A retrospective planning application to turn a shop in the centre of Burnham-On-Sea into a taxi office has been turned down by planners this week.

Members of Sedgemoor District Council’s Development Control Committee decided on Tuesday (September 26th) that enforcement action is also needed at the premises, pictured right, in Abingdon Street.

Their decision comes after the application was submitted on a retrospective basis for the continued use of a former shop on the north side of Abingdon Street as a taxi booking office.

The applicant had advised planners that there would be no more than three staff in the office and a maximum of four customers. He added that two drivers are employed and that there are bedsits above the office, but that no taxis would be permanently parked outside the premises.

If they were waiting for jobs, they would be asked to park on the ranks or in the car park opposite the office, he said. The applicant also claimed that the radio system had a licence and that there was no interference to neighbours’ electrical equipment.

However, while Burnham town councillors had no objections regarding the application, they had requested several restrictions be placed on the premises. Firstly, that because Abingdon Street is a mixed residential/business area, some restrictions on the operating hours of the business should be imposed.

Secondly, town councillors wanted a condition restricting the number of vehicles in the interest of highway safety and the reduction of traffic congestion. Thirdly, the town council noted that at one time there were signs advertising refreshments were available from the premises. “The council would not want to encourage an independent refreshment business at this location, and would like a condition that refreshments may only be supplied for staff and waiting customers,” said a spokesman.

Two letters of objection from nearby residents were also received by planners, claiming that the office represented a commercial enterprise in a residential area, and that it was generating radio interference.

They also added that Lynton Road is being used as a taxi rank, that Abingdon Street is already full to capacity in respect of parking facilities, and they also raised concerns about future increases in the use and number of taxis.

Sedgemoor District Council’s Case Officer, Con McStay, recommended refusal and this was endorsed by district councillors at a meeting of the Development Control Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

“The proposal would give rise to noise and disturbance from vehicles, drivers and customers extending into unsocial hours which would be detrimental to the amenity of occupants of nearby residential properties,” said Mr McStay.

“The proposed development would be likely to encourage the parking of vehicles on the public highway, which would interrupt the free flow of traffic and, thereby, add to the hazards of road users at this point.”

Councillors rejected the application and decided that enforcement action should be started on the owner of the premises.

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