Published: January 15, 2009
Wrangle over land ownership further delays Burnham roadworks

Three months of roadworks which have brought a busy junction in Burnham-On-Sea to a standstill are being further delayed by a wrangle over land ownership.

Deep trenches, dozens of cones and temporary traffic lights have been in place at the junctions of Abingdon Street and Pier Street since October, causing delays for motorists and headaches for nearby businesses.

The work to introduce new traffic lights should have been completed before Christmas, but the County Council's Highways department told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week that it hoping to complete the work as soon as possible.

Somerset County Council spokeswoman Elizabeth Kulh explained to Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Delays to the works have occurred due to issues that have been identified over land ownership."

"These relate back to when the Somerfield store was originally built and the approach to the junction was not adopted into a public highway. These issues are ongoing."

Several town councillors recently questioned why the work had been started when other more pressing roadworks, such as traffic calming measures along the South Esplanade, had not been scheduled.

Responding to the comments, Elizabeth Kulh explained: "This particular project was brought forward for two main reasons. Firstly, there were concerns over safety due to the extreme corrosion that had occurred at the site. While inspections are carried out regularly, this particular site, being close to the sea, has deteriorated particularly rapidly over the last year or so."

"Secondly, in terms of programme, it was felt better to carry out the necessary refurbishment works during the quieter Winter period, rather than cause disruption to the town during its extended holiday seasons."

Meanwhile, nearby businesses face more disruption while the work continues. Geoff Shickle, owner of JPS Shoes, which is based on the corner of the two streets, told Burnham-On-Sea.com in December how the work had not helped trade at his shop.




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