Highbridge “is being over-developed to the hilt” with new homes, one town councillor warned last night (Monday) as proposals for hundreds of new homes were debated.
During last night’s meeting, Cllr John Parkes asked for justification from Sedgemoor District Council on why 670 new homes are being earmarked for two locations in Highbridge in its new 15-Year Local Plan.
As first reported here by Burnham-On-Sea.com last week, Sedgemoor’s Local Plan identifies potential new housing sites across the area up to the year 2032.
400 new homes could be built on fields to the south of Brue Farm between Highbridge and West Huntspill, and 270 new homes could be built on land to the east of Isleport Lane, besides the motorway.
Andy Reading from Sedgemoor District Council said during Monday’s meeting that the sites will “help sustainability, increase footfall in Highbridge, and promote regeneration.”
He added that fields to the north of Burnham, between Stoddens Road and Berrow, had also been considered but “few land owners have come forward to show interest.”
Fields to the east of Burnham’s Frank Foley Parkway and at Alstone have also not been selected for the new plan due to “landscape impacts and a higher flood risk.”
Cllr Phil Harvey asked when the two Highbridge schemes would likely be completed. He was told that 2020 for the Isleport site is possible, subject to planning permission, and longer for Brue Farm. He pushed Sedgemoor District Council to put more focus on Burnham North preparatory work.
Cllr Parkes, pictured, added that infrastructure such as schools and medical centres are a key concern for many residents if new homes are built. “We need a new medical centre in Highbridge but that won’t be built until the 249th new house is built at Brue Farm – too long a wait.”
Mr Reading replied: “We look carefully at demand for extra facilities, balancing it alongside the need of developers to make a return from a site. The new facilities are provided once demand has been generated.”
Mr Reading, pictured, added that the plan has identified a wider need for 13,530 new homes across Sedgemoor between now and the year 2032.
The proposals are out for public consultation and local residents are being encouraged to have their say on the plans. Sedgemoor District Council has organised several local drop-in events, as well as providing the document online here.
The drop-in events are being held locally on February 8th at Burnham’s Princess Theatre from 3pm-7pm; February 15th at the Village Hall in Wedmore from 3pm-7pm; and February 27th at the Church Room in Puriton from 3pm-7pm.
Documents are also available to inspect at the Council offices at Bridgwater House, King Square, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR Monday to Friday – 9.00am to 5.00pm, and at public libraries in the district during normal opening hours. The consultation period ends at 5pm on March 17th.
The two development sites for new housing – east of the Isleport Business Park and at Brue Farm