More flats will add to 'pit of poverty'

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 January 2012

Concerns have been raised over a proposed 95-home development in Highbridge

Concerns have been raised over a proposed 95-home development in Highbridge

Archant

A 95-HOME development which has received 'no community support' could bring new funding for flood defences in Highbridge.

The Clyce Road site - subject to a current planning application - has been criticised by town councillors and residents who say Highbridge does not have the infrastructure to support such an increase in population.

Tina Gray, aged 46, of Poplar Estate, is a member of the Highbridge Residents’ Association and said: “We don’t need maisonettes or flats to live in, we need houses and bungalows for the elderly and disabled.

“We still have no more infrastructure and we are being squashed from the inside out. We are trapped in an ever-increasing pit of poverty and with the new reforms on benefits there is little most people can do to move forward.

“I wonder when Sedgemoor District Council will start to see that people above pounds matter?”

But Doug Bamsey, Sedgemoor’s corporate director for regeneration, said if the development goes ahead it could provide funding for new flood defences to protect vulnerable land adjacent to Clyce Road.

He said: “Flood defences are a major issue for Burnham and Highbridge. The development gives us a chance to address that and we need to make the flood defences better as it will give a benefit to Highbridge.

“The Environment Agency has not got the funding but if the development comes forward we can achieve that through a contribution from the developers.”

But Councillor Helen Groves argued: “While flood risks do have to be taken into account, the town’s infrastructure can’t support the development.

“Residents have spoken out about the proposal.They say flats are something which Highbridge does not need.

“Developers are calling them maisonettes and apartments because the local development framework says we can’t build flats, but they are flats no matter what name you attach to them.

“There is no community support for the development and lots have spoken out about it. I have had a number of emails from people in the area who feel the impacts will be highly negative for Highbridge.”

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