About Burnham & Highbridge Town Council
Burnham on Sea and Highbridge Town Council is the fourth tier of government after parliament, the county council and the district council. Its legal powers are granted to it and regulated by various government acts.
The Town Council supplements the provision of local government services in Sedgemoor, while promoting and representing the town with other national and statutory bodies.
For example, the Town Council acts as a consultee and lobbying force with both the county and district councils, and both regional and national government, putting forward the wishes and needs of the local community.
Somerset County Council (whose main responsibilities include education, social services, highways, fire and rescue, strategic planning and libraries) consults with the Town Council on such subjects as the County Structure Plan, the Local Transport Plan etc. and Sedgemoor District Council (which is mainly responsible for development control, environmental health, refuse collection, economic development, tourism and major recreational facilities) also consults with Burnham and Highbridge Town Council on such matters as the District Wide Local Plan, planning applications within Burnham and Highbridge, and the economic development strategy.
How does Burnham & Highbridge Town Council operate?
The Town Council has 18 Town Councillors elected for a term of four years. The Civic Year runs from May to April with the election of the Mayor, the Chairman of Council and his/her Deputy and Vice Chairman taking place at the Annual Statutory meeting in May.
The roles of Mayor and Chairman of Council are usually taken by the same councillor and likewise for the Deputy Mayor and Vice Chairman. These roles and those of Chairman of Committees are filled by councillors who have been nominated and voted for by their councillor colleagues.
The Council operates on a committee system covering Policy and Finance, Planning, Town Improvements, Property and the Burnham Joint Burial Committee. The full council generally meets on the first Monday of every month.
The committee system enables members to consider more complex issues in some detail at committee level, and to make a recommendation to the full Council as to what Burnham & Highbridge Town Council’s response should be. Such recommendations are approved (or otherwise) by all members voting at the full Council meeting.
Subject matters are brought before the relevant committee or full council by means of the agenda which is issued a minimum of three clear working days before a meeting and is posted on the various notice boards around the town.