The safety of Burnham-On-Sea’s new town centre ‘events area’ is in the spotlight this week after several accidents where walkers have tripped up.
New coloured paving stones and a yellow road surface have been introduced in the High Street as part of a raft of changes aimed at attracting extra visitors.
However, the new surfaces have been catching out pedestrians and several have tripped since the changes were introduced.
Gaynor Brown, who saw several people fall on Friday, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “They occurred on the new surface outside Peacock’s – there were two falls and two near falls. The drop down to the road is less than on the other side of the road.”
Project Manager Paul Martin told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I have heard there have been several incidents with people tripping up. It’s unfortunate and the Town Council are looking into this further.”
He said it is now “very doubtful” that all the work will be finished for Easter, as had been planned. “We’re now looking at later in April for final completion.”
He added: “The street lighting columns are progressing, but we are looking at re-locating several of the street lights and this is being reviewed with the lighting contractor. The position of several hanging basket columns may also be moved prior to the end of the project. The street furniture has been successfully installed and the resurfacing completed.”
Several traders are also unhappy, with Les Barber at Bessies Sweet Shoppe telling Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The work seems to be of a poor standard. There are unstable and uneven paving stones on the pavement, plus half-completed yellow lines on the road – it’s very disappointing.”
Beverley Milner Simonds, Town Centre Manager, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It was alarming to hear the reports of the trips and falls in the High Street events area.”
“Whilst I was a part of the initial discussions about the events area I didn’t take part in the material colour choices. It is my job to ensure that the processes are in place so that events that take place in the town are safe and clearly the choices in this area of the town have had unforeseen consequences.”
She added: “I think its state should be reviewed as soon as possible as we have some great town centre events coming up. To me, it looks like the road should be black as that is the thing that is different to other places where they don’t have falls.”
The town centre changes are all being funded from a combined work package amounting to £440,000 funded by Tesco to offset the expansion of its Burnham store, plus grants from the Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council.
The new paving stones on pavements in Burnham High Street have been called “unstable and uneven” by one business owner