December 12, 2014
Fresh talks to be held over plans for new Burnham seafront lights

Fresh talks are set to be held between local councils to push forward plans for new coloured illuminations to be introduced along Burnham-On-Sea's seafront.

A total of £11,500 has this week been earmarked for the work by town councillors, who are keen to see Burnham's Esplanade lit up as an attraction for visitors.

It comes after several colour-changing LED lights have been trialled on the South Esplanade over the past year - but there remain a number of safety concerns, leading to ongoing discussions.

The position is complex because Sedgemoor District Council own the lighting columns on the South Esplanade while Somerset County Council operate the columns on the North Esplanade.

Town Clerk Denise Emery said at this week's meeting of the council's Policy and Finance Committee: "Only white LEDs are acceptable to the County Council because they provide the most light above highways, while Sedgemoor may not be adverse to coloured lights if sufficient light is generated. So far we have never been in a position where both parties are happy."

But Cllr Chris Williams said: "It is important that we get our act together as a council because this has been ongoing for so long."

And Cllr Phil Harvey said he too is keen to see some progress. "There is definitely something lacking about our seafront without any decorative lights. Something needs to be done to push this forward."

But Cllr Ken Smout added: "When we took on the job of finding new lights, it sounded simple, but in fact there's fitting, testing, the amount of light produced, and the ownership of the columns to consider - there are a lot more factors to consider here than first thought."

Councillors have this week referred the matter to the Town Projects Committee are recommending that further discussions are held with Sedgemoor and the County Council to find a mutually-agreeable light design.

The LED lights have been trialled this year after local resident Nick Whetstone proposed two years ago that the previous decorative seafront illuminations should be replaced by LED lights to cut council costs. It was claimed that LED lights will cut the council's power bill by up to 85% along the seafront.

The trial was initially due to go ahead in 2012, but the harbourmaster warned that the lights "could cause confusion to shipping" since some were the same colours as nearby navigation buoys. However, those concerns were later resolved.

Pictured: Top - how the proposed LED lights would look on the seafront if approved; Centre - The former decorative lights which were taken down amid safety concerns; Above - One of the colour-changing LED lights which have been trialled on the North Esplanade this year.

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