Published: February 1, 2012
Burnham pier owner takes legal dispute to council chief executive

The owner of Burnham-On-Sea's pier has this week written to Sedgemoor District Council's Chief Executive in a bid to resolve her legal wrangle with the council over whether a conservatory on her forecourt should be demolished.

The Pavilion's Manager, Louise Parkin, says she has been "bowled over with support" from residents since exclusively reported last week that the council has issued the UK's shortest pier with an Enforcement Notice, requesting that the white conservatory, which is used as a sweet shop, be demolished because it has been installed without permission and is 'out of keeping'.

Louise is adamant that she does not require planning permission because the building is a 'Permitted Development' under planning regulations relating to amusement parks and she adds the building is not of out keeping with nearby properties.

She told this week: "I have had lots of people who saw the story come up to me to give their support against the council. The vast majority of people can see we are just trying to run a business and keep the Pavilion running."

This week, she has written to Sedgemoor District Council chief executive Kerry Rickards to ask him to step in and resolve the matter.

In the letter, she writes: "My family have spent a fortune and most of their lives bringing the Pavilion up to spec. Twice we have almost lost it and both times by the generosity of the town's people it has been saved."

"Over the 44 years we have been here we have extended the Pavilion several times and have also put up at least 12 kiosks. Every time we did this the district council would approach us and insist on us putting in planning permission."

"Our reply was, as always, that it was a permitted development as an amusement park/seaside pier. Every time this was accepted by the council and we heard no more until the next time when they would try it again with the same result."

"This time, the same thing happened and I assumed the procedure would as normal be repeated. I saw no reason to appeal as I never had to before. What the council did this time was inconsistent."

"From the beginning the reason for the injunction was because it was the view of the officer involved that it was neither a booth, nor a stall. However, that is not the case as it is a Candy Stall. It now houses two candy floss machines and a popcorn machine and a counter plus shelving specialising in sweets, fairings and hampers as well as freshly made candy floss."

"We are one of the very few catering concessions in the town that opens until 10pm in the summer - a fact that coach drivers fully appreciate as if Burnham is their last stop there is very little choice for their customers to get refreshments. Also, what is left of the council toilets closes at 5.45pm whereas ours are open till 10pm. We opened ours fully a few years ago in response to SDC shutting many of theirs. The cost to us for helping out was in excess of £13,000 for which we asked nothing from SDC."

"I am fully aware of our civic responsibilities and have no wish to be at odds with SDC but in this instance we have, as normal, taken legal advice as well speaking to all my friends and relatives with piers and parks around Britain. As far as we are concerned, we are in the right."

"Over the last few years, since the introduction of the Gambling act 2005 in September 2007, 287 seaside arcades and five piers have closed and we are struggling the same as everyone else in this business. In fact, the arcade has failed to make any profit for the last four years and it is only the catering that is keeping us afloat. What we need is support - not one officer making a nuisance of themselves."

Sedgemoor District Council has not yet responded to the letter.

Bookmark and Share

Search|Add to your Bookmarks|Send a mail from|Print this page|Back to previous page|Discuss this article

Burnham-On-Sea Seafront Webcam
Burnham-On-Sea Webcam
24-hour live pictures
See live images of the seafront and beach with Burnham's Webcam. Click here

Burnham-On-Sea Shops
Burnham-On-Sea Shopping Guide
Buy in Burnham!
Support local traders by shopping in town - see our A-Z index of businesses. Click here

Burnham-On-Sea Video
Burnham-On-Sea Video
Burnham video news
Watch video highlights of events across Burnham with these video clips. Click here

Burnham-On-Sea Photos
Burnham-On-Sea Photos

Photo gallery
Hundreds of photos from events across the Burnham-On-Sea area. Click here

Burnham-On-Sea What's On
What's On In Burnham-On-Sea
Things to see and do
Check the constantly updated calendar for what's happening. Click here