Published: November 23, 2011
Council split on whether to remove Burnham's decorative lights

Controversial plans to remove Burnham's decorative seafront lighting to save money have been considered by town councillors this week.

During a meeting of the Town Improvements Committee on Monday night (November 21st) a vote took place where councillors were split on whether to take down the lighting, which costs over £3,500 per year to maintain.

Cllr Paul Young said: "Given the high cost of maintenance and electricity, I propose we take the lights down and get them into storage or consider selling them."

Cllr Alan Miller agreed: "I do wonder whether anyone would notice if they were turned off."

Three councillors voted in favour of removal, while four were against - so a recommendation was narrowly approved for £3,500 of funding to be placed into this year's budget to keep the lights.

Cllr Dennis Davey said: "If we were to take them down, we'd incur additional removal costs and storage costs on top."

During the meeting, councillors considered the costs of maintaining the lighting.

Committee Chairman Ken Smout explained: "The problems we have encountered are more complicated than first thought given the configuration of the wiring inside the columns."

And Town Clerk Eileen Shaw added: "There is also rust on several of the columns, making it difficult to access the electricity boxes, so we are hoping Somerset County Council will be replacing them soon."

The County Council is to be approached regarding its future plans for the lighting columns, which are also expected to require strengthened concrete bases, and a long-term decision about the decorative lighting is now expected to be made next year.

The lights were previously seen as being a positive tourist attraction that brighten up The Esplanade. They were originally introduced in April 2006, as covered here.


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