councillors vote against 168 new Lakeside and Walrow homes
councillors have strongly objected against two separate housing
schemes that would see 168 new homes built in the 'last green lung'
a meeting of the Town Council's Planning Applications Committee
on Monday night (September 17th), councillors voted unanimously
against the two plans for 121 new homes on a publicly-owned field
next to Lakeside in Highbridge and 47 new homes on private land
next to Walrow.
two controversial applications have attracted large numbers of objections
from local residents, including 114 letters of objection against
the Walrow development and 94 against the Lakeside plans.
considered those letters and also listened to the concerns of several
speakers - including campaigning resident Linda Greenland, Highbridge
district council Roger Keen, and Highbridge Chamber of Trade Chairman
Greenland, above, said "residents strongly object
to the last green lung of Highbridge being lost," adding that
"public open space must not be used for development."
She explained that the planned homes would be out of keeping, create
dangerous traffic concerns on the busy A38 junction at Lakeside,
adversely impact wildlife and create flooding issues.
Roger Keen, below, added that he's objecting against
the Lakeside plans for reasons of transport, flood risk and ecology.
He added:"The Environment Agency has in the absence of an acceptable
Flood Risk Assessment objected and recommended refusal. They do
not agree that the site can be considered as Flood Zone 2."
Keen also questioned the proposed use of so-called 'S106' public
funding to create new outdoor facilities at the planned Lakeside
site. "Even though the stated use is what is in the agreement,
I do not agree that public funds should be handed over to a private
developer merely to make the development more viable and line the
pockets of shareholders," he said.
Murphy, below, added that he's "very concerned"
about traffic flows around the proposed Lakeside site and the impact
that extra traffic would have on roads. He went on to talk about
acoustic fencing needs, restricted access to rhynes for removing
vegetation and silt, and concerns that extra people would want to
use the rail crossing to reach Asda.
Andy Brewer, Chairman of the Town Council's Planning Applications
Committee, told Monday's meeting that he's taken the Lakeside application
"very seriously" and had looked at every objection from
residents. He said the key objections are around the impact to wildlife,
insufficient flood mitigation, loss of public open space, safety
on the rail crossing, highways access, the condition of the connecting
road to the A38.
Peter Clayton said: "My main concern is the access road
to the site - it is very narrow and would be totally unacceptable.
Having at least 121 vehicles would be just ridiculous." He
added that the Lakeside homes would be an "over-development"
and that the the loss of open space is "very important."
Louise Parkin, below, also voiced her concern about the
Lakeside plans, saying that she's would want an assurance that the
current lakes would not be infilled at all, and she added that she
is worried about the closeness of the proposed kids play area to
the rhyne. The loss of public open space is also a concern for her.
Nick Tolley added: "The total loss of green areas like
this is a real danger to Highbridge's future - I would like to stand
up and say 'let's keep this last bit of green public land'. The
land was designated as public green space and it should stay. It's
needed for wildlife and children just wanting to kick a ball about."
Phil Harvey, who was unable to attend Monday's meeting as he
is at this week's Lib Dem conference, said of the Lakeside plans:
"The public open space involved in this application is an area
of accessible natural green space which is important to the locality.
Although presently under-used - as access has been deliberately
restricted - there is potential to bring it into wider use. The
area is deficient in this type of green space. There are no over-riding
reasons why policies designed to protect it should be over-ruled."
voted unanimously to object against the Lakeside plans, but the
final decisions rests with Sedgemoor District Council.
councillors also voted unanimously to object against the separate
Walrow housing application for the reasons below.
Murphy said that traffic is a bit concern along the Walrow.
"Three weekend ago I was driving along the Walrow at a slow
speed when a car tore round the bend and smashed into my car. I
was fine, but a resident told me it had been the ninth accident
this year, showing how dangerous this road already is."
Roger Keen said: "When Walrow was first built the only
vehicular traffic was the horse and cart. Today it is dangerously
unsuitable for heavy HGV traffic. The railway bridge has a 3T weight
limit so all site traffic would only be able to gain access via
Walrow. There is also another bridge at the industrial estate end
that was designated weak, but as the railway bridge already had
a weight limit on it and no heavy traffic would be going over it,
nothing was done at the time. We are still waiting for the county
surveyor to report on this." Ecology and flooding were two
of his other key concerns.
was a key concern for Cllr Louise Parkin, saying the extra
vehicles from the planned Walrow housing would be "an accident
waiting to happen on what is already a busy, narrow road."
Peter Clayton said of the Walrow plans: "The plans look
awful - it would very much be an over-development that would also
bring an increased risk of flooding, and would be detrimental to
wildlife." reported Burnham-On-Sea.com
Cllr Nick Tolley, above, said he "strongly objects"
to the Walrow plans on the basis of traffic concerns, which was
echoed by Cllr Martin Cox, above right.
Andy Brewer explained that the Walrow plans would require a
"huge contribution towards a new school given the location
and size of the site. It would be in the order of £300,000."
He added that there are "some positive points to this application
as the homes would be low energy and sustainable but the negatives
outweigh those points due to the road safety, flood risks and wildlife
councillors voted unanimously to object against the Lakeside and
Walrow plans, the final decisions will sit with Sedgemoor District
to the votes afterwards, Linda Greenland told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"I'm really, really pleased - it's great that the town council
has objected. We are a step closer to getting the plans rejected."
Walrow land earmarked for 47 homes that was considered on Monday