Published: September 28, 2012
£320,000 of improvements to Burnham town centre move step closer

£320,000 of improvements to Burnham-On-Sea's town centre moved a step closer on Thursday after a meeting was held to discuss the proposed changes.

A list of 34 possible improvements was cut down to 12 during the first meeting of the Town Council's expanded Town Improvements Committee which includes representatives from Burnham Chamber of Trade, Burnham Town Team, Somerset Tourism Association and the former Regeneration Partnership.

The partial pedestrianisation of Burnham High Street remains one of the most likely improvements to get the go-ahead.

During the meeting, a straw poll of the 13 members on the committee revealed that eight are in favour of halting traffic to make the town centre more pedestrian-friendly.

Other improvements under consideration include a new water feature on the seafront, electric car charging points, improved car parking arrangements, a wishing well, the introduction of more farmers markets and promoting the town centre as a shopping destination to those out of Burnham.

The committee also considered plans to further enhance the Victorian feel of the town centre through the introduction of additional traditional lighting columns along the High Street and Victoria Street.

Tesco has given £320,000 of community funding towards the regeneration of Burnham town centre to offset any damage to traders from its store expansion.

Cllr Michael Clarke, who chaired Thursday's meeting, told "It was a productive first session. There were some good ideas put forward and it's great that the proposals are moving forward."

Among the ideas not being pursued are encouraging more street buskers, building an apprentice scheme for retailers, later opening of shops, Sunday promotion days, buddying and mentoring of retailers, plans to map town centre occupancy, tying the beach to the town centre more closely and reviewing street cleaning.

One of those present at Thursday's meeting, who asked not to be named, told afterwards: "The S106 money is to compensate the town centre for the damage that the expansion of Tesco will do. Ignoring the next generation by not having a council-led apprenticeship scheme is a real shame for the next generation of voters. They have decided not to encourage a cafe culture through late opening or legalising buskers and have suggested flights of fancy like wishing wells which is out of touch."

Further meetings of the group will be held in October and a final decision is to be made in December. The recommendations will then go to Sedgemoor District Council and some of the improvements could start to be made early next year.


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