FEARS the council is being 'blackmailed' have surfaced as controversial discussions over the Brue Farm development continue.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council met for an extraordinary planning meeting last night (Monday, July 15), to discuss 'minor adjustments' which have been made by the developer.

Barratt Homes gained outline planning permission last year for 171 homes on the Highbridge site, as well as a new primary school, roundabout, and public open space.

The site forms part of a larger area of land at Brue Farm outlined in Sedgemoor District Council’s Core Strategy for an urban extension to Highbridge with up to 550 homes planned.

But it's the finer details which are proving contentious.

The town council already lodged a formal opposition in May earlier this year, specifically regarding the location of the new primary school after it was changed by the developer.

While the developer has resubmitted plans with a few changes, the school hasn't altered.

Mayor, cllr Andy Brewer, said: "The reason it has come back is there are some minor changes.

"They are relatively minor.

"We opposed the location of the school, which is the same, access is still from the busy A38.

"This comes with reduced air quality, and has an adverse effect on the health of the children."

The reason the school has remained the same, according to Cllr Sue Harvey, is because the developer says if the council wants the school provision available earlier, then it has to remain where it is.

Councillors raised concerns about the busy road, and encouraged a response to stress the importance of a one-way drop off and collection system.

Cllr Louise Parkin said: "We are being blackmailed, then.

"What's the life of the school? 50, 100 years?

"If it's going to be in the area it would wait an extra year or two to make sure we have what we want."

Cllr Helen Groves urged the council to consider the reasons behind their objection, as providing a school provision is important to the area.

The council decided to reiterate their objection they made the first time, as their concerns have not been addressed, but the final decision lies with Sedgemoor District Council.

Cllr Brewer added: "Our previous response was comprehensive. Has anything changed? So are we inclined to change our response?

"That's how it seems to me, we maintain our position.

"There's nothing to stop them building the school first."

For details or to view the application visit sedgemoor.gov.uk and search for reference number 52/19/00001.