wednesday morning to Saturday evening. The Fairfield market runs all day on ‘Fair Wednesday’ (the last Wednesday in September).

Traders from across the UK attend the West Street and Fairfield markets with products ranging from clothing and shoes, rugs and cushions, bulbs and plants, china and pottery, as well as culinary delights such as the famed welsh cakes, brandy snaps, preserves and jams and much more.

Please see a map highlighting the locations of the West Street and Fairfield Markets and the parking days for the Fairfield Market.

Toilets:

Temporary cabin toilets, provided by Sedgemoor District Council, are available behind the One Stop shop next to West Bow House, behind Westfield House on West Street and behind the Horse and Jockey Public House on Fairfield. Temporary cabin toilets, including disabled accessible toilets, are also provided behind the Horse and Jockey Public House on Fairfield.

First Aid:

First Aid during the event is provided by St Johns Ambulance. This service is situated in Westfield Church car park, West Street, from Wednesday to Saturday of fair week. First Aid provision is funded by Sedgemoor District Council.

Alcohol at the Fair:

Visitors to the Fair should be aware that West Street, St Matthews Field and most of the surrounding area are covered by the Council’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).  This is an Order designed to tackle nuisance arising from people acting antisocially through drinking excessively in public places. The Order gives the Police and PCSO’s the power to confiscate alcohol within the PSPO area. These powers will be vigorously enforced and anybody bringing alcohol into West Street or St Matthews Field especially can expect to be challenged and may be required to surrender their alcohol. Only alcohol in plastic cups purchased from the hatch at the Horse and Jockey and consumed within the vicinity will be permitted.

 

 

 

 

Free emergency preparedness training for Somerset residents

Free emergency preparedness training for Somerset residents

The fourth annual Resilience event starts with live talks on Monday 4 October and aims to help communities become better prepared for emergencies as well as looking at wider preparedness measures that anyone can take.

Anyone who registers will receive an information pack, event pack and weekly emails signposting to videos and toolkits on a variety of subjects. Interactive training sessions with national training provider Communities Prepared are on offer, alongside live online presentations from emergency and community organisations, as well as national flood resilience expert Mary Dhonau.

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “Interactive events like this are an excellent way to raise awareness with local communities and individuals and help them to take vital steps in preparing for an incident, which could ultimately save lives.

“The sessions will cover a range of subjects from how to use social media in emergencies to food resilience and crime prevention.

“It’s a great opportunity for groups to hear from each other, share their experiences and ask the experts. The training workshops are focussed on topics we often see raised by communities, including recruiting volunteers, how to assess risk and insurance.”

As well as the online training, face-to-face events include an open evening for Langport and Huish Episcopi Flood Group, and Avon & Somerset Police beat surgeries around the county. Sessions will be led by a range of organisations including the Environment Agency, South West Ambulance Service Trust, Communities Prepared, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Avon & Somerset Police, Somerset Rotary, Somerset Civil Contingencies Unit, Spark, and Community Council for Somerset.

Participants are encouraged to share their experiences throughout October by tweeting Somerset Prepared (@SomersetPrepare) and using the hashtag #ImSomersetPrepared

To attend this free event, people can register their interest and book training sessions on the Somerset Prepared website www.somersetprepared.org.uk.

Knife Crime – Drop the Knife campaign

 

Somerset communities are urged to report any knife crime in the area – and young people are encouraged to avoid becoming involved or victims of knife crime.

A knife crime campaign was launched this week with a bid to raise awareness about the dangers of carrying a knife and report knife crime incidents across the county.

The Somerset Serious Violence Reduction Unit states Somerset is a safe place to live, but police data suggests the reporting of knife possession has doubled in Somerset between 2016-2018.

Knife crime offences represent less than 5% of total violent crimes, but they are serious offences that can causes significant harm to our communities.

The Violence Reduction Unit is therefore keen to reduce incidents of weapon possession, particularly amongst young people and look to raise awareness around the risks linked to knife crime.

Early this year, the Violence Reduction Unit commissioned a research report on ‘Social Media and experiences of cultural norms, violence and exploitation in Somerset’. Insights from this report finds the primary reason young people carry weapons is for protection and out of fear for their safety, not to intentionally incite violence. Some young people told us they have carried weapons because they perceived it to be cool and are sometimes swayed by music artists and online influencers.

Speaking on the launch of the campaign, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for community safety, Cllr Clare Paul said, “From the work we have done so far with young people, we realised that weapon carrying was more for protection and of fear or because they perceive it to be cool. They have expressed a need for understanding and compassion around why they had started carrying. The social media and experiences of cultural norms report puts further emphasis on this. Our message to young people is clear – you are neither safe, cool, or protected when you carry a weapon. Over the next few months, we will continue to engage with young people and listen to what they have to say which should enable us to reduce the devastating impact that knife crime and weapon possession could have on communities.”

The Violence Reduction Unit will also conduct regular surveys with professionals including volunteers who encounter knives or bladed weapons as part of their work. The objective of these survey will be to gather enough information about experiences and concerns across sectors to know what a multi-agency response could look like. An accurate picture of professional’s experiences could be used to inform future training and communications.

Please click here to access the Social Media and experiences of cultural norms, Violence and exploitation in Somerset research report. If you are unable to click on the link, please visit the Somerset Violence Reduction Unit webpage, downloads section to view the report.

If you have information about knife crime in your area and you’re nervous about going to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you’re calling from.

If you are worried about someone you know carrying a knife, help and guidance is available:

  • The #knifefree website provides information about helping young people go knife free.
  • Fearless.org is a service that allows you to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously.
  • Call 999 immediately if there is an ongoing incident involving a weapon.

 

 

Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Advice

Did you know a thief can take the catalytic converter from your car in a matter of minutes and leave you to foot the bill? Precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters. The price of some of these metals has risen sharply in recent years and as a result has led to an increase in the theft of catalytic convertors.

Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as these vehicles have two power sources, so the catalytic converter is used less frequently. The metals are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more and therefore more attractive to thieves.

Hybrid cars, Vans and SUV’s are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier. The Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris, Honda Jazz and the Honda CR-V are often targeted.

Please click here to find out how to reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen.

REMEMBER: If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, call 999 or 101 and report it to the Police. Be sure to obtain as much information as possible, including the registrations of any vehicles being targeted or being used by the persons involved.

Beware – Cold Callers are active in our area

We have been made aware of the following by PCSO Sue from our local Neighbourhood Policing Team:

A couple of individuals are working in the area at the moment offering gardening services.

Their usual method is to cold call & offer to cut hedges etc. They will give a quote, then once the work is done, will say that it was a bigger job than initially expected, & demand further payment.

They will usually target more elderly residents whose gardens may look overgrown & untidy, thus preying on the vulnerable.

Please be vigilant, & look out for elderly /vulnerable members of the community.

If you are looking for gardening services or property maintenance, please do not succumb to these unscrupulous people- no matter how professional and friendly they may appear. Always go to a reputable firm, or someone who has been personally recommended.

If you are concerned about people behaving suspiciously or rogue traders in your area please call 101 and report it to your local neighbourhood team.

Big changes to modernise marriage registration

Big changes to modernise marriage registration

New legislation coming into force this week is set to modernise marriage registration for the first time since 1837.

The Marriage Schedule System will move away from the current paper register (the traditional book which is signed by the couple and their witnesses) to a more secure system for keeping marriage records.

The electronic register will also allow for the names of multiple parents of the couple to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates – previously only fathers’ names were included. This move brings the system in line with the one already used for registering Civil Partnerships.

Couples will notice two main differences when it comes to their ceremonies. Firstly, they will not sign in an old-fashioned register book, but instead they and their witnesses will sign a single sheet of paper called a ‘Schedule’ that is unique to the couple.

Secondly, it will no longer be possible to provide a marriage certificate on the day of the ceremony. Couples will be legally married from the moment they say their vows, but certificates will now be posted to them within five working days.

Couples who have already given notice do not need to take any special steps. Somerset County Council’s Registration Service will take care of all the changes to paperwork and will give couples the option of adding extra parents to the schedule on their big day.

The new changes will present a technical hitch for some couples. Some honeymoon offers require proof of marriage to validate a special offer, or the couple may be travelling to a country where couples must be legally wed to share a room. As the certificate will not be available for up to five working days, couples are advised to check in advance what other proof businesses or travel destinations will accept.

Genevieve Branch, Somerset County Council Service Manager for Registration Services, said: “Registrars across the county are being prepped for the new changes, and our Somerset team are excited to start implementing the new, more inclusive system. With more streamlined paperwork behind the scenes and a better representation of modern families on couples’ landmark documents, this really is a welcome move for the wedding industry.”