Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

From left to right: Cllr Neville Jones, Mike Murphy of Burnham's Chamber Of Trade, Anne-Marie Spalding, Mayor Louise Parkin and David Baker, secretary of Burnham's Chamber Of Trade

April 7, 2005
Burnham's new town centre manager aims to tackle key problems

Burnham's new town centre manager, Anne-Marie Spalding, was formally unveiled on Wednesday evening (April 7th) and is vowing to tackle some of the town's biggest problems.

During a special meeting with over 50 business representatives from across Burnham at The Princess, Mrs Spalding laid out her key objectives for the role, saying she intends to start by tackling three key areas - the environment, security and marketing of the town with the overall aim of boosting business in the town.

Burnham's biggest problems and issues - by traders in the town

Traders from across Burnham had the chance at the meeting to air their views on the biggest challenges facing Burnham at the moment. Mrs Spalding will be tackling them in her role as Town Centre Manager.

They include:

Donations from 'pushy' charity sellers in the High Street putting off shoppers.
More toilets and improved signs being introduced.
Bigger litter bins.
New speed ramps in Burnham being re-examined as they may not be stopping speeding.
Introduction of an integrated travel service covering trains and buses from Highbridge Railway Station.
Introduction of a Park and Ride scheme.
Law and order problems in the town, particularly just after pubs close.
Introducing a regular 'major event' in the town to pull in large amounts of visitors every year.
Reducing parking charges to promote shopping in Burnham.
Making more parking spaces available.
Encouraging coach tours to come into the town rather than Sanders Garden World.
Promoting national retailers to come into the town.
Ending the 'unfriendly' lunchtime closures of High Street shops during the summer.
Starting to rake the beach each day to keep sand completely clean.
Re-introducing a Victorian Week back into Burnham.
Re-introducing the UK water skiing championships to Burnham.
Moving Burnham's Farmers Market from the swimming pool to a more central position in town.

Mrs Spalding is currently Bridgwater's town centre manager but will be time-sharing this role with Burnham and Highbridge by working two days every week in the town over the next two years.

On environment issues, she aims to stamp down on fly posting, introduce visual improvements such as more flowers across Burnham, and get 'problem areas' of the town cleaned up.

She also wants to boost the security of businesses in the town, encourage more sharing of security information to help companies tackle crime and also promote the safety of young and old people - particularly at night.

On marketing, she intends to get the town promoted across the country in a more positive light and also ensure that the many good things about Burnham are better publicised.

Mayor Louise Parkin welcomed the appointment of Mrs Spalding, saying that she represented "good value" for Burnham, adding that she had done "phenomenal" things in Bridgwater and that it was hoped this would be repeated in Burnham and Highbridge.

Cllr Neville Jones OBE, Burnham's Second Deputy Mayor, said: "Here's a chance for Burnham and Highbridge to get behind Anne-Marie and help her do good things for the town. We're keen to spur on our town."

He hoped that Mrs Spalding will spearhead key projects to take forward the regeneration of the town, promote Burnham further and re-introduce previously popular events, such as the town's Victorian Week, that used to attract large crowds.

Mike Murphy of the Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade challenged Mrs Spalding to explain how she would revitalise Highbridge, adding that he'd like to see a museum or joint heritage centre opened up in the town.

He also proposed that Apex Leisure Park should be upgraded into a dedicated wildlife and environmental haven.

Mr Murphy also highlighted what he believes is a "lack of clear information about Burnham-On-Sea in tourist information centres."

He claims that the name 'Sedgemoor' is being promoted too heavily across the UK, rather than the name of Burnham-On-Sea, and therefore leaving potential tourists and vistors from outside the area "totally confused."

David Baker, secretary of Burnham's Chamber Of Trade, also welcomed the appointment of Mrs Spalding, adding: "Her role is to promote shopping in the town, support the regeneration plans and to boost civic pride," but he warned that Burnham "needs more recognised names in the High Street that will pull in visitors all year round - not just in the summer months."


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