December 4, 2015
Holiday homes to replace Apex Park's BMX track? Decision day looms

Apex Park's BMX track could be transformed into 16 holiday homes if Sedgemoor District Council gives controversial proposals the go-ahead next week.

Town councillors have formally opposed the plans to lease part of Highbridge's Apex Park to holiday firm Bourne Leisure in a 50-year deal.

But a final decision rests with Sedgemoor District Council's Executive, which is set to consider the issue at their meeting on Wednesday December 9th.

If approved, Burnham BMX Club would relocate from Apex Park to a site adjacent to the Oaktree Arena at Edithmead. The existing Apex Park ranger building would be refurbished and enlarged, pictured below, with a new café and upgraded public conveniences.

According to the results of Sedgemoor's consultation survey - which was carried out over the summer - local people are in favour of the plans.

91% of respondents supported the re-location of the BMX track. A majority of respondents, almost three quarters (73%), supported the site being leased to a third party. There was a fairly even split between those respondents who lived in Burnham/Highbridge (47%) who supported the site being leased and those who did not (53%).

In a report to the Executive, the council's Tim Mander says: "After several months of discussion and the BMX Club searching for an appropriate site where they can develop a site of Cycling Excellence, a package has been developed which, in principle, could be acceptable to the three parties."

"Should the proposal proceed then the new BMX Track has the potential to attract Regional; National and potentially International Events with the positive Economic and Tourist benefits whilst the potential expansion of the Burnham Holiday Village will also have positive benefits to the tourist industry."

But several local residents are unhappy. Brian Burt, pictured, told "We cannot let any part of Apex Park be turned into a caravan park. The district council purchased and developed Apex for the benefit of local people, therefore every square metre should be retained for future generations. More so now, considering the hundreds of homes to be constructed in Highbridge."

"Sedgemoor's proposal is to rob Apex Park of a second area which is twice the size of the existing car park. It would become a 'no go area' for 50 years, if not forever, full of more caravans."

And Highbridge councillor John Parkes has hit out at what he claims is Sedgemoor District Council's lack of consultation over the plans for the site.

"There has been a veil of secrecy - I first brought the plan to the public's attention. It was hidden deep in an agenda item in a Sedgemoor Exceutive meeting several months ago," he said.

Cllr Phil Harvey added this week: "Leasing of the site to Bourne Leisure was strongly opposed by those we canvassed in the recent Highbridge by-election - and the Conservative candidate told me he only found one person in favour, whose partner worked for Bourne Leisure!"


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