Month to go until neighbourhood plan referendum which will shape towns’ futures

The referendum will be held on September 20.

The referendum will be held on September 20. - Credit: Supplied

A vote to decide the fate of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge’s proposed neighbourhood plan will take place next month.

The referendum will be held on September 20 when people will have the chance to determine whether the document, which outlines development needs from 2014-32, is adopted and becomes part of Sedgemoor District Council’s planning policy.

Burnham and Highbridge town councillor Phil Harvey, who chaired the neighbourhood planning group, believes the area will become ‘fit for the 21st century’ if it receives approval from voters.

He said: “If the majority of residents vote yes to the plan on September 20 it will help us to create together a wonderful environment to live, work and play in that is fit for the 21st century and beyond.

“By having our own plan we will be able to have some control over our two town centres and have our say on what new buildings and homes would look like.

“In addition, we would influence what infrastructure should be provided.

“However, if the majority vote no in the referendum we will not be able to adopt the plan and only Sedgemoor policies will apply as they do now.”

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Objectives of the plan include aiming to designate Apex Park, the playing fields in Burnham Road, South Esplanade Lawns and Manor Gardens, as well as other sites, as green spaces – giving them extra protection from development.

It also outlines plans to create a town square in Princess Street, install electric car charging points and protect the Pier Street car park.

Cllr Harvey added: “It is very important for everyone in the area to cast their vote on September 20, so residents can have a say in the future of the area, how it is shaped and grows.

“We can also help ensure our environment is protected and enhanced, that businesses continue to thrive and that the community can be kept safe for the benefit of all, and to enable our children and grandchildren.”

Everyone who is eligible to vote in the referendum will soon receive their voting card while postal voters are due to receive ballot papers from September 6-7.

Electors in Cheddar will go to the polls about their neighbourhood plan on August 30.