Town councillors in Burnham-On-Sea have clashed this week over proposals to temporarily close the town’s High Street for community events.
It comes after Burnham’s Town Centre Manager this week proposed that the High Street is closed for a parade and street party to mark Armed Forces Day in June.
However, councillors say they are concerned at the potential disruption with a loss of parking and trade for businesses in the town centre.
Cllr Louise Parkin told this week’s meeting: “We really should not be closing the High Street on a busy Saturday in June after all the other closures for markets and other events through the year.”
Cllr Bill Hancock agreed: “If you’re a shop who pays high business rates then you’ll view yet another closure of the High Street as a further nail in your coffin. We cannot allow these closures to hurt traders.”
But Cllr Paul Young says he believes they are positive for trade. “There’s a great advantage to closing the High Street for special events to help encourage more visitors into the town, who in turn spend money.”
Cllr Neville Jones said: “Go and speak to the traders who sell for their livelihood in Burnham – find out from them whether they want more street closures.”
And Cllr Michael Clarke said: “There has been a huge amount spent on helping the traders, and improving Burnham town centre through our ongoing project funded from the Tesco expansion mitigation funds.”
He pointed out that the new events area in the High Street has been specifically intyroduced to allow more community events to be held in the town centre.
The council is to consult with traders via Burnham Chamber of Trade and re-consider the road closure proposals later in the year.
Pictured: Burnham High Street and, above, the monthly farmers market