Plans to temporarily close part of Burnham-On-Sea’s Esplanade for two vehicle events later this year have been attacked by traders this week.
Speaking at the Town Council’s latest meeting on Wednesday night, Pavilion manager and councillor Louise Parkin hit out at the proposals to shut The Esplanade between the jetty and pier.
It was proposed that hundreds of bikes and vehicles be parked up along the seafront for fundraising events on Sunday 1st May and Saturday 20th August between 11.30am and 4.30pm for the two events.
However, Cllr Parkin said: “We, as seafront businesses, unanimously object in the strongest possible terms.”
“Coaches are a strategic part of our business and by closing The Esplanade you will stop them coming as drivers work to a tight schedule and do not follow diversions.”
“With Project Coach up and running again soon, will be expecting up to 20 coaches a day, if not more, and that’s 1,000 customers you will be turning away.”
“That’s to say nothing of the buses that come from Brean and Bridgwater that will have to be diverted, taking that business away too.”
After proposing the Pier Street car park and southern Esplanade as alternatives, she continued: “While I know they are very nice people, I personally have seen too many resorts ruined by an inflow of bikers that dominate the area and have a devastating impact on tourism. That’s not just my personal experience… I am related to about 50 per cent of amusements around the coast of Britain and I am in contact with them all the time.”
She concluded: “Unanimously, along the seafront, we don’t want these closures – coaches are too important.”
Town Centre Bev Milner Simonds had explained during the meeting that she was keen for the two events to be held nearer the town centre to encourage moe visitors into the nearby town centre to use shops and businesses.
But Chairman Cllr Paul Young said the committee was in agreement with Cllr Parkin’s views and it was agreed that the events should be held along the South Esplanade instead, running from the Bay View Cafe southwards, to minimise any adverse impact on seafront businesses.
Michael Collins, from Bridgwater Harley Davidson Owners Club, who is organising one of the planned events, told Burnham-On-Sea.com he was “very happy” that the council had given his event on May 1st the go-ahead, adding that the new location of the South Esplanade is suitable.