Town councillors in Burnham-On-Sea have this week rejected proposals by national pizza chain Domino’s to open a take-away in the town centre until 3am each night.
Members of the Planning Applications Committee voiced concerns over potential late night noise when they considered the Domino’s Pizza plans to open in Burnham’s Victoria Street, first reported here.
During an online council meeting held on Wednesday (January 6th), members instead voted in favour of allowing the take-away to open until 1am.
Cllr Sue Harvey told the meeting: “We have some lovely little independent businesses and eating places in this town. I feel it could harm the viability of some of the smaller eating houses. I certainly do not approve the idea of people having pizza at 3am in the morning. This is Burnham-On-Sea, not the middle of a city and I really think this would be out or character with our town.”
“I am also a little concerned about the proposed new frontage on an old building. The new door they want to put in could be altered so it is more in keeping with the existing building, but I am actually quite upset about another large company coming to the town when this is a new little town with independent shops in it. I’m sorry, I may be old fashioned but I think Domino’s Pizza would be out of character in our town.”
Cllr Louise Parkin said: “It’s an empty building and it is a national chain. There is parking at the front, but I am a tad worried by the request to open until 3am. A lot of people live behind there and I think 3am is very, very late. Whether they are going to be falling out of the pub and congregating there to soak up the alcohol is slightly worrying.”
But Cllr Bill Hancock added: “With the Covid situation and state of the country at the moment, I think it’s good that someone wants to invest money into the town. There’s always going to be some opposition with any proposal, but I think to get a national company in won’t make much difference to other businesses.”
“I am all for it to see the building in use. If they walk away how long will it stay empty and look a mess. That said, 3am is absolutely ridiculous. If they’re there at 3am, there will be people right up through the town at that time. I think there should be a condition to being back the time to 1am.”
Cllr Peter Clayton said he would support an earlier closing time of 1am if it allows a vacant building to be brought back into use.
Cllr Parkin said that while she sympathizes with concerns about the impact on other small independent businesses, those concerns are not planning grounds to object.
Cllr Andy Brewer said: “I have mixed feelings about this. I’ve heard some comments in the past from people saying ‘you cant get a decent take-away in Burnham late at night because they all close early’. We should remember that we are a seaside town and a lot of holidaymakers come here and for large parts of the year there are significant numbers of people looking for take-away food late at night.”
“While I might not feel that way myself, Domino’s will have done their research and they must know there’s a need. I’m inclined to agree that it’s good to see the building come back into use. It would be nice if it were a different type of premises but that’s outside of our control. It will provide employment with opening hours like that, helping the local economy.”
Cllr Pete Clayton proposed that the council support the application on the basis that the new door will be in keeping with the rest of the frontage, and that 1am should be the latest closing time.
But Cllr Sue Harvey said she would prefer to see a midnight closing time given the high proportion of residential properties in the area and new flats being built nearby at the Tuckers Garage site and old Job Centre. “Frankly, I think midnight is far late enough,” she said.
Cllr Pete Clayton responded: “We could try for midnight but then Domino’s might say that’s not realistic and then end up with 3am. I thought 1am would be a compromise, but I am happy to go with the majority.”
Councillors voted on the proposal. The amendment to a midnight closing time received only one vote, from Cllr Sue Harvey, and so the original proposal of 1am was carried.
Cllr Louise Parkin added after the vote that “even if they get 1am, it doesn’t mean they will be open until 1am. Realistically, as an ex caterer, I can’t see that happening in the winter.”
The planning application, reference 11/20/00151, will ultimately be decided by Sedgemoor District Council.
Barclays closed its Burnham branch at the site in October 2018, as Burnham-On-Sea.com reported here at the time. The property has been vacant ever since.