Princess Theatre, Burnham-On-Sea

A Burnham-On-Sea councillor is asking for the public’s feedback on proposals to move the Town Council’s offices from its current premises into the Princess Theatre.

Proposals to move the Town Council from Jaycroft Road into the town centre were recently discussed by town councillors.

Now, Burnham-On-Sea town, district and county councillor Cllr Peter Clayton is seeking residents’ views on whether a move of the council to the theatre, pictured above, would be welcomed.

He told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It is public knowledge that the Town Council is exploring the possibility of relocating to Princess Street as part of the Somerset County Council led One Public Estate initiative.”

“The Town Council is considering options that will enable it to become part of a new hub offering a variety of public services in an accessible location. Somerset County Council’s initiative to bring the old school building back into use is expected to link up with the police, the library, the registrar as well as potentially other County & District services.”

“The idea behind the creation of the hub is to rationalise the County Council’s assets to improve efficiency whilst improving services. The Town Council owns the Old Courthouse in Jaycroft Road and it owns the Princess Theatre. Both buildings are old and tired, require maintenance and don’t always make best use of space.”

He added: “Over the last few months there have been informal discussions outside of meetings to gather opinion on how the Town Council might also carry out a programme to rationalise its buildings, decrease its overheads and concentrate efforts on service delivery. This could be achieved by relocating the Town Council to the Princess Theatre building.”

“There would be costs in relocating the Council to the Princess site, but those costs could be paid for from the sale of the Old Courthouse rather than the taxpayer. Disruption from any building works required to add office space to the Princess could be kept to a minimum by coordinating works with the refurbishment already planned and paid for by the grant from the HPC Community Impact Mitigation Fund.”

“Ultimately, siting the Town Council at the Princess Theatre would significantly reduce overheads by only focussing on one building. It would generate money from the sale of the Old Courthouse and free up funds to enable the Town Council to carry out more projects for the benefit of both towns.”

“I recognise that the idea of moving the Town Council to the Princess is not a new one but in light of the current discussions taking place regarding the creation of a Princess Street hub for public services, I would like to put the idea before the Town Council as soon as possible.”

“I intend to submit a motion to the Council asking it to actively enter into negotiations with prospective purchasers of the Old Courthouse and to draw up plans to build suitable office space to the rear of the Princess, whilst maintaining full use of the Theatre and Arts Centre as a community space.”

“However, before I take any action, I would welcome the views of the community as to whether it would support a move to the Princess Theatre.”

Comments can be sent to cllr.p.clayton@burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk or passed direct to the Town Council office marked for his attention before the end of August.