Published: January 26, 2012
Burnham-On-Sea Pier in legal row over council's demolition order

A row has broken out between the owner of Burnham-On-Sea's famous seafront pier and Sedgemoor District Council over whether a conservatory built at the front of the property should be demolished.

The council has issued the UK's shortest pier with an Enforcement Notice, requesting that the white building, which is used as a sweet shop, be demolished because it was installed without permission and is 'out of keeping'.

However, the Pavilion's Manager, Louise Parkin, pictured, is adamant that she does not require planning permission because the building is a 'Permitted Development' under planning regulations relating to amusement parks. She also says the building is not of out keeping with nearby properties.

She points to a rule which states that Permitted Development can be given to 'a development on land used as an amusement park consisting of the erection of booths or stalls or the installation of plant or machinery to be used for or in connection with the entertainment of the public within the amusement park.'

She adds that the regulations clearly state that the term 'amusement park' can be defined as 'any part of a seaside pier'.

Louise Parkin told "As far as I am concerned, the building is movable to start with, it has no footings, and has the addition of a candy stall. I am awaiting delivery of some more machines for the opposite end ready for the new season."

"The conservatory replaced the old parasols and glass screen which frequently blew down in storms. We were forced to build a substantial structure because of the winds."

Louise, who is a serving town councillor, added: "When we moved to Burnham, the Pavilion was a wreck, we have poured our heart and souls into it. We may have reaped some rewards but we have worked very hard. I work over 100 hours a week in the summer and both my parents are still working every day at age 72 and 75."

"In the last few years 287 seaside arcades have shut across the UK and only those which have diversified have survived and that is what we have done."

"Many of the other catering facilities in the area close early in the summer but we open until 10pm serving the public."

"So many people - tourists and locals - have asked me if they could sign a petition in support of us, but until now I have not seen the need."

"If you look at the law as it stands we are well within it and, as such, should the council be wasting taxpayers' money on legal proceedings when they are having to make cutbacks in other vital areas?"

Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told "An Enforcement Notice was issued in January 2011 for the demolition of the conservatory-type building at the Pavilion. This gave the owners of the land three months to comply with the notice. The owners of the land had the opportunity of appealing the Enforcement Notice but this they failed to do."

"Subsequently, the owners of the land wrote to the council requesting an extension of time to remove the building. This was agreed and they were given until 31st October 2011 to remove it. This they failed to do."

"The Council wrote to the owners of the land advising them as they had failed to remove the building the Council had no alternative but to take legal proceedings. The owners have been informed they can apply for planning permission, but this they have failed to do."

Since the Pavilion's owners say they do not require planning permission for the building, the matter has reached a stalemate with no immediate resolution in sight. The pier hopes public pressure may prompt a re-think by the council.


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