Published: January 19, 2012
£30,000 solar energy plans submitted for Burnham's Princess Theatre

Controversial plans for a new £30,000 solar energy farm on top of Burnham-On-Sea's Princess Theatre have been formally submitted this week.

The town council has raised a planning application to introduce the solar panels on the building's south-facing roof.

The high cost of the project has been questioned by several councillors since the theatre has made a loss of £27,439 during the six months since the Town Council took over its ownership and the deficit could reach over £66,000 by March.

Cllr Dennis Davey told a recent town council meeting: "I'd question whether we still want to go ahead. I'm concerned that the money could be better used inside The Princess."

However, Cllr Chris Williams, Vice Chairman of the Princess Management Committee, said the solar proposals would save the theatre money in the longer term.

"We expect to save thousands of pounds in electricity costs over several years so the up-front costs will be recouped," he told a recent meeting.

He added: "The Princess is performing considerably better than under its former owner, Sedgemoor District Council, which had an annual deficit of £102,000. When you remove our initial set-up costs of £7,338, the actual operating deficit was £20,101 in the first six months. We had a net income of £14,352 during the period and are still within our budget."

Sedgemoor District Council's planning department is welcoming feedback from residents on the solar plans by February 17th. reported last year how the ownership of The Princess had transferred from Sedgemoor District Council to Burnham and Highbridge Town Council last April. The District Council sold The Princess for the nominal sum of £1.

Pictured: Top, how one of the solar energy cells will look on top of the roof of the Princess Theatre in Burnham


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