Published: July 26, 2010
Burnham-On-Sea seafront mini golf course plans rejected

Controversial plans to build a mini golf course on Burnham seafront have been rejected after the district council ruled today (Monday, July 26th) that it could not award a lease to the entrepreneur behind the project.

Sedgemoor’s Executive Committee met this morning to decide whether its covenant for the land could be amended to allow the course to be built on the seafront lawns next to Burnham Coastguard Station, pictured above.

However, with nearby residents threatening a legal challenge if the covenant was altered, the Executive decided that the application for a 25 year lease should not be given approval - even though a separate planning application was given the go-ahead earlier this month.

Paul Chatwin, the entrepreneur behind the scheme, told after Monday's decision: "The Covenant states that no obnoxious building can be erected on the land and that no business can be operated if it is or becomes a nuisance."

He added: "Sedgemoor District Council - wisely protecting their funds against any legal claims - suggested that I should pay for an indemnity policy to protect them against possible claims. I had agreed to pay for this policy to protect the Council and ratepayers. The mini golf proposal was being recommended by officers to the Executive on the condition that I pay for that policy."

"It should have been a simple system of granting the lease on condition that a suitable policy is in force. Unfortunately, the Executive decided not to follow that fail-safe route and simply rejected the whole thing."

"I'm scratching my head at that decision. If a suitable policy couldn’t be found which satisfied the council’s concerns, then the scheme would not have gone ahead. Sedgemoor District Council were in a 'win-win' situation. The mini golf course would have earned Sedgemoor nearly £200,000 in rent and cost savings - now they are simply left with the cost of maintaining the area."

Ann Popham, one of the nearby residents who is opposed the plans welcomed the news on Monday afternoon, saying: "I am delighted at this very sensible decision by Sedgemoor." first reported in February how Mr Chatwin wants to turn a grassy area of The Esplanade into a large, purpose-built golf park to act as a tourist attraction.


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