Published: December 8th, 2006
Exclusive: Burnham-On-Sea shoppers call for pedestrianisation

Almost half of Burnham-On-Sea shoppers want the town's High Street to be pedestrianised, according to the results of an official survey carried out by the town's Chamber of Trade.

The study - which included leaflets being handed out in shops across the town and an online survey on this website - found 44 per cent of shoppers support the idea of removing vehicles from the High Street.

The results are bound to stoke up a fresh debate among traders and shoppers in the town.

"We've seen a wide range of subjects being brought up in the survey results, but most popular request has been for High Street pedestrianisation. Only one respondent specifically said no to pedestrianisation," said the Chamber's Vice Chairman, Alex Turco.

.COMMENTS ON CAR PARKING

‘Unless I drive around the town for about fifteen minutes it is virtually impossible to find a parking place. Consequently, I visit Tesco instead.’

‘The only thing that would enrich my shopping experience would be provision of a resident’s only car park for an hour’s free parking.’

‘If the workers in the town centre were given parking permits for the car parks, along with a traffic warden, this would free-up on street parking space.’

A third of survey respondents also had comments to make about car parking, whether it is the availability, cost, or enforcement. Some of the main comments are featured in the panel on the right.

“There were also many comments about the type of shops available in Burnham," said Mr Turco. "25% of respondents requested fewer charity shops, 22% wanted more chains or names, and 24% requested a greater range of shops or higher quality goods."

"At this early stage of analysis there would seem to be a correlation between those requesting less charity shops and those wanting chains or greater range."

Some respondents have been quite forthright about this: ‘Stop the cartel of existing shop owners preventing some of the chain shops coming to Burnham,’ said one. While other added: ‘If we had more High Street names I am sure it would bring in more people so the existing shops would benefit.’"

.COMMENTS ON TOWN SHOPPING

A number of the survey respondents are very pleased with what Burnham-On-Sea has to offer already:

‘I only shop in Burnham and find that I can buy everything I need.’

‘You have a lovely town, which appears to be more respected by visitors than locals.’

‘I’m actually amazed sometimes at the things that you can get here if you really look.’

‘Burnham has a quality atmosphere that most towns have lost today.’

Eight per cent of respondents suggested that certain shops needed renovation. This comes just weeks after Burnham-On-Sea.com revealed Sedgemoor District Council has set aside a fund of £30,000 for shop front renovation in Burnham and Highbridge.

Eight per cent of respondents have requested more Farmers' Markets. There was one response against the Farmer’s Market, which appeared to be from a business owner on the High Street.

Seven per cent of participants suggested the town needed better signage. This is something the Chamber will be working on and the lack of signage is one of the reasons the group included a map in its Shoppers’ Guide, published in June.

"Six per cent of respondents suggested better customer service, different opening hours and more toilets. The responses about opening hours were mainly about the tradition of half day closing on Wednesday. Interestingly, there were few requests for late night opening," added Mr Turco.

"We have been delighted by the response to the feedback scheme so far. We would like to thank all those who have taken the trouble to participate. The feedback scheme is still open and you can enter online."

Of the 89 people who have completed the survey so far, 53 per cent are women and 47 per cent are men. 88 per cent are residents and 12 per cent are visitors.

"We intend to collate and analyse the final results on 31st December 2006 and publish the full results at our next Chamber meeting on 16th January, 2007. Therefore, we would like to encourage more people to join in because the larger the number of participants, the more representative the results."

RELATED LINKS:

Have Your Say - Burnham-On-Sea shopping survey

 


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