Country village feels like it’s ‘back in lockdown’ due to huge gathering

GMB: Mike Parry furiously rants about 'tin can' caravans

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The owners of pubs and shops claim they have been forced to close in Cheddar, Somerset, because of the “mini festival” which is expected to last all week. Those in the caravans and motorhomes have been accused by some locals of making threats and behaving anti-socially in the village, famed for the nearby caves and gorge.

Traffic has been very heavy through the village as a result of the gathering, reports Somerset Live.

One angry resident claimed: “To drive through Cheddar this afternoon was like a full lockdown again – I can’t think these businesses wouldn’t shut if it wasn’t serious.”

Another local claimed: “Young louts from the rally went along the High Street in Cheddar this afternoon shouting and acting as louts, kicking rubbish boxes onto the busy main road.

“When asked to stop and pick them up, being met with a tirade of the foulest language ever.”

A football match was postponed due to “a situation in the village”.

Cheddar AFC tweeted: “The reserve team game against Hutton is regrettably postponed. There is a situation in the village which means the club is unable to hold a fixture at this time.”

And Rachel’s Grill, a mobile street food business that normally operates at the football club, announced it had to close too.

“Due to the recent event happening in Cheddar this week, we will remain closed,” the statement said. “If any of the present circumstances change then we will re-evaluate the situation. Hope to see you all soon. Let’s hope it does not affect too many businesses – stay safe.”

Young louts from the rally went along the High Street in Cheddar this afternoon

A Cheddar resident

The Riverside Inn and Restaurant posted on its Facebook page just after 2pm on Monday that it was closing for the rest of the day “with immediate effect” due to “unforeseen circumstances”, and replied that they were experiencing “technical difficulties”.

Again today, Tuesday, the pub said it was closing early with last food orders from 5pm today and the pub shutting completely from 6pm.

One parish councillor, Christina Brown, told local residents on a community Facebook page that the parish council had no warning that the event was happening.

“I made the parish clerks aware of this earlier today and they’ve let the PCSOs know,” she said on Monday.

“Usually I get to hear about large gatherings via parish council meetings, but this one’s come as a surprise.”

It is understood that, because the event has no alcohol being served or formal entertainment, no events licence was required – it is effectively people hiring a field to hold a big party.

The man who owns the field where the gathering is happening claimed the problems and issues in Cheddar were “nothing to do with me”.

Ashley Hann claimed: “I only let the land for six days to them. They’ll be gone on Friday. They said about 50 caravans would come but I reckon it’s probably more like 80 or 90. They didn’t tell me what it was all for, so I have no idea. What they do off the site is nothing to do with me.

“The police have come out and they’ve told me I’ve done nothing wrong, and that they are just going to be monitoring the situation now.”

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