concern over timescales of £440k Burnham town centre revamp
concerns have been raised this week over the amount of time the
Town Council is taking to deliver £440,000 of improvements
in Burnham-On-Sea town centre.
major project to enhance the appearance of Burnham's High Street
and Victoria Street aims to boost the number of shoppers in the
town centre using cash from Tesco to offset the expansion of its
Burnham store, and further funding from the Town Council and former
South West Regional Development Agency.
project was approved 18 months ago in January 2013 however none
of the key improvements - which are listed below - have yet been
a Town Council meeting on Monday, Council Clerk Denise Emery said
that work to introduce new street lighting in the High Street
and Victoria Street will "start this October or November."
new lighting columns and 'energy-efficient glass lanterns' will
cost £103,770, which is slightly above the planned budget
of £100,000. However, resurfacing of part of Burnham High
Street with a new coloured paved area for an entertainment performance
area will begin in "early 2015".
timescales for the improvements are a concern for several councillors.
Cllr Neville Jones told Monday's meeting: "The work should
have started a year ago and it feels as though we are hanging
on to the last moment to get it done."
the work in the town centre must start in the second week of January
2015 and be delivered long before May when residents will be voting
on what's been delivered."
THE £440,000 IS BEING SPENT:
Lighting improvements in Burnham High Street and Victoria
Hanging basket posts
Additional cycle racks in High Street
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
Roller shutter project £5k and shop front grants
New public notice boards (High Street & Victoria
Town Centre Manager and Project Manager roles
Contingency to cover additional costs as figures are
need a cast-iron guarantee from Somerset County Council that the
work will be completed on time."
Cllr Tom Nicholls said that he is "not comfortable"
that the May 2015 town council elections are being used as a deadline
for the work to be completed. "We should not be demanding
that the work goes ahead for our electoral convenience,"
Martin Cox responded: "Election or no election, the public
is already asking about when the improvements will be undertaken.
We have a short window to undertake the work and should do all
we can to get it completed as soon as possible."
Michael Clarke, Chairman of the council's Town Projects Committee
which is overseeing the work, added that the improvements "need
to be completed in good time for Spring to avoid any impact on
trade in the town centre."
Chamber of Trade has previously said that its members do not want
the work to be underway in the town centre during the busy Christmas
shopping or tourist season.
Bill Hancock cautioned that severe winter weather, as seen in
2010, could delay the work if it is scheduled in January and he
asked whether it could come forward to September. But the Town
Clerk said that Somerset County Council has advised this will
not be possible given the schedule of other work.