Published: January 30, 2014
Council approves Burnham-On-Sea pier overhaul after heated debate

Town councillors have this week approved plans for a controversial new £100,000 forecourt at the front of Burnham-On-Sea's Pier following a heated debate.

Councillors on the Planning Applications Committee discussed the controversial proposals on Wednesday night (January 29th) for over 30 minutes before voting to give the plans the 'thumbs up', with four in favour and one against. The plans for a 35ft retractable roof to cover the food forecourt were first reported here.

Cllr Helen Groves told the meeting: "I'm concerned at the visual impact of the proposed roof which I feel is not sympathetic with the existing building. This is a conservation area and I want to see something that blends in more with the surrounding area."

"The pier is historically important and we need to make sure that we are making the best decision for the town. The roof is a 'hotchpotch' of a design that just seems to be tagged onto the front."

But Cllr Bill Hancock said: "I think it looks great and congratulate the pier's owners in investing this kind of money. It's fantastic that the pier is moving with the times."

Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton added: "I don't have a problem with the plans but do wonder whether it's a bit too modern. It could possibly blend in more with existing buildings."

Cllr Paul Young told Wednesday's meeting he is favour of the scheme. "From a distance you will hardly notice that anything has changed - I think the roof will blend in well."

Three letters from concerned Burnham residents were also read out at the meeting by the Deputy Town Clerk, raising issues such as the extra noise, road safety and the visual impact.

However councillors voted in favour of approving the scheme, concluding that it is "a great improvement over what is already there, will increase employment and is positive for tourism."

Delighted Louise and Harry Parkin, the owners of the Pavilion, pictured right, both spoke during the meeting.

Louise said: "The costs of maintaining the pier are enormous and we have to do what we can to make it viable."

She explained that the building's insurance premiums have risen 240% since the Weston Pier fire while amusement arcade takings are down 75% since 2007.

"With our overheads and continual maintenance, we have to adapt and compensate before the structure is compromised."

This, she said, is why the weather-proof forecourt is needed. "At present, we can seat up to 80 people in good weather but only 30 in bad weather. Despite what the artists impression indicates, we will only seat a few more customers than before, but in all weathers. This additional space will also accommodate new children's rides."

Louise and Harry said after Wednesday's vote that they are "delighted" with the result of the vote. "We have taken onboard the comments made tonight and are pleased that the scheme has cleared the first hurdle," Louise told

The plans will go to Sedgemoor District Council for a final decision in February.


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