29th June 2020 Extraordinary Town Improvements Minutes

Minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on Thursday 29th June 2020 at 7pm using video conferencing

Present: Cllr Nick Tolley (Chairman), Cllrs Janet Keen, Chris Allen, Dawn Carey, Peter Clayton, Phil Harvey, Andy Hodge, Mike Murphy, and Mike Facey (ex-officio) with Sam Winter (Town Clerk), and Lorna Williams (Deputy Clerk) in attendance.

One representative of the press, one member of the public and six non-committee councillor members were in attendance.

37/20/TIMP   Apologies

                        Cllrs Sue Barber

38/20/TIMP    Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted

                        None

                        Motions for note/resolution

39/20/TIMP    To resolve the Town Council’s position in response to any further Somerset County Council Traffic Order extending the pedestrianisation and one-way road systems in Burnham town centre beyond the current emergency Traffic Order (expires on 8th July 2020).

The meeting heard extensive debate on the appropriateness of the High Street road safety measures and it was noted that mixed feelings had been expressed, both in favour and against the measures.

The meeting was confident that the council had worked swiftly with others to react to Government guidance to help safeguard people by enabling them to apply social distancing in the High Street area. However, concerns were expressed that, as the Govt. requirements for social distancing reduce, the continuation of road safety measures might hinder the economic recovery of High Street businesses. The Chairman invited the Chamber of Trade representative to address the meeting and heard that three chamber meetings had been held and the majority of traders in the High Street are against the pedestrianisation. It was further stated that most had reported a reduction in trade, whilst a small number of shops had seen increases in trade. The chamber held that the safety of shoppers should remain the priority, noting that elderly shoppers are still nervous. The chamber is working with businesses to implement safety measures to boost the confidence of visitors using town centre businesses.

The discussion considered the current and potential increased levels of footfall from visitors to the town during the tourist season and considered the wider Springboard data on current shopping habits, along with the need for appropriate safety measures.

It was suggested that the council should take more time to assess the impacts of the pedestrianisation and that councillors will seek out further comments from business owners and the public.   

It was proposed by Cllr Clayton, seconded by Cllr Hodge and resolved that Somerset County Council will be asked to extend the pedestrianisation and associated road systems in Burnham-on-Sea High Street until July 15th to allow the councillors to gather data and revisit the matter at the scheduled committee meeting on 13th July 2020.

(The committee chairman noted that he was willing to call an extraordinary meeting in the meantime should it be required).

40/20/TIMP    The next ordinary meeting of this committee will be held on Monday 13th July 2020 at 7pm.                    

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