Published: 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.

The 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 introduced.

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 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 already stretched."

"Residents 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 further expanded."

"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 "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 from developers."

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

Our photos show the meeting in Highbridge on Friday night and, above, members of Highbridge Residents Association's team



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