February 21, 2017
Highbridge 'needs new school and GP surgery before 400 new homes'

Concerned town councillors turned down proposals for 400 new homes in Highbridge last night (Monday) amid fresh fears about a lack of new schools and medical centres to support the population growth.

The council's Planning Applications Committee unanimously voted against the proposals for a new 400-home development to the east of Isleport Lane that is part of Sedgemoor's Local Plan, first reported here by

Cllr John Parkes told the meeting: "Highbridge is fast becoming the 'new housing capital of the south west'. Here we go again considering more dwellings without extra facilities. It's getting past a joke."

"The town is already bursting at the seams. We don't want more homes. There are considerable demands being placed on the infrastructure of Highbridge - on traffic, schooling and medical facilities."

Clklr Louise Parkin added: "It's a problem in Burnham too - some people have to wait two weeks for medical appointments here already."

"And with Churchfield at full capacity, what do they propose to do with all the extra children - bus them to school in Taunton?"

Committee chairman Cllr Andy Brewer said: "It's not sustainable - this level of development is just too much in this location."

But Cllr Peter Burridge Clayton added: "It's worth noting that even if we did get a new medical centre, getting doctors is very difficult and nurses almost impossible - even if we were to get a building in the long term."

Cllr Parkin also voiced concerns about traffic numbers at the site, with vehicles having to use an "already exceedingly busy, fast-moving junction".

Councillors also noted that the proposed site is located very close to the motorway. Cllr Parkes added: "This isn't a great site for housing - Sedgemoor will have to do a lot of work on noise measures, it's so close to the M5."

Cllr Brewer agreed: "Some sort of a bund would be needed - Sedgemoor are aware that noise reduction measures would be needed."

During Monday's meeting, councillors noted that a new school and medical centre are planned to be built in the later stages of the Brue Farm development.

Cllr Bill Hancock said: "Once we have a new school and medical centre in situ at Brue Farm then we might reconsider further homes, but until then it's not feasible."

Despite the Town Council committee's objection against the scheme, the final decision rests with Sedgemoor District Council.


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