Published: July 12, 2012
New traffic-free zone and seafront splash park proposed for Burnham

The pedestrianisation of Burnham-On-Sea High Street and the launch of a new seafront splash park are among a list of proposals unveiled this week to rejuvenate the town.

The introduction of a traffic-free shopping zone is at the top of a 20-item list of suggested town centre improvements drawn up by Burnham's Town Team following consultation with businesses, residents and community groups to suggest how £320,000 of Tesco community funding should be spent.

Alex Turco, pictured, who heads the Town Team, outlined the proposals during a Town Council meeting on Wednesday (July 11th).


Trial pedestrianisation of the High Street
Introduce a new car parking strategy
Remove bye-laws preventing street busking
Start an apprentice scheme for retailers
Promote the High Street's benefits clearly
Needs of locals and visitors to be understood
Increase the frequency of farmers markets
Encourage other markets and live events
Late opening of shops and cafes
Develop a cycle hire scheme for visitors
Encourage Sunday opening of shops
Buddying and mentoring of traders
Use art to improve empty shops' appearance
Encourage use of vacant business properties
Tying the beach to the High Street more
High Street cleaning to be reviewed
Preserve the Victorian feel of High Street
Consider a town centre manager

It comes after the council invited the group to compile recommendations to help Sedgemoor District Council decide how the Tesco cash should be spent.

Mr Turco said: "The council has two clear choices - to go ahead with a large, highly-visible physical project such as pedestrianisation or a seafront splash park, or to proceed with a number of smaller schemes instead that bring wide benefits to the town centre."

He added: "Pedestrianisation already works well on a limited basis on the days that farmers markets are held in Burnham, attracting shoppers. We're suggesting it be be extended for a trial period."

A survey by the group found 42 per cent of those who responded felt pedestrianisation would encourage them to use Burnham High Street more, while a further 17 per cent said it may encourage them.

"Another idea put forward is for a children's splash park on the seafront lawns which would attract more families," added Alex.

"There is a divergence of views and opinions, but we've a compiled 20 of the suggestions that the council can consider."

Burnham Mayor Cllr Ken Smout thanked Mr Turco, colleague Bev Milner Simonds and others members of the Town Team for compiling the recommendations, saying it is a well-researched report.

Cllr Neville Jones said that the Town Council is keen to consult further with more groups in the town centre to gain a consensus of opinion.

He added that the Town Council is keen to appoint a Burnham Town Centre Manager to this work and the overall improvements forward.

Further discussions are to be held before the final recommendations go to Sedgemoor District Council later this year.


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