Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge residents have voted in favour of adopting a new Neighbourhood Plan that will help shape the future of the area for generations to come.

Residents braved poor weather to head to polling stations during Thursday to take part in the landmark local referendum.

Results of the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge referendum:

The referendum asked voters the question: “Do you want Sedgemoor District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

  • Yes: 2,658
  • No: 358
  • Rejected: 8
  • Turnout: 17.62%

The results of Thursday’s election were announced at 11.30pm following the count of votes inside Highbridge Community Hall on Thursday night, pictured here.

Reaction to the results:

Town councillor Phil Harvey, who chaired the group of residents that drew up the Plan over the last four years, told Burnham-On-Sea.com at the count: “It is a satisfying result after all the years of work that everybody has put in.”

Responding to the low turnout, he said: “The postal vote turnout was good, but the turnout on referendum day was poor – the weather was lousy – but our turnout is comparable to the recent Frome turnout.”

He added: “Once the Plan is ratified by Sedgemoor District Council later in October it becomes part of the local planning process and we will hopefully make some difference going forward.”

Alex Turco, who was among the group of residents who helped compile the Plan, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I’m pleased that the hard work of the Neighbourhood Planning group has been accepted by the people of Burnham & Highbridge – this is a step forward in making the area a better place to live, work and visit.”

“I look forward to the Town Council bringing forward quickly a comprehensive policy to spend the Community Infrastructure Levy it will receive, to implement the Neighbourhood Plan’s Statements of Intent.”

What Burnham and Highbridge’s Neighbourhood Plan covers:

The newly-adopted Neighbourhood Plan will enable the two towns to better influence planning decisions in the area and have a greater say in how the area evolves. The Neighbourhood Plan covers three topics of Highbridge, Central Burnham and Housing:

Central Burnham policies include:

  • Extend the shopping area northwards.
  • Set design standards for new or altered shop fronts.
  • Set criteria for redevelopment proposals.
  • Set out policies for any redevelopment that may occur at Pople’s Yard, Pier Street car park or the Learning Centre and Town Square in Princess Street.
  • Protect Marine Cove, Manor Gardens, Crosses Pen and South Esplanade Lawns from inappropriate development.

Highbridge policies include:

  • Extend the designated shopping zone to include the southern end of Church Street.
  • Control redevelopment in the urban area.
  • Redevelop the land next to the railway line behind the Co-op to include employment.
  • Ensure the local community benefits from the new Isleport Business Park.
  • Protect Apex Park, Burnham Road playing fields and Southwell Gardens from inappropriate development.
  • Encourage new residential development to include toddlers’ play areas.

Housing policies include:

  • Set criteria for the design of the street scene and for designing out crime.
  • Make residential development safe from flood risk.
  • Give preference to pedestrians and cyclists over cars in new developments.
  • Encourage sustainable transport and provision for electric car charging points.

For more information about the Neighbourhood Plan, visit www.burnhamandhighbridgeneighbourhoodplan.org.