Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 22nd March 2021 at 7pm via video conferencing.
Present: Cllr Andy Hodge (Chairman), Cllrs Janet Keen, Chris Allen, Sue Barber, Dawn Carey, Peter Clayton, Phil Harvey, Mike Murphy, Nick Tolley, Mike Facey with Sam Winter (Town Clerk) and Lorna Williams (Deputy Clerk) in attendance.
Seven members of the public and one member of the press was present.
The chairman of the Burnham Chamber of Trade addressed the meeting regarding the chamber’s concerns at the prospect of the formation of a town team with local retailers and laid down conditions to be met before the Chamber would become involved.
11/21/TIMP Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted
Cllr Tolley declared an interest on item 14/21/TIMP due to his ownership of a town centre business.
Opinion was expressed on the interests held by fellow councillors, but no further declarations were made.
12/21/TIMP Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the Town Improvements Committee meeting held on 11th January 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
13/21/TIMP Action List
The Action List was noted
Motions for note/resolution
Cllr Tolley left the meeting
14/21/TIMP To receive a request from the Burnham Retailers’ Group that the council joins with it to create a Burnham-on-Sea ‘town team’ with the aim of inclusive decision making on matters that affect businesses in the town centre.
The chairman invited a representative from the group of retailers to address the meeting and heard how lone retailers had come together to support each other during the lockdown periods and who subsequently believed a ‘town team’ could harness skills and enhance communication between retailers and other bodies to positively improve the town centre retail, facilities and activities.
To meeting explored both support and concerns at the formation of a town team with reference to previous failed attempts and historical disputes. The prospect of multiple groups representing business interest as opposed to a single representative body; the chamber of trade, was identified as a specific concern but discussion noted that the retailer’s group should be given the opportunity to make its voice heard through collaborative working.
A proposal was received from Cllr Clayton, seconded and resolved that the committee supports the retail group, and its request in principle, and asks the town clerk to adapt the Bridgwater Town Team terms of reference to reflect what can happen in Burnham, and to circulate the ToR to the town council, the chamber of trade and Sedgemoor district council (Economic Development) with a recommendation that the town council agrees to administer the town team’s finances, if successfully formed.
Cllr Tolley re-joined the meeting
15/21/TIMP To receive and consider options for improved 2021 Christmas lights installations in both towns.
The meeting considered a report on possible options for the provision of Christmas lights across both town centres for 2021. The chairman referred the meeting to the council’s aim in providing a Christmas lighting display to set a festive street scene for the benefit of residents, traders and visitors, and although the council welcomes and is grateful for the help of local property owners, it is unable to guarantee to supply a Christmas light to any specific business. It was reiterated that the council instructs a competent contractor to undertake the technical light installations and the contractor must be permitted to do so without interference so that it meet its duties and liabilities.
It was resolved that subject to necessary permissions, power connections will be added to street lights on Church Street, Highbridge, for the display of lighting boas (instead of wall mounted small trees) and that the 2021 Christmas lights costs will be increased by c.£3,180 to:
- provide additional tree lights at Jubilee Gardens, Highbridge
- extend the display to the YMCA building, Highbridge
- provide lights to trees at Wade House, Highbridge
- provide icicle lights to the Princess Theatre, Burnham-on-Sea
16/21/TIMP To consider whether to recommend to the full council that it enters into partnership agreement with Seed, via a Memorandum of Understanding, to assist on projects planned for delivery in Highbridge, with identification of potential budgets from which funding might be taken.
The meeting considered the MOU and resolved to recommend to the full council that it enters into partnership agreement with Seed and offers a financial contribution of £1500 towards activities.
17/21/TIMP To hear from Cllr Murphy about an existing heritage information sign in Highbridge and to agree its relocation (subject to permissions and costs).
The meeting received an update from Cllr Murphy that although a suitable location for the information sign had not been found, he had obtained agreement from a contractor to install it free of charge. Cllr Murphy will continue to seek out a suitable location for the sign.
Cllr Tolley left the meeting
18/21/TIMP To hear from Cllr Allen about the Woodland Trust tree planting initiative in Burnham-on-Sea.
The meeting heard from Cllr Allen who reported that SDC will replace the felled diseased Ash trees in the open space behind Finches Way, Burnham, with mixed native and orchard trees. The planting had been delayed due to Covid related staff redeployment, but is scheduled to take place in the next appropriate planting season
19/21/TIMP To note that the Town Council will be flying a flag on all of its flagpoles for a week from 7th May in celebration of Somerset Day, which falls on Tuesday 11th May 2021
The meeting noted the item.
20/21/TIMP To note that the railway signal located on Old Station Approach will undergo significant repair this Spring.
The meeting noted the item.
21/21/TIMP To note the draft minutes of the Seafront sub-committee held 8th February 2021 and receive any further update on works
The meeting noted the draft minutes and received an update from the clerk:
Designers at EDF are preparing, for Environment Agency approval, the HPC sign in the same style as the information boards already in place on the seawall.
Benches and bins with gull flaps have been ordered and will be installed on the seafront by SDC, those within the play area are ordered and will be installed by Wicksteed in April/May.
Funding allows the SDC/SCC owned black lampposts to be repainted and testing is being undertaken to ascertain the condition of the posts. The meeting heard that, prior to making any application to the CIM board to reallocate budgets, feasibility advice on the type and style of any decorative seafront lighting should be sought from a qualified lighting specialist to ensure that lights could be attached safely in the exposed seafront location.
The costs for the coach shelter element are significantly higher than the funds allocated under the BE budget. Therefore, to give cllrs an insight to the coach tourism industry, an experienced representative has been invited to speak informally with the sub-committee, which in turn will make any recommendations on the project to the Town Improvements Committee.
22/21/TIMP To receive a request from the Princess Management Committee that consideration is given to commissioning a Poetry Pin event at a cost of £2500 from the 21/22 Events budget.
The meeting considered the request and agreed that the cost was a considerable amount of money for an event that residents may not support or want. A proposal was not made in support of this event and it was noted that more engagement was needed to establish the sort of town events residents would value.
23/21/TIMP To note the Project Coordinator’s progress report sent to the CIM board and that a second payment of £100k has now been received.
The meeting noted the item. .
24/21/TIMP To agree to join and receive a High Streets Task Force Footfall Dashboard, and to agree to agree two other organisations from the local area to invite to receive access.
The meeting resolved to agree to join and receive a High Streets Task Force Footfall Dashboard and agreed to invite the Burnham Chamber of Trade and SDC to receive access.
25/21/TIMP To note the most recent monthly footfall data
The meeting noted the item and the negative impact Covid-19 has on high street footfall.
26/21/TIMP To consider a proposal from Cllr Keen that the committee supplies 2 post mounted litter bins in the Walrow area of Highbridge.
The meeting resolved to provide the two new litter bins.
The deputy clerk updated the meeting to say that grounds staff have collected a volume of rubbish from the area of the railway bridge in Highbridge and that the property owner and local supermarket have been written to for assistance in maintaining the area.
A further proposal was received, seconded and resolved to provide a new litter bin on the Winchester Road school route at either Palmers Close or Wedmore Close, Burnham, to be determined with SDC.
27/21/TIMP Financial Report
The income and expenditure report for February 2021 was received and noted.
28/21/TIMP Date of Next meeting
It was noted that the next meeting of this committee will be held on Monday 17th May 2021 at 7pm.