£6million housing scheme unveiled for Highbridge estate
plans to build a major new £6million housing development
in Highbridge and demolish an industrial estate and a community
hall have this week sparked concerns from businesses and residents.
consultation letter from Sedgemoor District Council has been distributed
to dozens of residents living around Morland Industrial Estate
and Pearce Drive, where developer Henglade and agents Property
Link want to build up to 50 new houses and a 90 bed nursing home.
the proposals, the Morland Industrial Park and Morland Community
Hall and Youth Club would be demolished and a new community hall
facility would be built elsewhere.
the consultation letter, Duncan Harvey, Sedgemoor's Affordable
Housing Policy and Development Manager, says: "The proposals
would see the existing industrial estate; block garages and community
halls pulled down and replaced with 40-50 new houses, a nursing
home creating 100 new jobs and a new community facility."
adds: "The total investment needed would exceed six million
pounds. Given the delicate nature of the global economy and the
shortage of public sector money to support this type of proposal,
the Council would like encourage such investment into Highbridge
it were to go ahead, Sedgemoor District Council would have to
sell off twenty-one garages and two community run buildings next
to Pearce Drive. The Morland Industrial Estate is in private ownership
and a separate deal would have to be reached between the developer
and the owner.
lack of detail about the project has raised fears about the future
of the groups based at Morland Hall.
Community Partnership's Richard Matthews, pictured right,
who manages the hall, says he welcomed the proposals for a new
community centre but is concerned that the developer would only
provide "an empty shell" with no inside facilities and
there is no indication when this would be provided, potentially
leaving users without facilities.
to Burnham-On-Sea.com on Tuesday, he said: "SDC is considering
a proposal to sell this long standing community-used land to a
developer, with the view included in the proposal that a new so
called Community Hall 'shell' be provided in the scheme, but it
is the opinion after careful consideration of my supporters that
due to the current level of information provided by both the developer,
his agent and SDC officers we are unable to find favour in the
majority of aspects of this plan for a number of development,
operational, logistic relocation and financial reasons."
consider that we are best placed to provide a leading role and
be treated as an asset to the future of community life in Highbridge
and not thought like a hindrance in a grand plan, which has not
been very well thought out. With our small band of dedicated volunteers
we have set up a dynamic organisation which can advise and make
its contribution to a 'joined up; strategy instead of short-term
of my committee, the trustees, Councillor John Woodman, Highbridge
Community Youth Club, the Police, Mendip and Sedgemoor Community
Partnership and the old Morland Residents Association, plus many
service users of the hall support me in this view."
Matthews demanded: "Before any irrevocable decisions are
made Sedgemoor Community Partnership and Highbridge Community
Youth Club must have concrete assurances that Sedgemoor Community
Partnership is not disadvantaged in any way, our lease is renewed,
a suitable building is erected and fitted in Phase 1, that SDC
will agree its use as a community building for an agreed time,
that SDC will make every effort to ensure the plans are genuine
and that a contract between the developer and the care home provider
is actually in place for the erection of the care home."
Matthews added: "Sedgemoor Community Partnership started
life originally as the SAHP (Sedgemoor Association of Handicapped
People) and the building was dedicated to the local community
by the late town councillor Jim Pearce, who died in 2009."
Hall has been socially active on this site in Highbridge for the
past 25 years, providing assistance to needy sections of the community
but it is only in these past two years that it has seen the need
to improve the mainstream services for this deprived ward."
added that the groups that use the hall on a regular basis include
Highbridge Community Youth Club, Dog Training club, Dancing classes,
Family Connections projects, Highbridge Dreamscheme, Local Action
Team, Homes in Sedgemoor and Slimming World.
residents and local businesses have until Friday 12th March to
contact Mr Harvey at Sedgemoor District Council regarding the
proposals. Mr Harvey said: "No firm decision has been taken
to progress with any redevelopment on these parcels of land. Before
the Council can make any commitment to any proposal, I feel it
is important to listen to local people and other people potentially
affected by a future area regeneration proposal."
REACTION TO THE £6m DEVELOPMENT SCHEME:
County Councillor Cllr John Woodman told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"I want to see the full proposals before giving my verdict.
My concern is that the Morland Community Hall is under threat.
It is a great asset and I am very concerned that we would lose
it. I am also concerned about where the businesses on the industrial
estate would re-locate to."
spokesman from Highbridge Community Youth Club told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"The Morland Youth Hall has thrived in the last four years.
It now hosts the Highbridge Dreamscheme, the LAT and local art
groups and has become the youth hub of Highbridge. It is a provision
used by over 200 young people in well established and successful
projects, which are of great benefit to the community. The users
of the hall have concerns with the development proposals and feel
the facility offered by the developers would not meet the needs
of the young people and that this may force the closure of these
Council clerk Eileen Shaw added that town councillors will
be discussing the proposals at their March meeting in two weeks
time. "Until that meeting, the council does not have a formal
position on the plans," she told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
your view on the proposals? Contact