COMMUNITIES in Burnham and Highbridge could miss out on a £20,000 windfall if people don’t come forward to help create a blueprint for the area.

The cash from the Government’s ‘Pathfinder’ funding was given to the towns months ago to allow work to begin on a ‘neighbourhood plan’.

Now, Sedgemoor District Council is warning that if the project is not started by March, the money will be allocated to another area.

The neighbourhood development plan would allow residents to set general planning policies for the development and use of land under the 2011 Localism Act.

Phil Harvey, town councillor for Burnham East ward, told the Weekly News: “We urgently need residents to contact the town clerk to put their names and skills forward for a ‘steering group’ to get this project moving.

“While this plan needs to be in accordance with Sedgemoor’s Core Strategy, it allows residents to add policies.

“For example, there’s nothing in the Core Strategy about renewable energy developments, but the neighbourhood plan can allow people to decide their position on that in our area.

“We should grab hold of this opportunity while it’s there.”

Parishes with a neighbourhood plan will also receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy – cash charged on new developments in the area – compared to parishes without a neighbourhood plan who will receive 15%.

Cllr Harvey said given future development in the area, there could be up to £100,000 on offer with a neighbourhood plan.

Sarah Milner Simonds, from the town team, said: “The focus of the Localism Act is on consultation with the community and the town team was set up by people who are concerned about the impact of development in our towns on jobs and the ability to live here.

“People often feel they should be given more of a say on planning and this is a great way to do that.

“If we don’t take this chance we will lose out.”

Anyone interested in joining the steering group can email