Published: May 27, 2010
Controversial plans for new seafront golf course attract mixed views

Controversial plans to build a mini golf course on Burnham's seafront have this week been attracting mixed reactions from residents and local businesses.

Burnham-On-Sea.com first reported in February how Birmingham entrepreneur Paul Chatwin wants to turn a grassy area of The Esplanade into a large, purpose-built golf park to act as a tourist attraction.

The plans have been formally submitted to Sedgemoor District Council's planning department, and focus on an area of 1,470 square metres of grassed area south of Burnham Coastguard Station. They also include converting a seafront shelter into a new shop.

Burnham's Chamber of Trade this week welcomed the proposals, with Chairman Geoff Shickle telling Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Within reason, any properly controlled tourist attraction in Burnham is to be welcomed, especially if it brings new visitors into town."

And Tom Ashton, speaking on behalf of the chamber's tourism businesses, added: "This is just the type of tourist attraction that Burnham needs to attract holidaymakers and visitors."

But the plans have not been welcomed by some residents living near the proposed golf course.

A letter written by one resident, Ann Popham, has been posted through the doors of homes in the area this week, stating: "We are trying to put a stop to Sedgemoor District Council selling off the two lawns and shelter on a long lease."

"We will lose two rights of way - the steps at Margaret Crescent and the ramp area between the pilot hut and the steps. Once we lose this area, you will no longer have a right to a public amenity for us locals."

But Mr Chatwin denies his scheme will include any changes to public rights of way. "The steps she refers to are not part of my scheme, will not come under any lease I agree with the Council and will remain just as they are. There are several other ramped or stepped access points along the length of South Esplanade; the nearest being just 60 metres away," he told Burnham-On-sea.com.

He added: "The three formal planting beds shown in the photos will remain and will be planted each year at no ongoing cost to the council. On a positive note, I would like to thank the many people who have shown support for the scheme and would ask those in favour to ensure they register their approval."

"Readers can view the full application online at Sedgemoor's planning website and make up their own minds. There is a facility to express views on the proposal."

Feedback is being welcomed by the council's planning team until June 25th.




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