November 13, 2010
Highbridge residents flock to housing 'crisis meeting'
Over 40 residents attended a 'crisis meeting' in Highbridge
on Friday evening (November 12th) to air their views about Sedgemoor
District Council's controversial plans to bring hundreds of new
homes to the town over the next two decades.
meeting at Morland Community Hall, organised by Highbridge Residents
Association, was called amid concern that the council's new Local
Development Framework policy indicates large numbers of homes
will be built in Highbridge over the next 20 years without new
facilities, such as doctors, shops, schools and play areas, being
Sedgemoor's Regeneration Policy Team Leader, Nick Tait, gave
a presentation that attempted to allay the fears by outlining
how only a small number of properties - less than 800 - are earmarked
for the town and that new facilities are part of the plans.
Kim Chatwin, Chairman of the residents' association, told Burnham-On-Sea.com
after the meeting: "The evening went well - many residents
were completely unaware of the development plans, so it was good
to raise the profile of the proposals."
"But there is still lots of concern about whether the infrastructure
required to support the homes will be provided - particularly
schools and medical services - given that Churchfield Primary
has just four places free and that Highbridge Medical Centre is
made it clear to the Sedgemoor team that we don't want more flats
in Highbridge and that the retail business sector needs to be
"Many of us there were few straight answers from Sedgemoor,
but Mr Tait say a further meeting would be held during the next
stage of the consultation about the framework when detailed plans
and maps will be available."
Highbridge councillor Joe Leach told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It
was a good meeting, but several concerns still exist. I am particularly
concerned that many of the new homes proposed for Highbridge over
the next few years are on brownfield sites, rather than greenfield
sites, which do not generate the same level of community funding
Sedgemoor's Local Development Framework sets out the policies
that will guide development in the Burnham and Highbridge area
up until 2026. The strategy outlines plans to deliver town centre
improvements, additional brownfield growth, and extra jobs.
The Draft Core Strategy is available for comment until 22nd November
and can be found at www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/ldf.
Our photos show the meeting in Highbridge on Friday night
and, above, members of Highbridge Residents Association's team