Funds run out for Burnham-on-Sea town centre manager role

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 October 2016

Beverley Milner Simonds (picture: Steven Haywood).

Beverley Milner Simonds (picture: Steven Haywood).

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Burnham-on-Sea will be without a town centre manager at the end of this month as funding can no longer support the position.

Beverley Milner Simonds – who is also one of the organisers of the bi-annual Burnham food festival – has seen out her two-year contract, which was financed by section 106 money stemming from the expansion of the Tesco superstore in Ben Travers Way.

She initially had around £400,000 to spend on co-ordinating events and promotion of the town centre.

Since her appointment in 2014, events such as the Spray Jam festival, the Chase The Sun charity bike ride and the world paper aeroplane championships have all proved successful in the town.

Ms Milner Simonds told the Mercury she has tried to please as many people as possible over the past two years.

She said: “There can be few roles where you get to such variety on a day-to-day basis.

“I have been attempting to deliver benefit to the 211 businesses in the town centre while being answerable to elected councillors. It’s been a balancing act and I don’t think I have pleased all of the people all of the time – but I have tried to.

“One area which has been visible to the most people has been the events councillors have commissioned to drive footfall into the town centre.

“They have been fun to deliver, but hard work too – I hope the council will think some of them are worthwhile continuing and will act as the commissioner for a variety of events.”

The future of these events is being discussed but there is also a plan for a £20,000 investment in a wi-fi network for the town centre and along the seafront.

Sedgemoor District Council is also willing to help foot the bill, while the rest would be covered by the remaining Tesco 106 money.

Cllr Paul Young said: “I think it would enormously help and would also help us understand more about our town’s visitors and shops.”

The council’s town projects committee has recommended the idea for consideration.

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