Controversial plans for a £100,000 modernisation project at Burnham-On-Sea’s Pier look set to be turned down by Sedgemoor District Council today (Tuesday, March 18th).

In an official report to councillors, Sedgemoor case officer Chris Gomm has recommended that the application for a new retractable roof and food forecourt is rejected when it is considered by the council’s Development Control Committee.

He says that the potential economic benefits of the scheme do not outweigh the “significant harm” that the development will cause.

“The application site is located within Burnham’s conservation area. The Pavilion itself is an undesignated heritage asset which is an important focal point on The Esplanade; it is an attractive Edwardian building which has to-date retained its original character and charm.”

He adds: “The proposed canopy structure is to be erected in a highly visible, high profile position on the principal, street-facing elevation of the building. The building’s principal elevation and attractive roof structure will be obscured from the adjacent Esplanade by virtue of the proposal’s inappropriate massing, scale and height.”

“The proposal will dominate, rather than be subservient to the existing building. The proposal will detract from and fundamentally change the attractive and unique silhouette of the building. Ultimately, the proposal’s overall design and materials are such that it will significantly harm the character and appearance of the existing building and that of the surrounding conservation area.”

Sedgemoor says it has received three letters objecting against the scheme, with five in support – including one from the National Piers Society.

The Town Council has said it supports the application on the grounds that “it will increase employment opportunities and be beneficial for tourism and will improve the existing building.”

The proposed shelter would be 14 metres wide by 10 metres deep and would provide seating for the Pavilion’s café. The plans for a 35ft retractable roof to cover the food forecourt were first reported here.

Louise Parkin, manager at the Pavilion, recently said: “The costs of maintaining the pier are enormous and we have to do what we can to make it viable.”

She explained that the building’s insurance premiums have risen 240% since the Weston Pier fire while amusement arcade takings have fallen 75% since 2007.

“With our overheads and continual maintenance, we have to adapt and compensate before the structure is compromised. This is why the weather-proof forecourt is needed. At present, we can seat up to 80 people in good weather but only 30 in bad weather. Despite what the artists impression indicates, we will only seat a few more customers than before, but in all weathers. This additional space will also accommodate new children’s rides.”

 
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