Burnham leisure park plans receive mixed reaction

PUBLISHED: 08:50 12 July 2011

Views of Burnham and Highbridge.; 31-10-08

Views of Burnham and Highbridge.; 31-10-08

Copyright Archant Ltd

PLANS for a new leisure park in Burnham have met with a mixed reaction.

Entrepreneur Paul Chatwin’s proposal for a new park on the South Esplanade includes a mini-golf course and children’s fairground rides.

But while some have welcomed the £200,000 plans and the potential boost to tourism, others have flagged up what they see as problems with the site, while the area is also the subject of a village green application.

Burnham-based Mr Chatwin, who last year failed in a bid to bring a crazy golf course to the town, has unveiled his plans for the Burnham Point scheme to members of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council.

The site earmarked for the project by Mr Chatwin is opposite the entrance to the Burnham Holiday Village on the South Esplanade, and would feature 20 beach chalets, an 18-hole adventure golf course, and a site for fairground rides.

Mr Chatwin is currently gauging public opinion for the scheme on a survey website, where he stated he was hopeful the site could also be used to host a variety of arts and craft fairs and events selling and promoting local produce.

The construction of the chalets would cost Sedgemoor District Council £60,000 – an amount Mr Chatwin has said he will pay back to the council if they decide to end the agreement - while the developer is looking to spend £140,000 of his own money of the scheme.

But an application to turn the site into a village green is also currently being considered by Somerset County Council, which could kill the project if granted.

Councillor Helen Groves said: “The proposal could be incredibly positive for the town.

“There is a lack of amenities for young children, and it’s wonderful that we have people who are willing to invest in the town in this way.”

But fellow councillor Louise Parkin said: “My main concern is that there is a lack of amenities such as toilets on that site.

“We have spent 50 or so years catering to a certain clientele of people aged 50 or older, and I don’t think we should alienate them by trying to aim at younger people.”

Graham Wills, treasurer of the Burnham Motor Boat and Sailing Club, and chairman of the town’s Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) branch, said: “I think there is a need for sympathetic development of that area of the town, it just depends on how it’s done.

“While we at the sailing club wouldn’t want a new development to exacerbate the existing problems we have experienced with crime, we would welcome something that would be sympathetic to the town’s Victorian heritage.”

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