August 23, 2017
Burnham-On-Sea High St 'should be pedestrianised' says ex-councillor

A former town councillor has this week said Burnham-On-Sea's High Street should have been pedestrianised as part of a project to regenerate the town using thousands of pounds of funding from supermarket giant Tesco.

Paul Young, who was a town councillor and deputy Mayor until he resigned in April, spoke out on pedestrianisation as a resident at the start of the Town Council's Town Projects Committee meeting on Monday (August 21st).

He said he believes the council should have delivered more benefits to the town centre from the 'Tesco 106' funding that was secured to compensate traders for the expansion of Burnham's Tesco store.

He says: "The Tesco 106 funding brought us around £450,000 to help compensate for the expansion of the Tesco store and help boost the trade of shops."

"Boots the chemist, a key retailer in our town, says they would have increased their trade by at least 30% if pedestrianisation of Burnham High Street had gone ahead."

"It would have brought in extra visitors and shoppers."

He added: "There were political and practical reasons why we couldn't do full pedestrianisation but we could have gone some way to making it more pedestrian friendly - even introducing part-time pedestrianisation on, say, Fridays and Saturdays when there are crowds of people in the town."

"A lot of towns have done this successfully, but when I was on the council it was unfortunately ignored."

He continued: "So what did the Tesco 106 project achieve for Burnham? What we got for the money wete some new flag poles, street lights, new street furniture such as bike racks, plus an events area that is a bit controversial and unpopular with some retailers. We haven't done much to improve the retail situation."

"I don't think we have got a lot for the £450,000. We did get to hold some great events and now also have two footfall counters that are helping to drive the coach project."

"But pedestrianisation would have provided lasting benefit and I'd also like to see the proposed town centre wi-fi introduced, which is a great opportunity."

Cllr Michael Clarke, the Chairman of the council's Town Projects Committee, said that "ongoing discussions" are underway on the feasibility of a wi-fi service for the town centre, which we featured here.


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