Town’s gritty drama is proving a mystery

Clevedon seafront

Clevedon seafront - Credit: Archant

A GRITTY substance which has stuck to numerous cars and properties in Clevedon has caused somewhat of a mystery in the town.

More than 40 households in roads near the seafront and in the Dial Hill Road area have reported the material stuck to the bodywork and windscreens of their cars as well as the windows of their homes.

For some, it has meant their vehicles have failed MOTs due to poor windscreen visibility because the substance is so difficult to remove without causing permanent damage.

Many of those affected believe the problem has resulted from recent grit-blasting and painting work carried out at Clevedon Pier but there is no evidence to prove it is the source.

Richard Hamilton-James, of Wellington Terrace, has been given a quote of £1,400 to remove the substance from his new Ford Fiesta.

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He has now written to MP Dr Liam Fox, Clevedon Town Council and North Somerset Council, which owns the pier, in the hope an independent investigation will be carried out.

Mr Hamilton-James said: “I noticed the windscreen wipers were smearing the glass and making a screeching noise.

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“If you rub your hands over the car or the outside glass of our windows you can feel these tiny particles.

“I know of 44 households which have been affected by this.”

From September until the end of January, grit-blasting was carried out on Clevedon Pier’s ironwork before it was repainted. Plastic sheeting was put around the sections being treated to prevent materials being released into the environment.

The pier’s contractor, Centregreat, did take a sample of the substance left on garden furniture in Wellington Terrace but tests concluded it did not match the materials associated with the pier work.

Pier trust chairman Simon Talbot-Ponsonby said: “There has obviously been something landing on Clevedon and the question is what is it?

“We regret the fact it has happened but there is no evidence to show it has come from the pier.

“Our contractor had a sample of the substance tested but there was no match with the materials they were using.”

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “The Environment Agency and our environmental protection team both visited during the work and found no connection between the pier renovation and the damage caused. This was also supported by an independent assessment of samples which was carried out by the pier trust.

“As a result of this we don’t feel there is anything else we can do to help.”

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