Town councillors have this week expressed concerns about controversial plans by a local garden centre to expand its store by more than 35,000 square feet – but they delayed making a decision on whether to formally oppose the scheme.
Burnham-On-Sea.com broke the news in March that Sanders Garden World at Brent Knoll wants to extend its premises as part of a multi-million pound expansion programme.
A formal planning application was recently registered by the store’s owners, Wyevale, and, if approved, the extension could generate over 100 new jobs.
However, the plans have concerned businesses and councillors in Burnham-On-Sea who fear that such a large out-of-town garden centre with a wide product range may take away trade from the town.
The scheme was reviewed by members of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council’s Planning Applications Committee this week when the concerns were aired.
Town Clerk Eileen Shaw told the meeting: “There are concerns that the retail assessment document prepared by Wyevale in support of the application may have had several inaccuracies and this is still being assessed.”
Burnham Chamber of Trade Chairman Alex Turco first raised questions about the accuracy of the retail assessment study, which claimed the impact on Burnham would be minimal, in August.
He also claimed that if the plans are approved, Burnham town centre businesses could lose £4 million of trade.
Cllr Pauline Pollard said at this week’s meeting: “I’m concerned that the wide range of products that could be sold at the centre, such as arts and crafts, will hurt similar shops in Burnham. It would be horrible to lose them.”
The Planning Applications Committee agreed to examine the impact in closer detail at its next meeting later in October.
Wyevale plans to increase the size of the store’s covered building to 63,000 square feet and to leave the remainder of the outdoor sales area in its existing state. The proposal would also see the number of car parking spaces rise from 369 spaces to 411, and a new roundabout introduced.
Plans for £4m garden centre expansion go on show