Bethan Evans, Reporter
Friday, July 20, 2012
BURNHAM High Street could be pedestrianised, or a splash pool created on the seafront, if community ideas on how to spend £322,000 win enough support.
Burnham Town Team has approached the town council with a final list of 20 ideas on how the money could be spent, which comes from funding provided by the new Tesco development on the edge of the town.
If the council agrees on one or some of the recommendations they will be forwarded to Sedgemoor District Council, for final approval.
Head of the town team, Alex Turco, said while big plans for a splash pool or pedestrianisation are possible, several smaller schemes may better benefit Burnham.
He said: “We have collected all our research since the town team was founded for the Portas Pilot scheme and we need to make a fundamental decision.
“We can do a big trophy scheme, with a splash pool on the Esplanade, or turn Pier Street into an amphitheatre, or we can do smaller schemes.”
Alex said the priority for town councillors at the moment is for better town centre management.
He said: “We need a greater capacity to make the most of the town to compete against Tesco, and that was the fundamental recommendation.
“As an edge-of-town development, Tesco’s expansion will damage Burnham. The money can be seen as compensation for the town centre, and if it is compensation can we afford to take a risk on a big scheme, or is it better to spend it on smaller things?
“If one small thing does not work you have the majority left but if a big scheme does not work you’re in trouble. That’s what we have to assess, the risk factors to the larger schemes.”
These smaller schemes include creating a car parking strategy, increasing the size of farmers’ markets, provide late opening shops and cafés and possible recruitment of a town centre manager.
Mr Turco said: “There are people who say we should do a big physical scheme, but what we have set out is lots of little things to make a community project.
“Our ethos is to get on and do what we can and not risk the money.
“Individually these things may not look like much but added together they make better improvements. If any element goes wrong, we have not lost that much. It’s a matter of trying to benefit everyone in the town centre.”