March 15, 2017
New Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Neighbourhood Plan unveiled

Residents in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge are being asked for their views on a new Neighbourhood Plan which has been published this week, showing how the towns could develop over the coming years.

The new draft document has been published here and covers Burnham-On-Sea town centre, the seafront, Highbridge, and the parish of Burnham Without.

"The purpose of the Plan is to guide and shape development in the two towns in the future," said Cllr Phil Harvey at the latest Town Council meeting.

"The plan addresses several points - for Burnham, these include retaining the viability of our town in the face of retail pressures, retaining the town's Victorian character, and ensuring it is suitable to visitors."

"For Highbridge, the Plan considers how to halt the perceived decline of the town centre which some see as 'past its best and struggling'. Many residents are concerned that things have been done to the town, rather than with the involvement of residents."

He added that if Highbridge gets 1,300 new homes over the coming years that "Market Street's shops may no longer be fit for purpose to serve that bigger population."

The document is also a long-term plan that includes a review of local green spaces and future housing needs.

A formal six-week consultation period is set to start this month, during which time a leaflet is being distributed to every household in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge with more information. The deadline for feedback will be May 15th.

Cllr Louise Parkin congratuled Cllr Harvey and all those who have contributed to the plan, but told the latest town council meeting that she has concerns about a possible loss of parking in the towns. "I would be fervently against any loss of parking - it needs to be increased for visitors and residents. It would be foolhardy and to the detriment of the local retail sector to reduce parking."

She added that she also feels seeking local labour agreements to be put in place for new business is not realistic.

The plan has been compiled with the involvement of many local residents and groups, including Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade, the Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council.

Cllr Harvey added: "This version of the Burnham and Highbridge Neighbourhood Plan is for public consultation prior to submission to Sedgemoor District Council. Representations made on this document will feed into the Submission version of the Neighbourhood Plan for submission to Sedgemoor District Council prior to examination and referendum."


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