NASS Festival in Shepton Mallet forces school closure

NASS Festival Image copyright Chris Johnson/NASS Festival
Image caption The festival has been running for several years at the showground without any traffic problems

A special needs school has closed for the day due to the "high number" of people crossing its grounds to get to a skateboard and BMX festival.

Mendip School said the NASS Festival at the nearby Bath & West Showground meant it was unable to ensure an "appropriate and protective" environment for its pupils.

The showground society has apologised.

Event organiser Vision Nine has also apologised and has asked festival-goers "to respect our neighbours".

A Vision Nine spokesman said: "We are in touch directly with The Mendip School to offer any additional support required during NASS Festival.

"We were made aware yesterday of disruption to parents picking their children up from the school.

"We apologise to parents and the teachers for this inconvenience.

"We thank local residents for their patience and apologise to those affected by yesterday's slow moving traffic. We're pleased to say that traffic is free flowing today in the vicinity of the festival grounds.

"The majority of festival goers are now on site."

Image copyright NASS Festival
Image caption Street art also features in the three-day event

The three-day festival is the second largest event held at the showground near Shepton Mallet, attracting about 30,000 people.

It features skateboarding, BMX competitions, street art and live music from acts such as Cypress Hill and Rudimental.

The problems first emerged on Thursday afternoon when traffic started to build from Shepton Mallet and Evercreech.

Mendip School head teacher Natalie Hannah said in a statement on the school's website: "This year the population of the event has significantly increased and as a result the organisation has been less effective than we have seen in previous years."

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A Royal Bath & West Society spokesman said: "We apologise profusely for the turmoil caused on the local roads around Shepton Mallet on 11 July as the NASS Festival was getting under way.

"The level of travel disruption was unacceptable and will not be tolerated again."

The society said there had been minimal disruption over the previous four years, but admitted a traffic plan made this year "did not work".

Talks will take place with Mendip District Council and Vision Nine to discuss what can be done to improve the event next year.

Image copyright NASS Festival
Image caption Some 30,000 people attend the festival every year in Somerset
Image copyright NASS Festival
Image caption The event features live music and acts such as Cypress Hill and Rudimental
Image copyright NASS Festival
Image caption The organisers say they are in direct contact with the school to offer support

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