Published:
December 17, 2014
Row over 'disruptive' plans to build events area in Burnham High Street

Plans to build a brand new public events area in the centre of Burnham-On-Sea High Street risk causing disruption and hurting the trade of nearby shops, it has been claimed this week.

The new community events area - which will comprise of a coloured paved area for entertainment performances plus an elecricity box - is set to be installed at a cost of over £40,000 and be in place by next April.

It is being funded from £440,000 of funding from Tesco to offset its store expansion plus cash from the Town Council and Regional Development Agency.

Town Centre Manager Beverley Milner Simonds told this week's council meeting: "The new events area will attract extra footfall in Burnham, give a central location for community events, and increase the dwelltime that people spend in the town. We will be looking to increase the number and quality of events held in the town centre."

However, Cllr Neville Jones said: "It's important that these extra events must not effect the traffic flowing through the town centre. Every time you the High Street is closed, you hit trade in the High Street. Business rates here in Burnham are very high - far higher than elsewhere - and disrupting the High Street costs businesses even more money. The events should only go ahead after 5pm to minimise the disruption."

Cllr Louise Parkin proposed that the restrictions are put in place for the events area. "We should request that no events are held in busy periods for our shops, such as Bank Holidays or the start of the school holidays. We have to be fair to businesses - don't put their livelihoods at risk."

Cllr Bill Hancock agreed, telling the meeting: "If I was a trader in Burnham I'd be very unhappy about extra daytime events. There are already markets in the High Street on 12 days a year and, given the high business rates, it's disgusting that the events take away customers."

But Cllr Tom Nicholls added: "We agreed two years ago to spend the money on building a new events area in the High Street - it's a big part of the town centre improvements - so it would be perverse if we now tried to limit the number of events held there."

Town Clerk Denise Emery added: "We want a vibrant town with a good footfall and events to attract people here - that's our direction as a council."

 


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