Farm development with 171 homes wins council’s favour
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The first step toward a potential development of 550 homes has been given the green light.
Barratt Homes received permission on Tuesday to build 171 homes on part of Brue Farm in Highbridge. It is expected to be the first of several phases of development.
The company will provide land for a primary school and install a roundabout to unlock the rest of the site.
Sedgemoor District Council's development committee voted to approve the plans - despite concerns about how close the school would be to the A38, as previously reported by the Mercury. Two of the 12 councillors voted against the plan.
Phil Harvey, who sits on Highbridge and Burnham Town Council, said it did not make sense to site the school so close to 'a very busy road'.
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His concerns were shared by Cllr Mike Murphy, who questioned whether building a new school near the main road would harm pupils' health.
He said: "The A38 is a very busy main A-road.
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"This worsens when there are issues on the M5, which are almost constant.
"We all know as residents that this road can be rammed with traffic.
"We will have young children starting their school lives with vehicle noise and fumes."
Planning officer Dawn de Vries said more detailed proposals for the school will be published in the coming months, including landscaping proposals to protect children from passing traffic.
She indicated the school could open in 2022, but Somerset County Council will decide.
Cllr Tony Grimes said: "This is the best option to open up this site and deliver a much-needed school in the area.
"The roundabout is absolutely essential."
None of the 171 homes will be classed as affordable, with Barratt Homes citing the cost of the infrastructure and the unusual topography of the wider Brue Farm site.
Barratt Homes agent Chris Dolling said: "This is the best and only viable option for the site.
"There is a significant cost in delivering the vital pieces of infrastructure, which have been prioritised in this case."
Stuart Houlet, Sedgemoor's senior manager for development, said an affordable homes requirement could be added if the site proved more profitable than anticipated.