Published: June 16, 2012
Councillors visit site of controversial 95 new homes in Highbridge

Councillors have this week made a special visit to Highbridge to see for themselves the site where 95 controversial riverside homes are being proposed.

Members of Sedgemoor District Council's Development Control Committee, led by Chairman Bob Filmer, visited a boat yard in Clyce Road to consider the contentious request for outline planning application.

The scheme - which includes eighty five 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses, plus ten 1-bedroom flats - has resulted in scores of residents signing a petition opposed to the plans.

On Thursday, the land owners, applicants, local residents and representatives from Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council and the Town Council toured the site.

While the applicants took the opportunity to defend the proposals and outline the benefits to Highbridge of having a new riverside development, several local councillors were unimpressed.

District councillor Joe Leach told "I am disappointed that yet another four storey development is being proposed in Highbridge. People have consistently stated loudly 'no more flats' in Highbridge, and certainly not of this magnitude. I am also disappointed that there are no infrastructure improvements being proposed, such as extra funding for highways, health and education."

"Highbridge is on its knees in terms of being able to serve the people who are already here. To contribute further to this with more families without addressing the current need is simply a folly. All this has contributed to my decision to oppose this development, and I will continue to do so whilst this attitude is maintained."

And Helen Groves, who also attended the meeting as a resident, told "I was really pleased that the Development Control Committee has now visited the site and has been able to see the terrible proposed access. I am hopeful that now they have some idea of the context of the development and will understand just how inappropriate it is."

"However, I was furious to discover at the meeting that the Town Council was not provided full information about this proposal. At no point have I ever been informed that these proposals are for two, three and four storey blocks of 'domestic dwellings', these are the family homes, houses, apartments or maisonettes that I have questioned the nature of with officers of Sedgemoor time after time. It is completely out of keeping with its surrounds."

Members of Sedgemoor's Development Control Committee are expected to make a final decision about the application at their next meeting, taking into consideration the information they gathered from Thursday's site visit.

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