£440,000 Burnham town centre regeneration a reality at last (From Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News)
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£440,000 Burnham town centre regeneration a reality at last
A £440,000 project to rejuvenate Burnham will make the town “better and brighter” and give tourists a reason to come back time and again.
That's the view of Mayor Ken Smout, who is beginning work to bring a raft of initiatives rubberstamped by Sedgemoor District Council's executive committee into place as soon as possible.
The first task will be deciding on the job remit of a £20,000-a-year town centre manager, who will work three days a week on a three-year contract.
That person will then be responsible for turning many of the other ideas into reality.
- £100,000 on street lighting, introducing an LED system in High Street and 'heritage' style lighting in Victoria Street
- £100,000 on highways works, including colouring a section of High Street, from Cross Street to Adam Street, to mark it for future events
- £30,000 for shop front improvements, including painting roller shutters
- £40,000 on PR
- £10,000 on hanging baskets
- £5,000 on notice boards and £2,000 on cycle racks.
The town centre manager would also have a £67,000 pot for as-yet-undecided schemes. The rest would cover admin and contingency costs.
The money is made up of £320,000 from Tesco for its Burnham supermarket expansion and £120,000 from the now-defunct South West Regional Development Agency.
Cllr Smout told the Weekly News: “Around 60 or so ideas came forward and we decided, after all the consultations and surveys, that we wanted something to make the town a better, brighter, more interesting place, something that would give the town a smarter look and visitors a more enjoyable place to shop in.”
Sedgemoor District Council said the investment represented a “positive mitigation package”, adding: “In particular, shop frontage grants and lighting are two areas where experience elsewhere suggests they can have a significant positive impact on both local perceptions and customer footfall.”
Somerset West Businesses Against Crime, which represents around 40 businesses in Burnham, put forward alternative proposals for the money, including £50,000-a-year on community safety wardens.
Co-ordinator Andy Sharman said: “I'm not too distraught that it didn't go our way but I'm hoping the town council will meet with us and work together on what's best for Burnham.
“Businesses have a lot to bring to the table, and there's no point being a business crime reduction partnership if all the businesses go under.”
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