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Town "could lose £320k for good"
1:00pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in Somerset
A MASSIVE £320,000 fund to regenerate Burnham could be lost forever due to councillors “procrastinating”, people have been warned.
Tesco has promised the money for town centre regeneration projects, to compensate for the effects of its Burnham store expansion.
But if a clear project explaining how and where to spend the money is not in place by March, it may never materialise.
Members of Burnham Town Team vented their anger at a town council meeting on Monday that 20 regeneration ideas they put forward in July, based on a major consultation with people and businesses, have not yet been passed on as recommendations to Sedgemoor District Council, which has the final say.
Beverley Milner Simonds, from the Town Team, told the Weekly News: “If that money has not been committed by March, we won't get it.
“It's a realistic scenario that we could lose that money altogether.”
She added: “That money was agreed to alleviate the damage the Tesco store will inevitably have on the High Street and it's our strong desire that it is made available.
“However, the town council has procrastinated. As a Town Team, we are not a happy bunch.”
Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Ken Smout denied the town council had dragged its heels.
He said: “The Town Team is very enthusiastic and has come up with some good ideas, but they are raw ideas which need working through.
“We need business and feasibility studies before we can go to Sedgemoor District Council.
“It's no good, for example, us going to the district council and saying we want new street benches.
“You need to say where you want them, what you would have to do to install them and what the cost would be.”
A new town improvements committee group has been launched to discuss the Tesco money, and Cllr Smout said he hoped the town council would give the district council its recommendations within the next three months.
The next Town Team meeting is at The Ritz Social Club in Victoria Street, Burnham, next Thursday, at 6.30pm.