Controversial proposals to turn a former antiques shop into a food take-away in the centre of Burnham-On-Sea have this week been strongly opposed by town councillors and residents.
An application to ‘change the use’ of the former Castle Antiques shop at 53 Victoria Street was considered by Burnham and Highbridge Town Council’s Planning Applications Committee on Monday evening (January 31st).
Councillors have raised “strong objections” to the scheme amid concerns regarding parking problems, late night noise and the business being “out of character” with the surrounding area.
Nearby resident Ollie Hulme, pictured, is one of several local people to have voiced opposition to the plans. He told Monday’s meeting: “I am one of several residents who has serious concerns about this application. It would make our lives intolerable.”
“It would have a big impact on the appearance and character of Victoria Street, create extra noise, increased traffic and encourage parking on the street, interrupting the flow of traffic. Sedgemoor District Council has failed miserably to do its job properly because some of my neighbours have not been formally told about the proposals. We feel a take away here would be entirely unsuitable and we strongly recommend refusal.”
And local business owner Jenny Turco also expressed her opposition in a letter that was read out at the meeting.
She warned that the “vitality and viability of the town centre is being hurt” by the continual loss of retail shops and she added that the proposed take-away would likely create noise, pollution and increased night-time anti-social behaviour. She also claimed the proposals would be “detrimental” to the conservation area in which the premises are located.
Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton said: “I strongly agree with the residents. That end of town has been suffering in recent years from shop closures and I would not want to see the loss of another retail outlet. It’s predominantly a residential area and it would not be appropriate to have a take-away there.”
Cllr Chris Williams added: “We expressed concerns last year regarding the lack of car parking spaces in that part of Victoria Street when we considered the flats scheme for the former Tuckers Garage site. With that application being approved by Sedgemoor, the issue is now even more of a concern.”
And Cllr Pat Burge added: “If there’s an event being held at St Andrew’s Church in the evening there will be nowhere left for anyone to park.”
Meanwhile, “potential heath hazards” to nearby residents from extractors issuing food vapours and other material into the atmosphere were raised by Cllr Janet Keen.
And Cllr Joe Leach added: “These proposals would have a big impact on the exterior of a very nice old building. Adding extractor fans and other changes here would damage its character.”
However, Cllr Ken Smout cautioned: “While parking and noise are problems here, we should also be aware that there are few food facilities at that end of town despite the large number of homes there.”
The applicant, Mr S Hossain, who has applied for a change of use for the shop from Class A1 to Class A5 to a hot food takeaway, will now have to await a final decision is expected to be made by Sedgemoor District Council during the next few weeks.