A COUNCIL has defended its plans to move its offices into a former adult learning centre after concerns were raised about the suitability of the building.

At a meeting on Monday (November 27) Burnham-on-Sea resident Bev Milner-Simonds criticised Burnham and Highbridge Town Council for considering proposals to move their offices from The Old Courthouse in Jaycroft Road into the former SS&L building in Princess Street.

Bev said the the old school building is not a suitable location for the town council offices as it is in a poor state of repair and is too small to hold meetings in.

But the council says the former SS&L building is just one of the options they are considering and no decision has been taken on where their new offices will be.

Speaking after the meeting, Bev said: "The SS&L building was built in 1910. It has had very little maintenance in recent years and would need a substantial sum to bring it up to useable state.

"It also does not have a room large enough for full council meetings.

"The library next door has space available and The Pizey Room at The Princess is hardly ever hired out and it plenty big enough for the council staff.

"It also struck me that I can’t recall any council meeting ever happening in Highbridge, which is strange as this is the Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea council."

The former adult learning centre was closed in December 2017 following a £3.5 million government funding cut in the Autumn which saw SS&L undertake a massive company restructure with significant redundancies in the organisation.

A spokesperson for the council said they are also considering plans to move their offices into The Princess Theatre and Arts Centre but any decisions

"The council has identified that its existing building is not ideal in terms of location or configuration.

"The former school building is not listed and therefore, if the building itself is not brought back into use, the site has no protection from development.

"No decision has yet been taken but it is acknowledged that the building is already sited alongside other public functions, it also offers an opportunity to share the premises and create a public open space to the front.

"Ultimately however, the future of the former school is in the hands of its owners, Somerset County Council.

"There will be a cost associated with any building into which the council might relocate, and whilst the council welcomes the views of residents, any decision will be one that explores financial and practical feasibility based on professional, costed advice from those in the surveying & construction industry."