Published: June 8, 2009
Burnham-On-Sea's regeneration hopes dealt a severe blow

Plans to regenerate Burnham-On-Sea were dealt a severe blow on Monday (June 8th) when it was announced that the town is not to gain £750,000 of much-needed funding for the project.

The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) announced the line-up of regeneration schemes across the region that have gained funding, but Burnham's Civic Pride project was not on the list.

SWRDA unveiled a programme of capital investments across the region over the next two years worth £260m, but while Weston and Bridgwater will get money, Burnham-On-Sea has missed out altogether.

A statement released by the agency on Monday morning, referring to Burnham, stated simply: "The RDA has invested some funding in the initial feasibility and study work for this proposed public realm improvement project. In line with our policy decision set out earlier on 'public realm' investments, we will not provide any further funding."

Disappointment over decision

Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Sedgemoor District Council is extremely disappointed that the Civic Pride Programme in Burnham has been a casualty of the regional cuts."

"This programme has been evolving since 2002 and it is deeply frustrating for the Council and the local community that the funding to implement the plans has been withdrawn at this important stage."

"The Civic Pride project will now need to be reviewed with the key partners to understand if there are other options to progress key elements of the programme."

And Burnham's MP, David Heathcoat-Amory, also attacked the decision and said he would be taking up the matter in Parliament, as reported here.

Jane Henderson, Chief Executive of SWRDA, said: "Today's announcements represent a significant investment programme that puts in place the building blocks for further growth and prosperity in years to come."

"Like most businesses and families throughout the region, we have had to tighten our belts and will not now be able to fund all the investments we hoped we could."

"None of these choices has been made lightly, and we regret the disappointment that will be felt by some of our partners and stakeholders in having to scale back our investment activity."

"Given limited resources, we have our sights firmly focused on doing the things that are most important for ensuring that the South West comes through the recession in the best possible shape to succeed as a dynamic, sustainable and thriving regional economy."

SWRDA's list of projects that it is backing has been published online at http://download.southwestrda.org.uk/file.asp?File=/other/general/Capital-projects-09-11.pdf

It added that the government's 2007 spending review reduced all RDAs' budgets by 5% year-on-year for 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11.

Also, in recent months, some of the funding for RDAs has been re-directed by the Government to pay for national business support and housing initiatives.

The images above show how Burnham town centre was expected to look after regeneration

 




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