Plans for 1,300 homes to be built will not be ready for 'at least another 15 years'
PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 February 2018
Plans to build 1,300 homes in Burnham-on-Sea will not be completed for 'at least another 15 years'.
As part of Sedgemoor District Council’s Local Plan, 2,030 homes are required to be built in Burnham and Highbridge by 2032.
Although minor inroads have been made into that figure in recent years, there has only been ‘limited new development’ in Burnham, despite the average house asking price in the town increasing by 10 per cent last year.
Councillors earmarked land north of Stoddens Farm as suitable for up to approximately 300 homes, with land between Stoddens Lane and Brent Road described as a ‘larger scale option’ which could deliver around 1,000 homes if built to its full extent.
The ‘northern relief road’ could have potentially improved access to Berrow and Brean.
However, the Stoddens Road area has now been disregarded for being at high risk of flooding.
The decision comes as a blow for Burnham and Highbridge as the two towns are due to hold a referendum later this year on the future of housing developments in the area.
Sedgemoor District Council outlined in its updated Local Plan in 2017 that a key challenge to the town is its ‘high vulnerability to flooding’.
The Environment Agency ruled that the housing developer has so far ‘failed to carry out a flood risk assessment and persuaded us such a scheme is viable’.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “National planning policy requires new development to be protected to an appropriate standard for the lifetime of that development.
“In this instance we are of the view the promoter of the land has not demonstrated this at this time.
“We will continue to work with the council and other stakeholders to secure long term flood risk improvements in the area wherever possible.”
Burnham and Highbridge town councillor Phil Harvey said: “No work has been done on dealing with the risks of flooding in this area and there are no plans or funds to do any in the foreseeable future.
“I think it is very unlikely that the land north of Stoddens Road will be developed.
“New sites will only be considered if those already in the plan cannot be delivered, however it is the planning inspector who will have the final say.”