TOWN councillors in Minehead have taken over responsibility for nightly locking of Blenheim Gardens.

It follows Somerset Council’s decision to stop locking the gardens to save money as it tries to close a £100 million budget gap and avoid bankruptcy.

Councillors agreed a one-year trial with their in-house amenities team taking on the task of nightly locking while exploring long-term solutions.

Unitary staff will continue opening the gardens on Monday to Friday mornings, with the town council’s team handling weekend openings as well as locking duties.

Minehead's Blenheim Gardens.
Minehead's Blenheim Gardens. (Tindle News)

Blenheim Gardens will be open from 8am to 7pm from April to September, and 8pm to 4pm from October to March.

Town clerk, Ben Parker said: “Keeping Blenheim Gardens secure is important to our community.

“The gardens are a point of community pride.

“By having our staff lock up each evening, we can ensure Blenheim Gardens remain an enjoyable yet safe space for all.

“We are pleased to take this proactive step safeguarding them for Minehead.”

New signage will be installed at each entrance to show opening and closing times during the trial period.

Mr Parker said residents were encouraged to adjust visiting times so they could fully enjoy Blenheim Gardens during opening hours.

He said councillors recognised the more structured locking approach might not be favoured by all users, but it would ensure the gardens were kept secure while balancing increased costs to taxpayers.

Mr Parker said: “The council remains committed to balancing public access with proper security measures.”