January 20, 2011
for new Highbridge homes get council backing
Proposals to build up to 400 new homes on fields on the outskirts
of Highbridge over the next two decades have this week been given
a lukewarm backing by the town council.
Councillors met to discuss their response to Sedgemoor District
Council's consultation on the future development of the land at
Brue Farm, south of the River Brue.
Town councillors are anxious that the development should not
consist simply of more flats, but quality family houses instead.
They want to see 250 homes rather than 400 flats.
Cllr Janet Keen told the meeting: "We want houses, not flats.
The design of the new development must also be chosen to attract
And Cllr John Morgan added: "The district council has shown
itself to have no social conscience in the past, approving flats
for single parents in Highbridge that have tarmac back and front
with no lifts or areas to store bikes and waste bins. This development
must be different."
The Brue Farm site was previously the subject of a proposed housing
allocation in the district council's former draft Local Plan but
it was removed prior to its Local Plan Inquiry held in 2001. This
was due to there being no requirement to make further greenfield
housing allocations in Sedgemoor in addition to those in South
Bridgwater to meet the area's strategic housing targets.
Farm is now considered the preferred site for future development
in Burnham and Highbridge since it provides a central location
and is easily accessible to Highbridge Railway Station and the
Town councillors are also keen that Burnham and Highbridge does
not miss out on follow-on community funding from property development.
"As a greenfield site, the community funding for Burnham
and Highbridge would be substantially higher than for other sites,"
Cllr Chris Williams told this week's meeting.
And Cllr Neville Jones added that he has been "assured"
the community funding from the developer of the site would be
ring-fenced for Burnham and Highbridge.
"There would be very loud screams from me if one penny left
these towns," he warned.
Other sites considered for future development are land at Alstone
in Highbridge, land north of the former radio station in Burnham,
land east of Love Lane in Burnham and land north of Stoddens Road
in Burnham. However, the Brue Farm site is now the clear front-runner
following this week's meeting.
The Town Council's feedback will be fed into Sedgemoor's Core
Strategy document and a separate planning application will be
needed to take the plans forward.
The Core Strategy document sets out a 20 year vision for the
district and covers the spatial strategy and policies, including
the key infrastructure and investment decisions, required to deliver