Neighbourhood plan for two towns given green lights after referendum

The neighbourhood plan will improve both Burnham and Highbridge.

The neighbourhood plan will improve both Burnham and Highbridge. - Credit: Supplied

More than 2,500 people voted to approve plans which will shape two Somerset towns’ future.

Homeowners in Burnham and Highbridge went to the polls on September 20 to vote on the neighbourhood plan.

A total of 2,658 people voted to adopt the plan, while 358 opposed it, and a total of 17.62 per cent of eligible voters turned out

Proposals to improve Burnham include expanding the High Street shopping area and giving Apex Park, South Esplanade Lawns and Manor Gardens extra protection from potential housing developments.

In Highbridge, there are plans to extend the shopping area to include the southern end of Church Street and redevelop land next to the railway station, which has previously been targeted by fly-tippers.

Burnham and Highbridge town councillor Phil Harvey, who chaired the neighbourhood planning group, said: “We are delighted to get this result after the years of hard work to make this possible.

“By having our own plan we will be able to have some control over our two town centres and have our say on what buildings and homes will look like. In addition, we can influence what infrastructure should be provided.

“It means we can help ensure our environment is protected and enhanced, that businesses continue to thrive and the community can be kept safe for the benefit of all.”

Business and employment opportunities will also improve by supporting the retention of retail and work in Highbridge town centre and there will be additional support for green policies in the Isleport Business Park.

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Housing policies in both towns include to make developments safe from flooding risks, give preference to pedestrians and cyclists over motorists, and to reduce crime.

In Burnham, a town square in Princess Street could be established and improvements to Pier Street car park, which has been targeted by boy racers and travellers in recent months, are also outlined.

Cllr Harvey added: “This referendum is all about our environment and how it is protected and enhanced.

“It will also boost our local economy to help businesses and people thrive here.”