Published: August 13, 2013
£420k project to revamp Burnham town centre won't finish until 2015

A £420,000 project to modernise parts of Burnham-On-Sea town centre will not be completed until the year 2015, it has emerged this week.

Town councillors last night (Monday) voted to appoint a new project manager to oversee the scheme, but the changes to pavements, lights and road surfaces won't be undertaken until the year after next.

Several town councillors have expressed concern about the lengthy wait for the improvements, which were orginally due this year.

"The project has lost its energy and zeal. It's drifting," warned Cllr Neville Jones.

"It will be four years since the council secured the funding for this work, and the people of Burnham who voted us in are wondering what is happening. Things have slipped and need to start moving forward."

Town Clerk Denise Emery added: "The earliest the highways work can start is January 2015 because the project has not been added into this year's County Council budget. We can move ahead with the appointment of a Project Manager in the meantime to start the planning."

But Burnham Chamber of Trade's Alex Turco told councillors that traders want more communication from the council regarding the project manager role.

.HOW THE £440k WILL BE SPENT:
Lighting improvements in Burnham High Street and Victoria Street
£100,000
Hanging basket posts

£10,000
Additional cycle racks in High Street

£2,000
Highways improvements: Coloured paviers between Adam Street and Cross Street £20k; Coloured road surface £20k & maintenance £20k; Finger post signs £10k, street furniture, including £1k for a central electricity point for events, plus £30k
£100,000
Publicity

£40,000
Roller shutter project £5k shop front grants £25k
£30,000
New public notice boards (High Street & Victoria Street)
£5,000
Town Centre Manager and projects

£133,000
Contingency to cover additional costs as figures are estimates
£20,000

"The Chamber was co-opted onto the Town Council committee last year to help decided how the money should be spent. Our members therefore have a big interest in this."

He added: "A Project Manager was not recommended at the time and our traders would welcome an explanation of why this role is needed, how much it will cost, the duration and how the manager will interact with a Town Centre Manager in the future."

He added that it is vital that the Chamber is kept fully informed of the project's timescales. "It is important for the co-operate spirit between the council and the Chamber to continue so that traders are kept fully updated with the work."

The project will see coloured paving stones introduced along the pavement between Adam Street and Cross Street, a new coloured road surface along part of the High Street, plus new finger post signs and new street furniture. £100,000 has been earmarked for new street lights in the High Street and Victoria Street.

The £420,000 comprises funding from Tesco to offset the extension of its Burnham store, the Town Council and compensation from the former South West Regional Development Agency.

At Monday's meeting, councillors voted in favour of delegating powers to the Town Clerk and a councillor to meet the proposed project manager role to discuss financial terms and assess whether the work can be delivered for the earmarked budget. Further discussios on the terms of reference will go ahead in September.

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: "We are working with the Town Council to incorporate the work into our schedule."

 


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