June 3, 2009
refusal to help recession-hit Burnham shop
The owner of a prominent Burnham-On-Sea shoe shop which is set
to shut this week after 25 years of business has been left fuming
after the district council said it would not step in and take
on the store for community use to prevent it being boarded up.
was first to report earlier
this year how JPS Footwear, situated on the corner of the
High Street and Pier Street, would be closing with the loss of
six jobs this Saturday (June 6th), due in part to cripplingly-high
Geoff Shickle, pictured above, explained to Burnham-On-Sea.com
this week: "Rather than see the shop boarded up in such a
prominent position, we offered the premises to the district council."
know money is available under the government's recently-launched
Empty Shops Revival Plan for this to happen."
shop would then be used as a community facility for, as an example,
displaying local art and the like. One local art group has already
approached me to confirm they are interested."
Sedgemoor District Council has turned down the proposal, saying
it does not have the resources to do this.
Griffin, Corporate Director of Customers and Communities, said
in a reply to Mr Shickle: "Unfortunately at this time the
council is not in a position to enter into any form of sponsorship
or use of the premises. We currently have a number of properties
that are suffering in the same way and it would be wonderful if
we had the resources to address the situation."
Mr Shickle, who is also Chairman of Burnham's Chamber of Trade,
said: "Authorities in other parts of the country are acting
positively to utilise such premises for uses of benefit to the
has taken almost two months since I first raised this issue to
obtain this response and it is clear to me that SDC, not content
with destroying most of Bridgwater shopping area and almost the
whole of Highbridge, is now prepared to let Burnham-On-Sea die
on its feet."
council has never, since inception - and I served on the council
between 1976 and 1979 - understood the importance of tourism in
coastal towns and has kept their head in the sand with regard
to investment and encouragement of both shopping facilities and
attractions to visitors."
contacted Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council,
(pictured right) to get a fuller explanation of the council's
told us: "Sedgemoor District Council supports businesses
across the district and fully endorses the idea behind the Empty
Shops Revival Plan."
the announcement on 14th April from the Government on the Empty
Shops Revival Plan to which Mr Shickle refers, we are still waiting
for the nuts and bolts detail of this scheme. Unfortunately, until
the scheme is made clear and the monies promised flow down, we
are unable to take any pro-active action on this at present."
are a number of properties in towns across the district which
are suffering in the same way and whilst it would be an ideal
solution to bring these back into commercial or community use,
we have to face the reality of the overall economic climate at
work actively with landlords and potential occupiers to encourage
full use and we will continue this 'behind the scenes' work."
Shickle is also the owner of Shickle Shoes, also in Burnham High
Street, which continues to thrive and is unaffected by the closure
will join a growing list of firms in Burnham that have closed
in recent months, including French's
cafe in College Street, clothing store Dragonsurf in the High
Street, and the Burnham photography shop in
comes just a day after Burnham-On-Sea.com reported how one newsagent
in Highbridge has been boarded
up after being repossessed.