Have your say over major town centre redevelopment

How a redeveloped Highbridge town centre could look

How a redeveloped Highbridge town centre could look - Credit: Sedgemoor District Council

Highbridge residents are being asked for their views on how to regenerate their town centre before a bid for central government funding is made.

Sedgemoor District Council and its partners are putting forward a bid to the government’s levelling up fund, aiming to regenerate the town centres in Cheddar, Highbridge and Shepton Mallet.

The council has identified a number of initial projects which it believes could improve Highbridge town centre, and is asking the public for its views over the next four weeks.

The public’s views will shape the final bid, which will be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) by July 6.

The levelling up fund invites local authorities to bid for up to £20 million for projects designed to improve local transport, regeneration high streets and town centres, and maintain or expand cultural and heritage assets.

Somerset County Council was one of the first round beneficiaries, securing just over £10m for improvements to the ‘northern Bridgwater corridor’, including the Dunball roundabout near the M5 and the Cross Rifles roundabout which links the A38 to the A39.

The bids are made on the basis of parliamentary constituencies rather than local authority boundaries – with Cheddar, Highbridge and Shepton Mallet all lying within the Wells constituency, represented by Conservative MP James Heappey since 2015.

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The council has short-listed the following projects for the Highbridge element of its bid:

  • Improvements to the B3139 Market Street
  • Redesigning Bank Street car park
  • A new transport hub that includes public transport, bike parking, electric car charging, and additional parking at Highbridge and Burnham railway station
  • Improving public transport links across the town and a better cycle route linking Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea
  • Improving flood defences on the River Brue
  • Enhancing the Morland Community Hall facilities on Trowbridge Close

These proposals – informed by the council’s Local Plan and the Burnham and Highbridge Area Neighbourhood Plan – are designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Maximise Highbridge town centre’s potential to support local employment and economic growth
  • Enhance the railway station, to ensure it is integrated with a range of sustainable travel solutions and provides a welcoming gateway to the town
  • Ensure a more resilient and sustainable Highbridge to address the impacts of climate change, in line with the council’s climate emergency action plan
  • Safeguard and improve recreational opportunities

The council is keen to hear residents put other projects forward to ensure the largest possible number of people benefit from any successful bid.

Highbridge and Burnham railway station

Highbridge and Burnham railway station - Credit: Google

Council deputy leader Gill Slocombe said: “Highbridge like many small towns has its challenges, but local people know it is also a thriving community with a great deal of potential.

“The town deserves investment, and this is why we have been developing the Highbridge regeneration framework to guide positive change locally.

“Now we want to hear from local people about what their priorities for the community are, and how a bid to the levelling up fund could help support economic growth and investment in the area and creating opportunities for the people of Highbridge.”

To have your say, visit www.highbridgeregeneration.co.uk/staging/index.php before June 24.