Published: October 10, 2012
Parking shake-up on the cards for Burnham-On-Sea High Street

The number of disabled car parking spaces and loading bays along Burnham-On-Sea High Street could soon be reduced in a bid to free up more spaces for shoppers in the town centre.

The proposal was put forward at a meeting of the Town Council's Town Improvements Committee last night (Tuesday) during ongoing discussions about how to spend over £320,000 of Tesco community cash to encourage more shoppers into Burnham.

Cllr Neville Jones proposed that the maximum parking time for disabled users in the High Street be reduced to two hours - and to a maximum of one hour for normal motorists - in a bid to increase a faster turnaround of shoppers.

Cllr Michael Clarke added: "Some disabled-only spaces could be moved into the side streets to free up more parking for shoppers and generate more trade."

A survey is to be carried out on how many spaces and loading bays could be moved or removed to create more short-term parking spaces.

The committee also reconsidered partial pedestrianisation of the High Street, with a scheme to introduce a new coloured road surface between Cross Street and Adam Street discussed.

Cllr Clarke said he had spoken to over a dozen traders in recent days about the plans and none were in favour of pedestrianisation. "Only shoppers and residents want it - not the businesses," he concluded.

And Mayor Ken Smout cautioned: "We need to be very careful when considering any form of pedestrianisation. It will upset a lot of people - I would be happier with a partial scheme to reduce the impact."

During Tuesday's meeting, members of the committee voted in favour of keeping a Victorian theme to the High Street as they considered plans for new street lighting, as we first featured here. The committee is to further investigate lighting changes for columns in the town centre.

The merits of a new shopfront art scheme for the High Street were also discussed in which metal shutters of shops would be painted by local artists to add a splash of colour. Rhonda Mills from the Chamber of Trade explained: "Many of the rusty metal shutters do look horrible and don't help the town centre's image at all. There are several local artists who have expressed an interest in helping to brighten up the High Street by decorating them."

The possibility of creating a new role for a Town Centre Manager in Burnham was also discussed. The Town Team's Jonathan Walter said: "A Town Centre Manager would be ideal for organising events similar to the recent popular Food Festival - there are numerous other events and activities they we'd like to see held to encourage more shoppers and visitors into Burnham."

Proposals to give an annual grant of £5,000 to the Town Team and Chamber of Trade to run more town centre events and encourage visitors was proposed by Tony Lynham and the idea will be discussed further later in the month.

Other ideas on the cards include a new water feature and play area on the seafront near the Bay View cafe, but the plans were given lukewarm support after the cost of around £90,000 was revealed.

Plans for a wishing well, meanwhile, outside the Baptist Church have been removed from the list of potential improvements altogether. And plans for a new car park on the former putting green at Crosses Pen in Berrow Road were discussed but not taken forward at this stage.

Final recommendations on how to spend the £322,000 of Tesco funding will be put forward to December's Town Council meeting and a final decision will be taken by Sedgemoor District Council shortly afterwards.


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