Published: February 21, 2012
Council lodges objection over plans for 550 new Highbridge homes

Town councillors have this week raised fresh objections over multi-million pound plans for 550 new homes to be built on farmland in Highbridge.

They are concerned that Hallam Land Management's plans for the Brue Farm site on the southern side of the River Brue will not provide enough community benefit to the town.

The council has lodged a formal objection to Sedgemoor District Council as it seeks funding from Hallam for the regeneration of Highbridge town centre, plus other improvements.

Town Clerk Eileen Shaw told "With the decline in local shopping facilities in Highbridge town centre, notably Market Street, and no apparent provision for a community shop on the new development, we have asked the developer whether they would be prepared to make any contribution to the regeneration of Market Street in particular."

Councillors are also seeking guarantees that additional employment, health facilities, new play equipment and better road safety facilities are provided.

"The proposed new school at the site is welcomed, since it is understood that the capacity of the new Churchfield School currently under construction on the Burnham Road already falls short of local need by some 40 places and clearly there could be a considerable number of children in Highbridge by the time 550 dwellings have been completed."

"What is not clear is whether Somerset County Council has the funding to complete, equip and staff a new school, so the Town Council feels it would not be unreasonable to ask for additional contributions to education from the developer."

The Town Council has also supported a request from Network Rail for financial contributions to improve waiting facilities, lighting, cycle storage and additional car parking at Highbridge Railway Station which would see extra passengers as a result of the new homes.

"At this stage, with no firm agreements in place on many points, the Town Council feels that it must raise an objection to this application," added Mrs Shaw.

Sedgemoor District Council identified the site in 2010 as its preferred location for housing growth in the Burnham area.


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