DRASTIC action is in the pipeline to put an end to anti-social driving at an iconic Somerset beauty spot.

Cheddar Gorge has been plagued in recent months with incidents of groups of motorists meeting up and disturbing the peace.

A number of partners have got together to tackle the problems in the area.

The Cheddar Vision Group aims to identify opportunities for investment, tourism, quality and experience, to regenerate the local economy, while respecting and working with the environmental importance of the gorge.

Currently the Vision Group is working together on a number of different strands:

  • Avon and Somerset Police are funding Longleat, which owns the car parks in the gorge, to install gabion baskets to deter anti-social driving in the gorge;
  • Work is underway to look into other options regarding road safety in the gorge and reducing anti-social driving to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The gorge has already been reduced to a 30mph speed limit and now a 20mph in the lower gorge, new blue-badge spaces and several free parking bays created which are available all year round;
  • Evidence is being gathered in support of an injunction to combat the anti-social driving and money has been secured from Sedgemoor District Council Active Travel budget to run a consultation on future changes to the highway that could achieve the vision. Consultation with the Vision Group began in May, this will lead to public consultation during the summer of 2021;
  • Re-opening the visitor centre (ex-National Trust shop) is currently being explored. This will act as a tourist information centre while promoting local food and products, places to stay and outdoor activities;
  • The Discover Cheddar website is now live Discover Cheddar – The Outdoor Capital of the South West.

A group spokesperson said: "Cheddar Gorge is an iconic landscape, vitally important for wildlife and the natural beauty is one of the key reasons people visit.

"Supporting the visitor economy conserving the natural environment and helping nature to recover can happen together with the organisations working together through the Vision Group.

"This will lead to more sustainable employment due to seasonal jobs being less of a factor, will also increase employment opportunities by encouraging inward investment and stimulating new small business creation. Local residents will also enjoy the resulting enhancements to the built and rural environments."

The group consists of representatives from:

  • Cheddar Parish Council;
  • Sedgemoor District Council;
  • Somerset County Council;
  • National Trust;
  • Cheddar Caves and Gorge (Longleat Estates);
  • Somerset Wildlife Trust;
  • Cheddar Walking;
  • Cheddar Chambers of Commerce;
  • Mendip Hills AONB Unit.

Avon & Somerset Police and Bristol Water are invited to attend regularly, as are other important organisations like Visit Somerset.

The group has an action plan to try and achieve the following ‘visions’;

  • The gorge and village are united;
  • The outdoor experience is high quality;
  • Cheddar is the outdoor capital of the South West;
  • The gorge is improved for people and wildlife.