Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

August 21, 2005
Town council issues statement regarding Sanders Garden World

Sanders Garden World is to double in size

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council has issued a statement on the Secretary of State's decision to give Sanders Garden World the go-ahead to expand its site by 30,000 square feet.

Town Clerk Eileen ShawThe council was one of three objectors at the Planning Inquiry held into the application. The following statement was issued through Burnham's Town Clerk, Mrs Eileen Shaw (pictured right):

"The report by the Inspector clearly shows the justification of the Town Council's challenge on Sedgemoor District Council's original planning decision. Although we have not had sufficient time to digest all 15 pages of the Inspector's report and the observations from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, we note that in his conclusion in paragraphs 45 and 46, the Secretary of State appears to acknowledge:

1) That the proposal is not in line with Sedgemoor District Council's Development Plan.
2) That the applicants retail assessment was deficient.
3) That there is no qualitative need.
4) That the site is in an unsustainable location and would generate more travel by car.

The Inspector seemed perturbed about the impact of Sanders Garden World's catering business in the Burnham-On-Sea area and asserts that the substantial number of covers at the garden centre may well have already diverted trade away from Burnham-On-Sea.

Furthermore, the Inspector appears to criticise the evidence presented by Sanders Garden World in their Retail Impact Assessment and agreed that the evidence supplied by the Town and District Councils had "to an extent addressed the deficiencies of the applicant's evidence in this respect".

He was also concerned about the sales of Christmas decorations and whilst he agreed that most garden centres commonly sell Christmas decorations, their sale might increase the possibility of the Garden Centre acting as an independent attraction in its own right. For this reason, the sale of Christmas decorations was to be restricted to November and December only by means of a condition of the planning permission.

The question of coaches stopping for refreshments at the Garden Centre appeared to concern the Inspector when considering whether it was acting as an "off motorway" stop and he appeared to take note that the Town Council was doing its best to encourage stop offs for coaches in Burnham-On-Sea town centre.

The Secretary of State noted that the increased parking provision for cars at Sanders Garden World would not contribute to the sustainability of the site, and although there had been no evidence of sequentially preferable sites, the proposed extension would still impact on the sustainability of the area.

The Secretary of State has agreed that imposing conditions be means of three schedules of the type of goods which may be sold, and the areas from which they may be sold, will firmly limit the extent of expansion. The third schedule in particular refers to Christmas decorations, the sale of which must be limited to 1,200 square metres overall internal and external floor area, and must only take place during November and December.

The Town Council will be consulting with the Chamber of Trade, and other interested bodies, as to the conditions which have been attached to this Planning Permission, and will be seeking further advice as to what route is open to the Town Council, should it be felt necessary to challenge these conditions.

It is a matter of some satisfaction to the Town Council that the Inspector clearly took great note of the evidence presented by the Town Council at the Inquiry, and in supporting the aims and objectives of regeneration of Burnham and Highbridge, we are of course disappointed at his decision to recommend to the Secretary of State that permission should be granted."


Sannders Garden World gets go-ahead to expand

Sanders Garden World


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