Food Festival funding request sparks Town Council row
Town Council row has broken out this week over whether a £2,000
grant should be given towards Burnham-On-Sea Food and Drink Festivals.
funding is being sought by the organisers to meet some of the
costs of holding the twice-yearly festivals in the town centre,
which are set go ahead this Saturday (May 23rd) and on October
several town councillors have this week raised concerns about
the impact of the festivals on shops and businesses.
Louise Parkin explained: "The Town Council doesn't give funding
to Burnham Farmers Market, so why would we here, especially when
the Food Festivals negatively affect shops and traders. It's unfair
that this is being held on the first day of the half-term school
holidays, one of the busiest days for traders."
am not against the Food Festivals in general, but I do think the
timing of them is unfair on traders when they're held at the busiest
times of the year. They are creaming off the top of the trade."
Bill Hancock added: "I agree 100% per cent - it's not fair
on the traders who already pay high business rates. The events
shouldn't go ahead in the high season."
Cllr Phil Harvey disagreed, saying: "The festivals bring
a great deal of visitors into town who would not have otherwise
come here and in fact some traders have their best days during
these events. The festivals put Burnham on the map. They also
create higher revenue for Sedgemoor from extra parking revenue."
Cllr Kate Lawson followed up: "The Food Festivals bring the
community together and give people a chance to get involved. They
are a showcase of local food and drink suppliers and I feel wholeheartedly
that we should support them. They are a great success story that
we should be proud of."
Parkin proposed that the application for grant funding be sent
back to the council's Policy and Finance Committee for "a
much closer look."
Peter Burridge-Clayton said, however, that the council would not
want to jeopardise this Saturday's festival and he proposed that
half of the grant is approved to cover £1,000 for the May
event with the other half to be considered before the October
event. The proposal was unanimously agreed.