Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Town Council has this week revealed it is considering moving its Council Chambers into the town centre. 

At a meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee on Monday evening (July 1st), councillors agreed to investigate the proposals to sell off their current Jaycroft Road premises, pictured below, and move into the former Adult Learning Centre in Princess Street, pictured above, alongside other public services.

While the plans are still at an early stage, if they do go ahead it would mean that the Town Council would be located in the heart of the town centre, next to Burnham’s Library and Princess Theatre. Other public services, such as Burnham-On-Sea Police and the Registrar, would be encouraged to move into the Adult Learning Centre along with them.

Town councillors have given their backing to the plans this week, saying they would save public money and make local public services more accessible in the town centre.

Sam Winter, the Town Council’s Clerk, said that she and Cllr Peter Clayton have already held “early initial discussions” on the plans with Somerset County Council, which owns the former Adult Learning Centre building.

Cllr Peter Clayton said: “A move to there is definitely an option – there’s plenty of space, a good number of rooms, plenty of parking, and it could be big enough for the Police too. It’s an historic building – it was previously the former Princess Street School, and I’m all for progressing it.”

Cllr Phil Harvey agreed: “I’ve been harping on about this move for 5-6 years. It would enable us to have a cluster of public services next to the library that would be a great asset to the community.”

The Town Clerk stressed that “discussions will be held with the Fairstart Nursery – there are absolutely no plans to move the nursery out of the building, which is a valued facility there.”

Cllr Harvey added that the plans could also “help us pursue the concept of a new town square – it would provide a northern focus for the town centre.”

Cllr Nick Tolley also gave his support to the plan: “I’m absolutely fully in favour of this to get the Town Council closer to the public in the town centre. Our current building [in Jaycroft Road] is difficult to find – it’s part of a mystery tour for some in Burnham.”

Cllr Richard Gardner-White agreed, saying: “I this is good for the town, a place where people can come together as we don’t have a central place at the moment.”

A working party is to be formed to investigate the proposals further, comprising of town councillors Mike Facey, Mike Murphy, Nick Tolley, Phil Harvey and Peter Clayton.

They will hold discussions with Somerset County Council and then report back to the Finance and Resources Committee later in the year before a final decision is taken by the full town council on the move. Burnham-On-Sea.com

Burnham’s adult learning centre has been vacant since it closed down for the final time in December 2017 due to funding cuts.