Residents to get final say on plan which will shape the future of two towns

PUBLISHED: 18:00 26 January 2018

A referendum will be held later this year to decide the future of development in two Somerset towns.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council’s Neighbourhood Planning Group (NPG) will ask residents whether they want a plan to help shape the strategy for assessing future planning applications for the area.

The document has taken three years to create and shows future housing needs and areas earmarked for development.

The proposal has been created with Sedgemoor District Council’s Local Plan in mind, which includes outline plans to build more than 2,000 houses.

Town councillor Phil Harvey, who oversaw the creation of the document, said: “The NPG did not think we had better suggestions than those in the local plan so we concentrated instead on the criteria we would want to see in new housing developments.”

The group describes the importance of ‘creating communities, not just estates’ in the plan and to meet the demand for new housing where neighbours can live together ‘in harmony’.

It says: “Places where children can play in safety and where pedestrians and cyclists take preference over cars.

“Open spaces will be provided so that there is opportunity for recreation and exercise for all.”

If approved, the neighbourhood plan will be used to help shape decisions on planning applications and can be used by potential housing developers to form more desirable plans.

The district council has planned an additional 850 homes to be built across the two towns by 2032.

The neighbourhood plan outlines the council’s hope to ‘harness’ and ‘transform’ Highbridge, which has was dubbed the ‘poor relation’ of Burnham by some survey responders.

The group hopes to improve the usage of the town’s railway station, maximise employment and retail opportunities and look at enhancing recreational opportunities in the area.

Part of the plan dedicated to Burnham suggests a need to maintain variety in shopping to prevent the centre from becoming ‘characterless’ and ‘bland’ and to preserve the formal gardens.

To view the full plan, click here.

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