CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 248 homes and a new community building have been given a unanimous thumbs down by councillors who say they have fears the site is being overdeveloped.

Bickenhall Consulting submitted an outline planning application to Sedgemoor District Council to build 248 homes on land to the East of Isleport Lane near Isleport Business Park.

At a meeting on Wednesday (January 30) Burnham and Highbridge Town Council's planning committee discussed the developers plans to build 24 one bedroom apartments, 68 two bedroom apartments, 31 two bedroom houses, 82 three bedroom houses and 43 four bedroom houses and 178 garages on the 12.78 hectare site.

Debbie Aplin, a director from Bickenhall Consulting who worked on the plans, said a dedicated community building could be used as a doctors surgery if they can find a GP to run it.

Ms Aplin said the site could have up to 270 homes and 30 per cent of them will be 'affordable.'

She said: "Looking at what Highbridge was lacking in community facilities we had a request for a doctors surgery at our consultation event but finding someone to operate it is a big challenge.

"If we can find a GP to come and operate it and get approval from National Health then we are good but if we don't it will be used as a community hall or a shop.

"We will be improving access in and out of Isleport Lane and one road will have bollards at the end and will be used only by emergency vehicles.

"We are aware that there are newts and bats that currently inhabit the site and we have made provision for them as well as doing a full ecological assessment."

But Cllr John Parkes said he has 'serious' concerns about the project as he does not think there is enough infrastructure to support the development.

He said: "I think it is pleasing to hear that there will be a designated area for community use and some play areas but with respect to the developer there are a number of residents who have contacted me and said they have severe concerns about the amount of traffic going up and down Isleport Lane.

"It's quite narrow and there are rhynes on either side, these plans are beggars belief.

"We are all concerned about the lack of infrastructure in Highbridge to support this development.

"It's like the chicken and the egg - you need to have the new homes to support the infrastructure but how can we cope with them all?

"With developments being planned for Lakeside, Walrow and Brue Farm I have real concerns."

Councillor Peter Clayton also voiced concerns about the scheme and said he thinks if the plans go ahead the site will be overdeveloped.

He said: "This land next to Isleport Lane has already been designated for development in Sedgemoor District Council's Local Plan so we can't actually say no here.

"But I think this proposal goes away from our Neighbourhood Plan which was recently approved and I notice there are a lot of flats on the application.

"I am not opposed to the development but I just think it needs to be appropriate."

Councillor Louise Parkin echoed Cllr Clayton's comments and said building flats would be 'totally inappropriate' on the site as it is a rural development.

And Councillor Nick Tolley said he shared her fears and also had concerns about the number of cars that would be coming in and out of the site.

He said: "You say there are going to be 2.5 car parking spaces on average per person and that means that there would be another 500 or so cars coming through Highbridge.

"The traffic situation in Burnham and Highbridge is already tough so adding more cars to the mix would only make things worse."

The town council unanimously voted against the plans but the decision rests with Sedgemoor District Council.

To view the plans visit and type in reference 11/19/003.