November 3, 2015
Flooding and traffic concerns raised over huge Burnham homes plan

Fears about a lack of infrastructure and flooding were expressed by residents from Burnham and Highbridge when proposals for thousands of new homes were debated by town councillors on Monday night (November 2nd). first revealed last week how thousands of new homes could be built at five sites in Burnham-On-Sea under plans unveiled for the future development of the town.

Sedgemoor District Council's updated Local Plan, known as its Core Strategy, has been launched for public consultation - and names the locations in Burnham and Highbridge where some of the 12,300 new homes needed across the district by the year 2032 could go.

At Monday's meeting, Cllr Louise Parkin said: "I can't see how this can go ahead when we can hardly manage at the moment - the infrastructure here is already over-subscribed. It's ridiculous when some people have a one-month wait to see a doctor." Cllr John Parkes agreed, saying many services are "busting at the seams".

Cllr Bill Hancock added: "The biggest concern for me is transport - getting in and out of Burnham and Highbridge is already a problem at busy times, and it will be 20 times worse if these plans go ahead." He said a new road between Burnham and Brean is essential.

Cllr Paul Young also expressed concerns about traffic in the area if the plans for thousands of new homes go ahead. "I was almost knocked off my bike twice while cycling along Berrow Road last week due to wide caravans and it can only be time before we see a fatal accident," he said, warning that more traffic would raise the risk.

Local resident Tony Lynham expressed concerns about properties being built on low-lying land that is vulnerable to flooding. "There are already hundreds of new homes in the pipeline for the flood plains here and more to come."

"A recent stormy high tide in Burnham saw the sea just inches from coming over our sea wall - flooding is a real possibility, particularly with rising sea levels," he warned. "One big storm and a flood would see insurance premiums soaring."

And Cllr Roger Keen also voiced his concerns about important ditches and rhynes being altered in and around Highbridgre by the new housing plans, raising the flood risk. "A lot of care has to be taken to take away water when needed," he said. "Those water courses are very important."

The plans were defended by Nick Tait, Sedgemoor Planning Policy Manager, and Andy Reading (pictured top) who is Senior Planning Policy Officer.

The council's plan outlines potential new development across Sedgemoor right up to the year 2032 - and to help gather this valuable feedback from the public, the Council has produced a consultation document and is inviting comments.

Sedgemoor's Planning Officers have arranged a series of events, exhibitions and presentations where they can talk through the policies and listen to people’s views. The consultation is the first stage in a long prescribed process, which will end in June 2017.

The consultation period started on October 26th and runs until December 18th, after which the Local Plan will be re-drafted incorporating the changes and put out for further consultation next summer. It will then be subject to examination by planning inspectors.

The consultation document, initial Sustainability Appraisal Report and other relevant supporting documents can be found online on the Council’s website here or at the Sedgemoor District Council Offices, Bridgwater House, Kings Square, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR Monday to Friday - 9:00am to 5.00pm. For further information, contact the Planning Policy team on 01278 435544 or by email at


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