REACTION: 670 new homes earmarked for Highbridge in latest local plan
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 February 2017
A Highbridge councillor has said he feels insulted after Sedgemoor District Council revealed its latest plan to build hundreds of new houses in the town.
The plan illustrates 670 houses could be built in the ‘Burnham and Highbridge area’ by 2032, but Cllr John Parkes feels Highbridge has been unfairly targeted, as there are no immediate plans for more homes in Burnham.
The plan has identified two sites in Highbridge for development up until 2032.
Fields to the south of Brue Farm, between Highbridge and West Huntspill, could welcome 400 new homes, while 270 homes could also be built to the east of Isleport Lane, next to junction 22 of the M5.
Cllr Parkes told the Mercury his main concern is the lack of concrete plans for an additional school and medical centre to match the growth in population.
He said: “I worry about Highbridge Medical Centre. It is struggling and has 13,000 patients.
“The local school (Churchfield Primary School, in Burnham Road) is also at full quota. We need these things to be addressed and it has got to be done now.
“The planners cannot insult us by saying this in Burnham and Highbridge as the developments are all in Highbridge.
“With the greatest of respect, I live here and I talk to people and I know what the issues are.”
Andy Reading, planning advisor at the district council, said the aim is to promote regeneration of Highbridge and plans for additional facilities such as a school can only be introduced once a return has been made.
He said: “We look carefully at the demand for extra facilities, alongside the need of developers to make a return.
“The new facilities are provided once demand has been generated.
“It is not as easy to introduce a medical centre as there is a need for funding from NHS England and a need for doctors to provide the service.”
The plans are currently up for public consultation until March 3.