Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge councillors have approved a £6,000 upgrade of the council’s chambers to try and make the facilities more ‘friendly’ to the public.

At a meeting last night (Monday, September 4th), councillors voted to proceed with a “long overdue” project to modernise the chambers in Burnham’s Jaycroft Road.

Cllr Martin Cox, Chairman of the council’s Staffing and Resources Committee, pictured, said: “We’re frequently told by the public attending our meetings that it’s difficult to hear what is being said during debates due to the poor sound system.”

“It’s also felt that councillors don’t engage enough because they currently sit with their backs to the audience. We’re looking to correct that by introducing several improvements to the council chambers.”

A £2,700 high-tech ceiling-mounted projector screen will lower down into the room when required, with the aim of providing better visibility.

The existing horseshoe-shaped arrangement of seating and tables will be “reconfigured” by a carpenter at a cost of £850 – and a separate wall bench and large table at the rear of the room will be removed to free up space.

New microphones and speakers are also set to be installed in the chambers at a cost of £2,700 to improve the sound quality. A separate £23,000 wireless sound system was rejected for being too costly.

The total £6,200 cost will be taken from the Town Council’s ‘Fabric and Maintenance Budget’, which has reserves of £96,000 remaining for future work.

Town Council Clerk Tatiana Cant told Burnham-On-Sea.com afterwards: “We are excited that the changes have been given the go-ahead – they will make such a difference. We hope to have it all completed in time for our October meeting.”