Published: November 29, 2012
Row over plans for new £75k Burnham Town Centre Manager

Town councillors have this week earmarked £75,000 towards appointing a new Town Centre Manager in Burnham-On-Sea despite a disagreement on whether the person is required.

At a meeting of the council's Town Improvements Committee on Tuesday (November 27th), councillors supported proposals to proceed with the creation of the new post to boost the town centre a lift.

The part-time position, to be funded over three years at £25,000 per year, would be in place to attract new businesses into the town centre and increase the new number of visitors.

The cash would come from the community funding that Tesco is giving to rejuvenate the town centre to offset the impact of its new extension.

Bur Burnham resident Tony Lynham, who sits on the committee, said he is "completely against" the proposals. "Creating a Town Centre Manager several years ago was a complete failure last time and had no benefit for the town. Nothing has changed and I just don't see the point of it. I'd prefer to see the traders sponsoring the manager rather than it coming from this funding," he said.

But Cllr Tom Nicholls disagreed, explaining: "When money is coming from Tesco to help our town centre, why would we ask traders for more in addition? There are clear benefits here."

Local businessman Mike Murphy, who also sits on the committee, said the objectives of the Town Centre Manager would have to be tightly targeted.

"The last manager had too wide a brief because she covered Bridgwater as well as Burnham. This time, the efforts need to be focussed here," he said.

In a discussion about the manager's role, Mr Murphy said he sees the person encourging companies to invest in Burnham. And Bev Milner Simonds from Burnham Town Team added: "The manager's priority has to be in helping the existing traders survive and increasing the footfall in the town then looking for new businesses."

The proposal to create the new Town Centre Manager will now go forward to the January meeting of the full Town Council where a decision will be made on whether this scheme - and others - will benefit from the Tesco community cash The ultimate decision will rest with Sedgemoor District Council, which controls the overall pot of funding.


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