12th July 2021 Town Improvements Minutes – Draft

MINUTES: TOWN IMPROVEMENTS COMMITTEE

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 12th July 2021 at 7pm at The Old Courthouse, Jaycroft Road, Burnham-on-Sea

Present: Cllr Andy Hodge (Chairman), Chris Allen, Peter Clayton, Phil Harvey, Mike Murphy, Mike Facey, Julie Flurry, Colette Winfield, Andy Brewer with Sam Winter (Town Clerk) Lorna Williams (Deputy Clerk) and Sally Jones (RFO) in attendance.

Five members of the public, including 2 county councillors, and one member of the press were present

Public Participation

There were two public speakers.

A resident addressed the meeting to speak against the Cllr P Harvey’s proposals (min ref: 44 & 45/21/TIMPS) for public consultation on future uses of the town centre and control of access and vehicle speeds. The resident stated that any consultation exercise on the future of the town centre should be decided by those traders operating in the high street. He spoke against any form of pedestrianisation and considered that a 20 mph speed limit was unnecessary as speeds in High Street are restricted by default.

A representative of the Burnham Retail Group addressed the meeting on the town centre proposals (min ref: 44 & 45/21/TIMPS). The meeting heard that one of the primary objectives of the retail group was to gather and evaluate visitor information from other retailers in the town centre. The representative stated the group’s view was opposed to restricting vehicles to ‘access only’ as High Street was primarily used by shoppers and not as a route to another destination. The group would want to see a full consultation if any form of pedestrianisation was to be considered and pressed the point that traders put significant importance on the quick ‘pop in’ passing trade from drivers.

32/21/TIMP   Apologies

Apologies were received from committee members Cllr S Barber, N Tolley, D Carey and J Keen.

Cllr Keen had submitted a written apology requesting approval for absence as she was unable to attend the meeting due to having been in close contact with a positive case of Covid 19. Approval for the absence was given.

The same written application was made and approved for Cllr Alan Matthews in relation to agenda item 3 (min ref: 34/21/TIMP).

Apologies in respect of item 3 were received from Cllr Sue Harvey and Louise Parkin.

33/21/TIMP   Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted

                        There were no declarations of interest made. 

34/21/TIMP   To invite all councillors of the town council to discuss the proposed changes to the constituency boundaries and to agree a corporate response for submission to the Boundary Commission for England consultation.

County councillors Clayton and Filmer presented a report with proposals to amend the boundaries suggested by the Commission. The report’s proposed changes included that ‘Knoll ward’ should be within the same constituency as the Burnham, Highbridge and Berrow areas, and that the ‘King’s Isle’ ward should be included in the ‘Wells and Mendip Hills’ constituency. It was proposed that Junction 22 of the M5 should remain linked with the towns it serves. The county councillors considered that the proposed changes better reflect community links and result in a more coherent and workable area relating to issues that a constituency MP would need to be able to represent in the future. It was stated that the changes would increase electorate numbers above the minimum; comfortably within the required parameters. It was asserted that the proposed ‘Bridgwater’ constituency name does not acknowledge the inclusion of the substantial parish of Burnham & Highbridge within the constituency and that the new name should be the ‘Sedgemoor’ constituency.

Discussion supported the report’s proposed changes, but identified that the name ‘Sedgemoor’ constituency was inappropriate when the location of the Battle of Sedgemoor would fall outside the constituency. 

It was proposed by Cllr Hodge seconded by Cllr Allen and resolved to support the county councillors’ submission subject to an amendment that the boundary commission is requested to suggest a new constituency name to better reflect the communities within.

On disposal of the above special item the meeting returned to consideration of matters by the town improvements committee members. Non-committee members Cllrs Brewer, Flurry and Winfield took no further part in the meeting.

35/21/TIMP   Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the Town Improvements Committee meeting held on Monday 17th May 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the chairman.

36/21/TIMP   Action List

                        The Action List was noted

                        Motions for note/resolution

37/21/TIMP   To agree whether to proceed with the 2021 fireworks display and agree any date for the event           

The meeting received an update from the town clerk that, although the county carnival meeting had agreed not to hold carnival this year, the carnival representatives for the towns of Bridgwater & Burnham have agreed that both towns will aim to hold walking parades on a ‘Sedgemoor weekend’ event. The meeting noted that Burnham’s fireworks would ordinarily be held on Sunday 7th Nov, with the walking carnival on the 8th Nov. The clerk clarified that a deposit had been paid to the firework company in 2020 and if the committee resolved the 2021 fireworks should not go ahead, the company had agreed that the deposit would be carried over again to 2022.

The meeting acknowledged that the council should proceed with a 2021 firework event and, although the fireworks usually form part of the carnival weekend, the committee must consider the uncertainties around public health as we enter the winter season.

It was resolved that, for 2021 only,the event will be held ahead of the start of the winter season on Sunday 10th October, subject to land owner permissions and availability of the firework company.

38/21/TIMP   To receive a list of potential seafront repairs, identified as per min ref: 26/21/TIMP, and agree how to proceed with regards to the projects and any approval for change of CIM budgets under the Burnham Evolution Plan.

The meeting considered the Burnham Evolution works that were unable to proceed or that required additional funds, along with the identified outstanding works required to enhance the seafront esplanade areas.

The meeting resolved that the town clerk’s application to the CIM board will seek permission to reallocate £66,627 of CIM budgets to a seafront enhancement project that continues to meet the existing aims of the business plan.

39/21/TIMP   To review the existing Regeneration Partnership (sub-committee) terms of reference.

The meeting resolved that the Regeneration Partnership terms of reference will continue to apply unchanged.

40/21/TIMP   To receive an update from Cllr Hodge on the awards of the HTAP (SDC) Burnham Business Support Fund (retail frontage improvements).

The meeting heard that the awards scheme had been a success with a good number of applications received from retailers. The decisions of the panel were being processed, with some missing information being requested from applicants. It was anticipated that as some of the funding remains available, a further round of funding will be publicised in due course.

41/21/TIMP   To receive an update form Cllrs Keen & Barber on the gardening competition 2021

In the absence Cllrs Keen & Barber, the meeting received an update from Cllr Hodge who stated that the competition closed on 30th June with 12 impressive entries. The winners will be notified shortly and the results published.

42/21/TIMP   To agree how to manage the 2021 Christmas lights switch-on/ event(s) and agree date(s).

The meeting heard that the chambers of trade, Seed and the Burnham Retail group have expressed an interest in working inclusively with the town council to participate in the organisation of Christmas lights switch-on events.

The meeting resolved that the Burnham lights switch-on will take place at a community event in the town centre on Saturday November 20th 2021, and that Cllr Clayton will call a meeting with a representative from each of the participating groups to enable all to share plans and work collaboratively.

It was resolved that the Highbridge switch-on event will be planned between the Highbridge chamber of trade (represented by the chamber chairman, Mike Murphy), Seed and Cllr Janet Keen, with a switch-on date to be agreed by that group.

It was noted that any funding request to the town council should be made through the usual grants budget, scheduled for September.

43/21/TIMP   To note the most recent Speed Indicator Device reports with associated traffic speeds and agree any future action

The meeting acknowledged that a high percentage of road users were driving at sensible speeds and that around 15% were exceeding speed limits. It was agreed the office will look into siting the SIDs in Love Lane and Frank Foley Parkway at the same time to establish if there is a regular route being used by speeding vehicles.

It was resolved that the SID data will be shared with the Police to help inform its plans to address excessive road traffic speeds.  

44/21/TIMP   To receive a written proposal from Cllr P Harvey that the town council commissions a public consultation exercise to gather data from residents, businesses, retailers, and tourist visitors on the future uses of Burnham High Street and surrounding shopping streets.

Cllr Harvey moved his proposal and summarised that its intention is to establish the views of all users of the town centre: visitors; residents; traders, with emphasis on data gathering in relation to the two key summer and Christmas periods.

Discussion recognised that a data gathering exercise would provide a useful insight into the views of all and potential town centre user groups, but that a scoping exercise should first be undertaken to establish what information is required to inform future decisions and assist related funding applications. It was acknowledged that the time was not right to commission any research that seeks public opinion, as responses risk reflecting heightened anxiety as people continue to adjust to the pandemic.

It was suggested that anxiety concerns might be less heightened next summer, which would therefore be a better time to conduct research.

It was resolved that the council will hold a meeting of its Regeneration Partnership during the 2021 autumn/winter season to plan how to approach a scoping exercise prior to any future research potentially being carried out in the summer 2022.  

45/21/TIMP   To receive suggested written proposals from Cllr P Harvey for control of access and vehicle speeds in Burnham town centre. 

The meeting received the written proposals and discussion considered whether there was a need for intervention and difficulties in enforcement.

Following discussion, Cllr Harvey withdrew his motion to make the High Street from College Street to Abingdon Street “access only”.

Cllr Harvey moved his second motion to introduce a 20 mph zone in the wider Burnham town centre, which was seconded by Cllr Murphy, but defeated on vote.

It was agreed to establish whether the speed indicator devices could be deployed on the streets surrounding High St.

46/21/TIMP   To receive an update on the work undertaken by the town ranger team

                        The meeting noted the report.

47/21/TIMP   To approve, in principle, that the Sedgemoor DC, using the Welcome Back Fund, will provide flags for display on the decorative poles sited along High Street and town centre locations in Burnham

The meeting heard that SDC’s aim was to encourage people to visit the town centre by installing decorative pageant style flags on the SDC owned lighting columns on the South Esplanade, and to provide colourful flags for display on poles sited on high street businesses.

It was resolved to approve the SDC provision of pennants and flags on condition that the high street flags are weighted to prevent the wind from causing the flags to wrap around the pole.

48/21/TIMP   To exclude press and public from agenda item 6.13 (min ref: 51/21/TIMP) due to confidential reasons relating to legal proceedings.

The meeting resolved to exclude press and public from the meeting due to the confidential nature of the business relating to the seafront play area. It was further agreed that discussion of the item will be moved to the end of the agenda.

Financial Reports

49/21/TIMP   To receive the income and expenditure report for June 2021.

The meeting received and approved the report. 

50/21/TIMP   Date of Next meeting

It was noted that the next meeting of this committee will be held on Monday 3th September 2021 at 7pm.

51/21/TIMP   To receive a confidential update from the town clerk on the installation of a seafront play area.

The meeting received a confidential update from the town clerk on the current position relating to the installation of the seafront play area.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 8:47pm

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