Published: June 14, 2009
Burnham's MP calls on Lord Mandelson to reconsider regeneration plan

Burnham-On-Sea's MP, David Heathcoat-Amory, has this week written to Lord Mandelson stating his anger at the withdrawal of £750,000 of funding by the South West Regional Development Agency for the town's regeneration project.

Mr Heathcoat-Amory has asked Peter Mandelson - who is UK First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (pictured above) - to re-consider the decision made by SWRDA last week not to give funding to Burnham's regeneration plans, as first reported here.

The MP, pictured right, told "Burnham and Highbridge deserve better than this kick-in-the-teeth by the SWRDA. Since Lord Mandelson is now the second most powerful person in the country I look to him to reinstate the promised funding."

In his letter, the MP states: "I write to express in the strongest possible terms my objection to the sudden and unexplained withdrawal of funding from the Burnham and Highbridge Civic Pride Project. I also object to the manner of SWRDA’s termination of its funding for the Morlands site, Glastonbury."

"Sedgemoor District Council and the Burnham and Highbridge Town Council have worked on this project in good faith with SWRDA for seven years. Delays were caused by SWRDA which made endless demands on the local authorities, including the production of a detailed economic impact assessment."

"SWRDA finally accepted the case, so at long last Burnham and Highbridge were to receive their rightful share of the funding which SWRDA has already given to other towns."

"It is therefore unacceptable for this project now to be terminated at this late stage, when so much time and money has been spent on it."

The MP's letter goes on to state: "I note that SWRDA are not cutting a number of other projects, particularly in Bristol, Swindon and Exeter, even though they are at a more preliminary stage."

"SWRDA has also announced that it is walking away from the Morlands development in Glastonbury, which is also in my constituency. SWRDA have owned that site for eight years and spent over £20 million on it without creating a single habitable building or a single job."

"Rural Somerset has therefore been savagely hit while other parts of the region have been exempted. For instance, of the seven projects to be cut, only one is in a government held constituency."

"Since you are responsible for the actions of SWRDA, I ask that you intervene to stop these arbitrary and unexplained cuts. In the case of Morlands, I ask that SWRDA transfers to Mendip District Council not only the site but the planned capital expenditure to complete it."


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