Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

October 5, 2005
Ambitious Civic Quarter plans for Burnham-On-Sea move a step closer

The initial plans for the Civic Quarter in Burnham-On-Sea

Ambitious plans for a huge Civic Quarter in Burnham-On-Sea moved a step closer this week when town councillors voted in favour of pushing the proposal forward.

The proposed Civic Quarter would see a cultural centre, new low-cost apartments, community buildings and a new civic square being introduced at the northern end of Burnham, replacing several old buildings.

As shown on the initial designs here, the site would extend from the existing Princess Theatre through to the redundant Tuckers' Garage on the northern edge of the commercial centre.

It would also include the existing Library and Community Education Centre under the plans drawn up by the Market and Coastal Towns Initiative.

The scheme's design document explains how the proposal will be funded: "Bellway Homes, working with the Town Council, is looking to develop a commercial partnership where the construction of homes for sale will finance the shell construction of new community buildings and form the catalyst for the establishment of the new Civic Quarter."

The design document adds: "The proposal offers the opportunity to reduce traffic movement and develop pedestrian prioritised streets radiating from a central civic square enclosed by public buildings, giving greater focus on the Princess Theatre."

"The residential development on Tuckers Garage will reflect the character and scale of the existing adjoining terraces in Victoria Street. It is proposed to develop a strong focal building replacing the original garage tower to provide a sense of identity and a transition between the commercial and residential ends of the street."

"The new community buildings are envisaged as extensions to the existing adult learning centre. It is proposed to provide elderly person accommodation above the car park linking with the community builings to maximise use of the site area and create a broad mix of ages and social groups."

"This would be in keeping with the earlier tradition of town centres to provide a vibrant social and commercial environment supporting both community and retail facilities whilst providing a place for people."

Cllr Neville Jones said the plans provided Burnham with a real opportunity and called the scheme "very ambitious." He added that "this is the only way we are going to get a Cultural Centre in the town."

The council voted to proceed with the scheme by spending £460 on pushing the outline application to the next stage. It will be reviewed by District Planners in the coming weeks.

Cllr Louise Parkin said the plans would "act as a catalyst to the regeneration of the town."

"There's a real urgency in hand in getting this to the District Council because planners are keen to push the project forward. Other developers are nipping at our heels," she added.



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