Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

September 5, 2005
'Use it or lose it' warning to Burnham High Street shoppers

Worried councillors have issued a blunt message to shoppers in Burnham regarding the town's High Street - 'Use it or lose it'.

Burnham-On-Sea High StreetThe warning came during a debate this week regarding the government's controversial decision to give Sanders Garden World the go-ahead to double the size of its store near Brent Knoll.

The council is unhappy with the decision, which it fears could lead to many shoppers and visitors shunning Burnham's town centre shops.

Former Mayor Cllr Louise Parkin said: "We need 100 per cent support from local people for Burnham's town centre. This is a case of 'Use it or lose it'."

And Cllr Poole added: "Don't let out town die and become a ghost town."

In proposing a motion to encourage Sedgemoor District Council's enforcement officers to ensure there is fair competition among all traders throughout the Burnham area, he said: "Sanders says they'll be creating 100 jobs from this expansion, but business people here in Burnham say that's no consolation because firms will close and the livelihoods of those who have been here for generations will be lost."

Cllr Parkin also pointed to a steep decline in the number of coach visitors in the town since Garden World opened as evidence that the expansion of the store could further hurt Burnham's town centre traders.

Burnham High Street"Signs promoting free parking for coaches have just not worked," she said. "Since Sanders opened its current site, the number of coaches in Burnham has dropped off. They just don't come into the town after visiting Sanders."

Councillors also expressed concerns about the vagueness of what products will be able to be sold at the expanded Garden World store.

In one part of the Secretary Of State's report that gave the green light to the expansion plan, it was stated that Sanders will be able to sell "outdoor clothes."

Cllr Neville Jones called for clarification on what this means: "They could use this as a carte blanche to sell a huge range of items that are already on sale in the town."

Cllr Cooper vowed that the council would be "seeking answers" if Sanders is allowed to stray from selling more than just those products outlined in the report.

He also appealed to residents across Burnham to support town centre shops, adding: "It's often cheaper in town."

RELATED LINKS:

Sanders Garden World expansion gets the green light

Town Council statement on Garden World go-ahead

 


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