January 28, 2016
Fresh plans to pedestrianise Burnham High Street debated by council

Controversial proposals to part-pedestrianise Burnham-On-Sea High Street have been debated by councillors this week.

Town councillors considered a plan for a "semi-pedestrianisation" of the High Street at peak times of the year.

Cllr Paul Young, Chairman of the council's Town Projects Committee, said: "Lots of towns have semi or part-time pedestrianisation - I think we could consider it in Burnham. It could work on Fridays and Saturdays in the summer months when the town gets particularly busy."

But Cllr Nick Tolley said: "I am sure there will be lots of heated debate about this. Burnham is a small town - it has one main artery, its High Street - and I think it would be absolutely ludicrous to pedestrianise it."

"People get upset at the moment regarding closing it for a few hours, let alone pedestrianising it. I think this would be a very bad idea and would cause a lot of problems for residents."

Cllr Peter Burridge Clayton added: "I attended a Burnham Chamber of Trade meeting last week and this was mooted there and there was a massive groan of dissatisfaction."

"By far the majority of traders don't want it, and do we really impose it on them? Looking at it practically, there is a whole section of the High Street where you couldn't actually pedestrianise it because those properties don't have back entrances. You could tell the businesses to get their deliveries at 8am in the morning, but it's unrealistic for companies to be sure when their goods will arrive."

"I'm not sure it can work in Burnham and I'm not sure the traders want it. You will need a questionnaire going out to every trader in the town."

Town Clerk Denise Emery said all the traders would have to be fully consulted before any firm proposals were drawn up. She added that the finance implications would have to be considered too.

Cllr Martin Cox said: "Pedestrianisation we've looked at 'til the cows come home and it doesn't work. A mixture of traffic and pedestrians is something new and they've tried it in Weston and it works there. It takes a little more thought... but it's worth looking into."

The council is to discuss the matter with Somerset County Council's highways department before further consideration.


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