April 2, 2015
Councillors call for 'urgent action' to address High Street safety issues

Town councillors have this week called for 'urgent action' to improve Burnham-On-Sea's town centre following changes to the High Street that have led to walkers tripping up.

New coloured paving stones and a yellow road surface have been introduced in the High Street as part of a raft of changes that include new lights, signs and noticeboards aimed at attracting extra visitors, as we first reported here.

However, several walkers have been hurt and councillors are unhappy about the quality of the work.

Cllr Bill Hancock told Wednesday's meeting of the Town Projects Committee: "The whole lot should be ripped up and terracotta put down in its place instead - it can't be left like it is. We can't pussy foot around - this is our High Street and we are now in the tourist season so this needs to be sorted out urgently. We can't wait for weeks on end for this to be sorted out."

And Cllr Neville Jones told the meeting: "The finish absolutely appalling - it simply isn't professional."

Cllr Louise Parkin added that the work has been "a joke - ridiculous" given that that project is still ongoing after a 18-month wait for the work to start. She urged the council to withhold payment for the work.

Town Cllr Denise Emery assured her that the council has not yet 'signed off' on the work and that payment has not been made.

Mayor Martin Cox said he is unhappy about the colour of the High Street events area, which he described as "more French mustard than English with black specks," but he added he is "concerned" about the accidents.

Cllr Kate Lawson added: "I am concerned about the different heights of the kerb. I know someone who has fallen over and there are others."

Cllr Parkin added: "The buff colour is not different enough to the kerb stones and the elderly are finding it difficult - there's no distinguishable difference. That is causing a problem with trips and falls."

The council is to discuss the issues with the contractor to try and get the problems rectified.

Burnham resident and business owner Alex Turco presented the council with a 'snagging list' outlining a number of issues with lights, signs and the events area.

Project Manager Paul Martin also confirmed that the work would not now be completed for Easter, as had been hoped, and he said discussions are ongoing with the contractor to get the final changes made.

Burnham business owner Ann Popham also said she is concerned about non-working lights in Regent Street and unsafe drain covers, which Cllr Michael Clarke said are both on the council's own 'snagging list'.

The town centre changes are all being funded from a combined work package amounting to £440,000 funded by Tesco to offset the expansion of its Burnham store, plus grants from the Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council.


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