Town councillors have this week objected against plans to create three new buildings containing 16 small business units on a green field site on the outskirts of Highbridge, saying it is an ‘over development’.
Waterford Park South West Ltd has submitted plans for the new commercial development, located next to Isleport Lane, and accessed from nearby Gass Close.
At a meeting on Wednesday (January 26th), members of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council’s Planning Committee raised concerns over the scale of the proposals in a rural setting.
Cllr Bill Hancock said: “This would be a massive development alongside Isleport Lane – it would be over the top in a rural area. It would bring new employment which is a good thing but the height is overbearing and would be a concern for residents living next to the site.”
Cllr Louise Parkin added: “The expansion of Isleport and this area of Highbridge is absolutely phenomenal for employment, the town and general prosperity, it is absolutely brilliant. These proposed units are small units for start-up businesses which would be really good for the parish.”
She added: “However, Isleport Lane is a tiny little road – a small, quiet road and this proposed building next to the road would be just massive. I wonder if it would be possible and viable to make the unit closest to the road slightly smaller – it would overshadow the land quite considerably and alter the fabric of the lane.”
Cllr Julie Flury added: “I have been looking at it from an ecological point of view and agree with the other concillors. I think the buildings are a little too big and are very close to the boundary. That may disturb hedgerows and lots of different important species. The ecological points need to be taken into consideration.”
Cllr Peter Clayton added: “I don’t have any massive opinion on it – it looks OK to me, it is expanding in that area, but it is unfortunate for the little cottage next to the site.”
Cllr Andy Brewer, committee chairman, said: “It is really encouraging to see the further development of the Isleport estate and whilst this is currently a field, it is a green field site between parts of the industrial estate, albeit with a residential property to the south.”
“It does seem to be a fairly dense development, but there is a proposal for bunding and the planting of native trees and it looks like a fairly comprehensive environmental study has been done. However, it is a fairly large, dominant building close to Isleport Lane.”
He added: “Whilst I think it is great that we have someone prepared to invest in 16 new small business units, and I am sure there is a need for it, I am concerned that this is potenitially an over-development. I would rather see more green space left at the site for welfare purposes and the benefit of the environment.”
Councillors agreed to object against the application on the grounds of “over-development” because of the eastern building’s closeness to Isleport Lane, which they feel would be “overbearing.” They would also like to see more green space included. Councillors noted, though, that they do support the principal of development at the site in general.
A final decision on the planning application now rests with Sedgemoor District Council.