A MASSIVE project to create 550 homes and a new school near Highbridge has been given a Government funding boost of £4.3million this week.
The Brue Farm development, which spans across 64 acres on the south side of Highbridge, will also include a new school for 210 pupils, outdoor playing facilities and public spaces.
The cash injection was announced on Monday by the Government and the Heart of the South-West Local Enterprise Partnership, who say Somerset will get up to £36million for a host of projects as part of a funding package worth £270million to the region.
Around £130million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund has been secured for the whole region, and Somerset will receive £18.67million for 2015-16 with a further £5.44million proposed for 2016-17 and £11.9million for 2020-21.
The pot of cash includes loan funding, subject to due diligence, through the Local Infrastructure Fund to unlock sites for housing development at Brue Farm in Highbridge.
Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Martin Cox said: “It’s really amazing, exciting news to know we are going to get a sizable proportion of this new funding.
“The Brue Farm development will take several years to complete and will bring money into Highbridge and benefit Market Street too. It will create much-needed jobs.
“This news is a lift following the sad news about Woodberry Bros and Haines going into administration.”
Outline planning permission was granted by Sedgemoor District Council for the site in 2012. The developers have been waiting for funding before the project can start.
Cllr Helen Groves, who has been following the development, said: “It’s positive news we have this funding to get higher quality housing for the area, especially since this project includes a school, which we desperately need.
“But I’m concerned about the development in relation to the wider area. Flood defence needs to be provided at the Boatyard site to protect other developments.”
Steve Hindley, Chairman of the Heart of the South-West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “This deal is a huge success for our area.
“It will also help us kick start investment in skills to boost productivity and create jobs in new industries like nuclear and environmental science, as well as existing ones like engineering and marine.”
County councillor David Hall, cabinet member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said a further £19.6million has been set aside to fund key Somerset projects up to 2020-21.
He said: “We’ve campaigned hard for these Local Growth Funds with the Heart of the South-West Local Enterprise Partnership and I’m delighted it has paid off.”
There will also be £13million for flood prevention, including £3.55million to widen the River Sowy with an additional allocation of £9.5million up to 2020-21.