The Neighbourhood Plan written by Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge residents that will be voted on this Thursday (September 20th) includes extra protection for some of the towns’ best-loved green areas.
Along with other environmentally-sound policies and those touching on better housing and supporting businesses and employment, under the plan, important open areas will be designated as ‘local green spaces’.
Chair of the group of residents who drew up the Plan and spokesperson for Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Town Council, Councillor Phil Harvey, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Our community-driven Plan includes securing the future of our two towns’ most important open spaces and saving them from inappropriate development, which we know is something locals feel strongly about.”
“This will mean extra protection for Apex Park, Burnham Road playing fields and Southwell Gardens in Highbridge and Marine Cove, Manor Gardens, Crosses Pen and South Esplanade Lawns in Burnham, so they can be used and enjoyed, as they should be, for generations to come.”
“The Plan will be good for businesses and employment too by supporting the retention of retail and work opportunities in Highbridge town centre. There’s backing as well for ‘green’ policies in the new Isleport Business Park and with any new housing being built. For example, there is encouragement for the provision of points for charging electric cars.”
The Plan is also designed to give residents some control over their town centres and a say on the look of new buildings and homes.
To add to this, it will allow them to influence what infrastructure should be provided and Sedgemoor District Council would be obliged to use the Plan when determining future planning applications for both towns.
Cllr Harvey added: “We want to make sure our towns’ best bits are conserved and preserved and that we protect the aspects of our natural and built environment that are brilliant already.”
“If more than 50% of residents’ vote ‘yes’ to the Plan it will give us the collective clout to create the sort of place we all want to live in and develop an environment that not only deals with protecting green spaces. but also allows businesses to grow and provides suitable homes and work for locals.”
“If the majority vote ‘no’ in the referendum, however, then we won’t be allowed to adopt the Plan and only Sedgemoor policies will apply, as they currently do now.”
In Burnham, the Plan covers, in any redevelopment proposed, the retention of the best aspects of the High Street area and provides details on possibilities for establishing a ‘Town Square’ in Princess Street. There are also strategies to ensure that, in any redevelopment of Pier Street car park, the whole car park is covered by a comprehensive over-arching scheme.
Cllr Harvey continued: “Our Neighbourhood Plan also aims to ensure that new housing is built to high design standards with priority given to pedestrians and cyclists, and the creation of networks of streets, paths and accesses, which are pleasant and safe to use. In addition, flood mitigation measures would be put in place to protect new homes and businesses.”
“It’s very important we all have our say on the future of our two towns and how they are shaped and grow. Be sure your voice is heard by voting in the referendum next Thursday and I’d urge anyone who is still unsure of what the Plan includes to take a look at it this week online via here or at the Town Council offices, Burnham Library, Highbridge Library, Highbridge Community Hall, BiARS and the Community Centre in Berrow Road.”
The referendum to decide whether the proposed Neighbourhood Plan should be adopted as part of the planning policy in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge takes place on Thursday, September 20.
Once voting closes, the count will commence on Thursday, September 20 in Highbridge Community Hall at approximately 10.30pm/10.45pm and a result is expected at around midnight. Burnham-On-Sea.com will have full results.
For further information about the Neighbourhood Plan, please call 01278 238168, visit www.burnhamandhighbridgeneighbourhoodplan.org or log on to https://www.facebook.com/NeighbourhoodPlanBOS/
Pictured: Top, Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Bill Hancock and Alistair Gordon, Chairman of Burnham Without Parish Council. Botth are pictured at Apex Park, which if residents vote to adopt the proposed Neighbourhood Plan will have extra protection from inappropriate development