pier owner's delight at surprise planning victory
owner of Burnham-On-Sea's pier has this week won her bid to retain
a controversial conservatory used as a sweet shop on the forecourt
of the landmark building.
a meeting of Sedgemoor's Development Control Committee on
Tuesday (November 20th),
councillors over-ruled a recommendation by a case officer to reject
the planning application on the grounds that it is 'out of keeping'.
they gave a temporary five year approval for the building to remain
in place while discussions over its future continue with owner
Louise Parkin, pictured.
Louise Parkin told the council...
"The application before you is, according to your
conservation officer, not in keeping with the Victorian
sea front at Burnham-On-Sea. Firstly let me point out that
The Pavilion is actually Edwardian and that the conservation
area has been altered several times to accommodate other
planning applications and that the actual sea wall is anything
"The most prominent feature on Burnham seafront is
the roof of the pavilion which is white, as is the UPVC
frontage of the block of flats built opposite the Pavilion,
which is why our extension was done in the same material
to blend in with its surroundings. Also note that with 70
mile an hour winds as a regular occurrence in the winter
we had to build something substantial."
"Your conservation officer would like us to take the
Pavilion building back to it original structure, knocking
everything down including our much loved kiosk which has
been there for 20 years, but to do so would be financial
suicide, unless you want to end up with another Birnbeck
instead of Burnham pier."
is what keeps piers going and pays for their enormous upkeep.
50 years ago this year Burnham Urban District Council voted
9-4 to demolish what they described as the eyesore and liability,
that was the Pavilion, their words not mine. Obviously that
was not ratified at full council but it gives you an idea
of what the Pavilion was like when we took it over 44 years
ago, a mere 6 years later. It was basically, crumbling away
and in the most atrocious condition."
"We have restored it, at a vast cost, to a condition
where we were voted by the Daily Express as one of the top
five seaside piers in Britain and described by the Times
newspaper as the shortest, but prettiest, pier in England."
"In recent years, the catering at the Pavilion
has become more and more important to its financial stability
and this application affects the vitality and viability
of the pier itself. With the atrocious weather this year,
without this building, the kiosk would have been closed
almost every other day. Whereas we opened up during the
February half term and remained open until the beginning
of November and will continue to open every weekend and
during Christmas and the New Year holidays."
"Take into account that prior to this building being
erected, we would have been open for maximum of four months
in the summer but even that would have been intermittently
due to bad weather. Most of the cafes and coffee shops in
town close at 5pm, even through the summer, whereas we are
open until 10pm to serve tourist and locals alike."
"I would ask you to consider all of these points before
you make your decision but to bear in mind that though it
may have been once, Burnham seafront is no longer Victorian
or anything else for that matter as it is a hotchpotch of
various different styles and architecture."
an impassioned plea at Tuesday's meeting for the council to rethink
its plans to force her to remove the sweet shop from the front
of the landmark, which is Britain's shortest pier.
She clearly impressed councillors who
unanimously voted in favour of the five-year approval.
am not gloating about the decision, but I am incredibly pleased
that the council has seen reason," Louise told Burnham-On-Sea.com
am already in talks with the council about a future replacement
for the building and will be looking to make changes in the near
District Council had requested earlier
this year that the conservatory be demolished because it was
installed "without planning permission" and they issued
an enforcement notice.
Louise argued that she did not require permission because it is
a 'Permitted Development' under UK planning laws for amusement
than embark on costly court action, she submitted a planning application
to try and retain the building, supported by a petition of more
than 1,100 customers.
speaking in support of her application at Tuesday's meeting included
Burnham resident Geoff Shickle, who proposed the temporary approval
of five years.
told the meeting: "I believe there is little doubt
the people of the town overwhelmingly wish to keep the Pier as
a sea front feature. To achieve this, as it approaches its centenary,
it must remain an economic proposition."
"The poor summer weather this year has affected this business
more than most. To remove the extension and replace it is clearly
not affordable. This would undoubtedly prejudice the continuance
of the entertainment provided in the main building."
He told the councillors: "Today you have an opportunity
to take a pragmatic view and support tourism, by permitting the
retention of the building for a period of, say, five years. During
which time, given the anticipated improvement in the economic
situation, it should be possible for the council and the owners
to co-operate in drawing up a scheme for this area which will
be a credit to all involved and appreciated by future generations."
Mayor, Cllr Ken Smout, said that while he isn't a fan of the design
of the conservatory-style building, he was "puzzled"
that a bright "red and white shed" outside Sunspot Amusements
further along the seafront had been deemed to be acceptable by
district councillors earlier this year while this conservatory
was deemed unacceptable.
Neville Jones also spoke in favour of the scheme, raising issues
about the impact on tourism and the potential that sea defences
would be weakened if the pier were ever to go. Having spoken,
he opted not to take part in the vote.
resident Sarah Milner Simonds spoke against the application, arguing
that the modern building detracts from the original pier structure.
decision effectively brings to an end the bitter dispute between
Louise Parkin and Sedgemoor District Council, paving the way for
discussions on a long-term replacement for the building.