Published: March 16, 2011
Highbridge In Bloom team address criticisms in open letter

Members of Highbridge In Bloom have this week hit back following perceived criticism made by several residents on Burnham-On-Sea.com's forums.

In an open letter to this website, the Highbridge in Bloom team (pictured) seek to address their points and 'set the record straight'.

Burnham-On-Sea.com is a strong supporter of Highbridge and is happy to reproduce the full letter from the group's secretary, Pam Lyes:

Pam writes: "As a number of comments have been made on the forum of Burnham-On-Sea.com regarding the bogeys installed at Walrow, Highbridge in Bloom would like to bring a few things to attention."

"When Highbridge in Bloom was formed in February 2008, one of our founder members had been involved with the former Regeneration Partnership, who it is understood proposed to have the bogey wheels erected on the Walrow roundabout."

"The Highways Manager would not give permission for this, so we understand monies were paid to the Town Council instead. This founder member asked us to pursue this project and an approach was made to the County Council to see if they would change their minds."

"After the paperwork went backwards and forwards to the various departments of the County Council for many months we were then asked to produce plans which the founder member commissioned at his own expense."

"These plans also showed alternative positions for these bogeys within the same vicinity. Eventually, the Town Clerk became involved and she was given copies of these plans. Events then started to move and we attended a site meeting with the Town Clerk, and the Highways Manager, who eventually agreed that the bogeys could be sited in their present position. This was the most appropriate site nearest to the Old Locomotive Works in Walrow."

"With regard to the Planning Application for a "Highbridge" sign to be constructed in brickwork in the bank at Jubilee Gardens, this was made by the Town Council on behalf of Highbridge in Bloom, at the suggestion of Sedgemoor District Council to help us cut the cost of the planning fees of £335. We have paid out nearly £400 to cover planning and architect's fees. This money has been obtained by fundraising and sponsorship."

"If Planning Permission is granted we will apply for a grant to cover the cost of the works. In no way is it intended that the Town Council will be involved in this project. Sedgemoor has agreed to the work being carried out."

"With regard to the Town Clock, it is understood that £10,000 is to be contributed towards it by Raglan Housing under a Building Agreement, and the remainder (whatever that may be) the Town Council intend to raise by way of public donations."

"We have won TWO Britain in Bloom Silver Gilt Awards for the Town, one in 2009 and the other in 2010. After each competition, the judges have commented that there is very little heritage projects on show in the town to depict its rich industrial history (of which we are very proud) - hence the brickwork, as at one time Highbridge had three Brickyards employing many local people."

"Fees for entering into the competition are not cheap, and our delegates who attend the various events thoughout the year pay their own expenses. It does not come from the Highbridge in Bloom funds."

"We have obtained sponsorships for seats in Jubilee Gardens; plus the two raised beds and the "L" shaped border on the Town Green, at present maintained by the Town Council. A new floral bed is to be constructed by the District Council at the Station Approach and negotiations have begun with a prospective sponsor."

"As members were disheartened to read the negative comments, we felt that we should put the matter straight, that very little of the Town Council funds are being spent on the Town."

"We have received numerous congratulations from visitors and residents alike on the floral improvements to the town, and appreciate the horn blowing and waving when we are going about our tasks. We do a regular monthly litter-pick so perhaps those who are all too ready to criticise should tear themselves away from their computers and come and help us."

"Highbridge has always been a town ready to support itself if the need arises. It is also comforting to see that the latest reported crime figures for Highbridge are much lower than Burnham. All this hopefully shows that Highbridge is not such a bad place to live!"


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