A multi-million pound project to build 550 homes and a new school on the outskirts of Highbridge has been given a mammoth boost this week with £4.3m of government funding.
The 64-acre Brue Farm development on the south side of Highbridge will include a new 210-pupil school plus outdoor playing facilities and public spaces plus the construction of up to 550 homes.
The funding was announced on Monday by the Government as part of a £36 million Local Growth Fund package for businesses and councils across Somerset intended to stimulate new jobs and investment.
Phil Adams, Economic Development Manager at Sedgemoor District Council, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “This is great news for Highbridge – it enables this major development to go ahead, bringing new investment into the area. The project will lead to a brand new school, hundreds of new homes and open space being unlocked.”
Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Martin Cox told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It’s excellent that Highbridge will get a share of the funding for this development, which will hopefully create new jobs locally and new investment. After last week’s terrible news that Highbridge’s Woodberry and Haines has gone into administration this is welcome news.”
The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) secured £130.3m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund for the whole region. Somerset will receive £18.67m for 2015/16, with a further £5.44m proposed for 2016/17 and £11.9m for 2020/21.
Cllr David Hall, Cabinet Member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy at Somerset County Council and LEP Board Member for Somerset, said: “This is fantastic news for the region and for Somerset. Millions of pounds will be directly invested in our county over the next two financial years leading to more jobs, a better skilled workforce, economic growth, new housing developments, flood prevention and improved roads and infrastructure.”
“Additional money has also been set aside to fund key Somerset projects up to 2020/21. We’ve campaigned hard for these Local Growth Funds working with The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and it’s paid off.”
Outline planning permission for the Brue Farm site, pictured below, was granted by Sedgemoor District Council in 2012. The developers have been waiting for funding before being able to start the huge development project. Further developer funding will also be earmarked to the scheme.
The Government announced around £200 million pounds on Monday for businesses and councils across the West. The so-called ‘growth deals’ are intended to trigger other investment in transport, training and hi-tech industries.
However, the Local Growth Fund announcement was not given a thumbs-up by Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP, who said: “The government’s announcement falls far short of Labour’s plans, with only a small fraction of the £30bn being devolved, no decentralization of powers over skills, infrastructure and employment and no proposals for City Regions to benefit from increased business rates revenue.”