A group of Burnham-On-Sea seafront residents have stepped up their campaign to have a proposed new play area moved from outside their homes by handing out campaign leaflets and speaking to seafront walkers about the changes.
As first reported here, residents of Quantock Court say that while they support the idea of a new seafront play area, the tarmac area on the South Esplanade earmarked for the new facilities is “unsuitable” as it is “regularly used” for various outdoor activities by families, runners, dog walkers, keep fit enthusiasts and cyclists, and is also overlooked by their flats.
They say they have voiced their concerns to the Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council, and have handed in a petition to the Town Council calling for the proposed play area to be relocated further along the seafront to the lawns opposite Burnham Holiday Village. The residents say their specific concerns are not being heard.
Over the Easter weekend, the residents handed out leaflets outlining “A proposed children’s play area will stop all established leisure activities here… if the proposed playa area was sited just 150 yards to the south on the neglected grass area opposite the Burnham Holiday Village, all activities could benefit. So everybody wins.” The leaflet asks people to contact the town and district councils.
Resident Bob Nicholson told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The residents living at Quantock Court opposite the proposed children’s play area have objected to the proposed site for a variety of reasons. However it must be emphasised that all agree that the proposed play equipment designed for children up to the age of 12 would be enjoyed by local, as well as visiting, youngsters. Hence, the suggestion that the play area should be put on the neglected grass area approximately 150 yards South opposite the Burnham holiday village pedestrian entrance.”
“If the councillors agreed to this move, residents would endeavour to assist with any additional costs that may result in the change of site. Many local firms may be willing to assist with any additional groundwork preparation and a fundraising appeal could also help.”
“One of the main reasons for the objection, apart from the impact it would have on the residents opposite, is that the scheme would stop all established activities which the council state in their ‘Evolution Plan’ is to encourage healthy activities. So scooters, roller skates, bicycles, skateboards, hoverboards, keep fits and dog training can take place in a safe environment. They would have to stop for health and safety reasons with crowds of children using the play area.”
“The council have unfortunately not answered residents’ concerns raised since the full details of the proposal were featured on Burnham-On-Sea.com in November 2020. How will the council mitigate the official impact on the residents opposite, as well as the potential increase in noise nuisance? Why, when a consultation was carried out in the High Street, did the Quantock Court residents not get asked to participate? How will the quality of life for the residents opposite be improved? None of these questions have been addressed by anyone from the council.”
He adds: “The impasse could easily be resolved with some agreements to move the proposal as suggested. That way, everyone wins. It also carries out the ‘Evolution Plan’ improvement intentions. No doubt the elderly residents will be accused of being ‘silly old codgers’, however they surely have the rights to be considered or even consulted.”
Several passers-by gave their support to the residents. One, Laura Maynard, said: “This is a well used part of the seafront where the open space is used by families and other residents for various leisure. We don’t want to lose space like this.”
Meanwhile, Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey adds: “Not unreasonably, I was unaware of these proposals as they originate entirely from the local council and I know that the new play area on the seafront will be a welcome addition for many young families living in the town, as well as for the many visitors who holiday here. I am sure that the councillors who have developed these plans will be keen to discuss the concerns held by residents nearby but if I can assist in facilitating that meeting, I am happy to do so.”
Both the Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council responses are featured here.