Highbridge "sold short" over 105 homes development at Newtown Road

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Cllr Helen Groves Cllr Helen Groves

A DEVELOPMENT of more than 100 homes could leave Highbridge short-changed, a councillor has warned.

A consultation closed this week on a joint application by Gaia Partnership and Wessex Water for up to 105 homes in Newtown Road.

The scheme was first put forward in 2007 but has been held up by uncertainty over an 85-homes development at the neighbouring Clyce Road boatyard site, which was approved last year.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council's planning committee was due to discuss the Gaia Partnership scheme last night.

Speaking to the Weekly News, Highbridge town councillor Helen Groves said she was disappointed with the applicants' infrastructure contributions, which include no money towards school places.

She said: “It's like they are saying that nobody moving into these houses is going to have any children.

“It's fine to have houses and expansion but it must be balanced with an investment in infrastructure.

“It's a great shame because people in the town are being sold short and I'm really worried about this situation.”

In a statement explaining why they would not be contributing to school places, the applicants said: “It is likely that a proportion of the new homes, if they are to meet the increasing need for family homes identified in the (district) council's Core Strategy, will be occupied by children who already live in the area.

“Furthermore, there are currently proposals in the pipeline to develop a further classroom at St Andrews Junior School and to provide a new primary school as part of the Brue Farm development to the south of Highbridge.

“These developments already have funding and will substantially increase primary school capacity in the area.

“Taking the above considerations into account and the number of surplus places at the King Alfred School, it is unlikely that the proposed development of this site will generate a need for additional school capacity in the area beyond that which is currently planned.”

However, Cllr Groves said some primary schools were already at capacity or oversubscribed and warned a new school as part of Brue Farm could be years off.

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