Published: April 18, 2012
Health and safety fears halt Burnham-On-Sea's Britain In Bloom bid

Burnham-On-Sea has pulled out of this year's Britain In Bloom competition amid concerns about the safety of lighting columns along the town's High Street.

It means colourful hanging baskets like these will not be hung from lamp posts along the town's High Street this summer.

Organisers of Burnham's entry into the contest have made the surprise decision not to enter the regional competition for the first time in many years.

Richard Young, secretary of Burnham In Bloom, told "Our hanging baskets are usually displayed along the High Street and are a key part of Burnham's bid, helping us to win Silver Gilt awards in recent years."

"But unfortunately many of the existing lighting columns are aging and are in a poor condition and do not meet health and safety standards. We have concerns that some would not be able to hold the weight of the baskets this year."

He added: "Many of the High Street columns are due to be upgraded this year as part of the town's regeneration project. Rather than spend £1,000 now on buying new safety brackets that may not fit onto the new columns, we've decided to take a year off and wait for the new lamp posts to be installed."

"It is a shame because we had hoped the new lighting columns would be in place by now, but we will come back next year with a great display."

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council Clerk Eileen Shaw confirmed that the columns are due to be replaced by Somerset County Council.

She told "We are expecting the existing lighting columns to be replaced later this year, but this will unfortunately be too late for the summer season."

Meanwhile, the town's Burnham In Bloom competition - where awards are given to local traders and residents who display flowers in the town - will go ahead as normal. Entry forms will be available shortly from the seafront information centre and a special award for the 'most patriotic display' to mark the Queen's Jubilee will also be given this year.

Pictured: Top, Burnham High Street last summer and, centre, organisers Richard Young and Dave Perrett hanging the baskets in 2011 and, above, celebrating the silver gilt award with Burnham's Mayor and Mayoress


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