Burnham-On-Sea town councillors have welcomed the news that action has been taken against the operators of a cash machine in the town’s High Street amid safety concerns.
Burnham-On-Sea.com reported here that at a meeting on Monday (April 4th), town councillors aired a number of safety fears about the rusting ATM, which has electric wires poking out at the bottom. Town councillors said that unless ‘urgent’ safety improvements are made, they will cordon it off with barricades.
Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “SDC’s staff were contacted on Tuesday morning about the problem. Our Environmental Health Department contacted the company who leases the phonebox/ATM from BT and explained a child could put their hand or hands into the hole as it is big enough and low enough.”
“We also explained that Burnham-On-Sea is a holiday destination and with the Easter holidays there are a lot of visitors with children and it would be in everyone’s best interest to rectify the issue before anything happens.”
She added: “The company said it has now raised a ticket for the work to be done, but although they could not commit to a date, they have marked it as a matter of urgency, following advice from our Environmental Health Officer.”
Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton said on Wednesday evening (April 6th): “It is excellent news that this urgent works order has been placed – it is very much needed. I would like to thank Duncan McGinty, the leader of Sedgemoor District Council, and the officers involved in achieving this result.”
It comes after strongly-worded concerns were expressed by councillors during Monday’s Burnham and Highbridge Town Council meeting.
Cllr Louise Parkin said: “We have a duty of care to the residents of this town and our visitors. None of us like this ATM. The ATM operator has had ample opportunity since June last year to rectify it, but they don’t give a damn. Well, I do, and I want this sorted.”
“A kid could get tetanus from it at best if they don’t lose an arm. It is absolutely unthinkable that this council allows this to continue… at worst, I think we should barricade it off as a duty of care.”
Cllr Martin Cox added: “It is absolutely outrageous. You can see live wiring coming out through a hole. How that it isn’t enough for the ATM firm to fix it I do not know. I call on them to be publicly shamed for allowing this to happen and for disregarding the request of the local council.”
Cllr Andy Brewer said: “I suggest we keep up the pressure on BT in particular and try to raise the profile of the problem. We need to protect ourselves against legal action but this is a public matter we have a degree of responsibility.”
Cllr David Hoggarth added: “I suggest we send both parties a 30 day notice of intent. That would legally be in order. With this degree of inaction over several months, we can then continue with our intention of barricading it. It’s an item of public access. Literally after 31 days we do it to protect our residents.”
But Cllr Michael Clarke responded: “If we do barricade it off, we as a council will have to provide the barricades. If there is any incident resulting from that barricade then we as a Town Council would be liable.”
Cllr Martin Cox responded: “We may not have to put barricades up but just a few notices saying there is a potential danger with this machine and that people should beware.”
Cllr Kate Lawson added: “I find it incredible that it has been reported to the Health and Safety Executive and they refuse to do anything, saying it’s not in their remit. I do think we should go back again. If we had them on our side it would add more clout to what we are trying to do here.”
Councillors voted unanimously to give the ATM company 30 days notice to make safety improvements or further action will be taken.