Published: September 4, 2012
Council attacked for delays on £320,000 town centre improvements

Town councillors came under attack last night (Monday) for further delays to £320,000 of improvements for Burnham-On-Sea town centre.

Four members of Burnham's Town Team criticised the council for its delays in drawing up plans to spend £320,000 of Tesco community cash to help the town centre compete against supermarkets.

During Monday's Town Council meeting, the council decided not to make a final decision on how the cash is spent in Burnham until December at the earliest in order to allow more consultation to be carried out on the possible improvements.

But the Town Team's Bev Milner Simonds told "The town centre has had a dreadful trading season and it is envisaged that the winter trade will be further eroded by the completion of the expansion work at Tesco."

"The £320,000 was paid to Sedgemoor by Tesco because of the known damage that the Tesco work would make to Burnham High Street. The further delay by the Town Council will not serve this town well."

During Monday's meeting, Town Team members Sylvia Young, Jon Walter, Linda Bullimore and Bev Milner Simonds all criticised the council for its delays.

Bev explained: "Despite having conducted two extensive consultations, one directly on behalf of the Town Council, the councillors have shown themselves incapable of making a decision to send the recommendations to Sedgemoor made to them on 11th July."

"The councillors have instead decided to send the decision about what to recommend to Sedgemoor back to the Town Improvements Committee for a second time and for them to form a pseudo working party comprising of eight councillors and six residents chosen by them for the purposes of coming up with a recommendation in time for December's Town Council meeting."

However, councillors said they are keen to ensure that as many representative groups as possible are involved in deciding what improvements go ahead.

The Town Team submitted its 20 proposals to regenerate the town centre to the Town Council in July. The introduction of a pedestrianised zone in Burnham's High Street was at the top of the 20-item list, which was drawn up following consultation with businesses, residents and community groups.

The issue will be further discussed at the next Burnham Town Team meeting on Thursday 13th September at 6:30pm at The Ritz Social Club when all will be welcome.

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