Plans to introduce a new £29,000 CCTV camera in Burnham’s vandalism-hit Manor Gardens received luke warm support from town councillors at a meeting on Monday evening (June 30th).

Cllr John Swayne, who represents the district council on Somerset’s Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, outlined plans to introduce a new permanent CCTV camera in the park as part of an ongoing drive to crack down crime.

But while councillors welcomed the proposals to replace the temporary camera (pictured here), they baulked at the request to provide funding for the scheme.

“If we were to provide funding here, we could be opening the flood gates for many more requests from the districy council,” said Cllr Neville Jones during Monday’s Town Improvements Committee Meeting.

“The district council has been very happy to pass us responsibility for funding facilities such as this, but not to pass over assets across the town.”

However, Burnham councillor Cllr Dennis Davey added: “The temporary CCTV camera has been very successful and helped to make the lives of many people who live around Manor Gardens more bearable. It’s difficult to imagine what it would be like with no camera any more.”

Cllr Swayne outlined the plans, saying “The portable camera has been very successful and certainly has improved the situation. However, there is huge demand on portable units and the current one can’t stay there permanently. We’re therefore keen to see whether a permanent camera can replace it and would welcome help with funding the costs.”

He said the total costs – which include a £4,000 bill from BT to dig a trench and install cabling, £2,000 a year to monitor the CCTV images, plus a further £2,000 to maintain it – would come to between £27,000 and £29,000.

Alex Turco, Chairman of Burnham’s Chamber of Trade, asked whether Cllr Swayne had approached the Regeneration Partnership for funding. He said he intended to, adding: “We are contacting a large number of groups.” Cllr Jones suggested the Ashfield Trust, which runs the Manor House, might be able to help.

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of the scheme, but decided to refer the request for funding to the town council’s Policy and Finance Committee.

The launch of the temporary camera came after Burnham police held a special street briefing in the park earlier this year when Sgt Ian Kennett told the public a CCTV camera was needed to tackle crime in the gardens.