as controversial plans for 29 flats in Highbridge win approval
plans to turn Highbridge's former Canal House site into a modern
development of 29 flats have been given the final go-ahead this
week despite concerns about local infrastructure and the loss of
commercial units in the town centre
a meeting of the district council's Development Committee on Tuesday
(July 31st), members granted permission to New Shore Developments
to proceed with the high-profile flats scheme.
Town Council and Highbridge Chamber of Trade had objected against
the scheme due to the loss of retail and business space in the town
high-profile Market Street site, which is situated next to the Church
Street roundabout, has been vacant for years since the former Canal
House premises closed down.
Chamber of Trade Trade Chairman Mike Murphy spoke out against the
scheme, saying: "This site has seen 200 years of retail - there
have been shops and businesses in the heart of Highbridge for years."
agent, Toni Hammick, has told me she can't sell retail units there
as there's not enough footfall but we know hundreds of new homes
are to be built at the Delta engineering site, Brue Farm, Isleport,
and at the YMCA hotel site in the near future."
want to see two retail units here and think the development should
be denied until those are given. There are not enough 'shop shells'
available in Market Street."
Mr Murphy told Burnham-On-Sea.com after this week's decision: "I
am very disappointed that despite Sedgemoor District Council designating
Market Street for retail development, the developer point blank
refused to include two shop shells on the ground floor. I am convinced
this will become part of the Highbridge social housing dumping ground
with little boxes - some of which only just meet the national standard.
When will Sedgemoor ever learn."
councillor John Parkes said of the application: "I have grave
concerns about these plans. It's clear to everyone that Highbridge
is being overdeveloped and we just don't have the infrastructure
to support it. This would be a huge overdevelopment." He added
that the ground floor of the development "must be kept for
town councillor Andy Brewer told the meeting thaty the developer
had worked on addressing nearby neighbours' concerns about the proposed
site over looking their homes, reducing the risk of shadowing onto
their properties. Responding to concerns about 'over-development',
he said the developer believes the proposed new building will cover
a "smaller floor area than the previous scheme for the site".
town councillors voted to object against the scheme, the plans have
now been granted approval by Sedgemoor District Council subject
to usual planning conditions.
applicant, local property agent Toni Hammock, discussed her plans
for the site with councillors in February, as we reported
here. "This site has been a thorn in Highbridge's side
for a long time," and she added: "Now, we have new plans
to develop it."
explained that while permission was granted in 2010 for a mixed-use
development of 14 flats and shops, that scheme had proven "commercially
unworkable as there wasn't the footfall." These new plans were
therefore drawn up without shops and a flats-only development.