Plans for 171 new homes and a new primary school in Highbridge were given the go-ahead by Sedgemoor District Councillors on Tuesday (August 20th) despite safety concerns raised by parish and town councillors.
The major proposals from Barratt Homes for dozens of new homes at Brue Farm in Highbridge were given approval by district councillors at a meeting in Bridgwater on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Somerset County Council told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The intention is for a new Highbridge primary school to be built, providing a minimum of 200 spaces, meeting the demand created by the proposed Brue Farm development.”
It is the first phase of a huge development of over 400 new homes that are earmarked for the site.
The plans also include play areas and public open space, as well as a new roundabout to serve the wider Brue Farm development area, which has been allocated for new housing in the Council’s local plan.
The land for the new school will be ‘gifted’ by Barratt Homes to Somerset County Council, which will oversee the new school.
While there were no objections from the technical consultees, both Burnham and Highbridge Town Council and West Huntspill Parish Council had raised safety concerns but it was not felt by Sedgemoor that these should stop the planning application getting approval.
A Barratt Homes spokesperson told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We’re really pleased to have reached this point, having worked hard over the last year to develop these proposals.”
“We are grateful for the feedback from local residents and community stakeholders, as well as technical consultees and officers, which has all helped us to refine our plans.”
“We are excited to present our proposals, which deliver a number of significant benefits to the local area including the provision of much needed new homes, highways improvements along Huntspill Road, and land for a new primary school.”
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the local community and Sedgemoor District Council to realise these benefits in coming months.”
West Huntspill Parish Council had objected on the grounds of traffic generation and road safety. A spokesperson said: “The A38 is a very busy main A road and is particular issue at peak traffic times, such as Friday evenings from 4.30pm onwards. This worsens when there are issues on the M5 which is almost constant. As traffic bypasses the M5 onto the A38. The traffic bottlenecks at Church Street, Highbridge when inconsiderate and poor parking happens.”
“This causes traffic to back up into West Huntspill. Building an additional 171 homes in the area would increase the traffic on this main route causing congestion and road safety issues. This also raises concerns over emergency vehicles gaining access to areas when there traffic is at standstill and bottle necked. We request extensive traffic studies be completed before this application is discussed.’
Highbridge and Burnham Town Council also objected, with a spokesperson explaining: “Members objected to the outline application for the school on the grounds of road safety. The proposed access directly to / from the A38 Main Road, which is a major arterial road, is likely to lead to traffic congestion around school start and finish times, thus presenting a significant road safety issue caused by cars stopped or parked on both sides of the road when parents are dropping off / picking up children.”
“We also object on health and wellbeing grounds. The proposed location of the school is likely to suffer from reduced air quality due to its close proximity to the A38 Main Road, particularly when the A38 is very congested. This will have an adverse effect on children’s health causing asthma etc. Access via sustainable transport – considering that the catchment area for the new school is likely to include Highbridge the original proposed location on the East side of the development would be more appropriate for pedestrian and cycle access.”
“We agree with the comments of the Parks and Open Spaces Officer that development does not appear to comply with the requirements for Local Areas for Play and Local Equipped Areas for Play. However, members accepted the main application in principle as the layout and density is consistent with previously consented phases. The development appears to be complying with the parking standards but members would like to see additional provision for visitor parking.”