A COUNCILLOR is encouraging people to share their views on a controversial decision to sell off a publicly owned field in Highbridge at a virtual meeting next week.

In February developer Coln Residential won outline planning permission to build 110 homes, a play area and a fitness trail on land between Lakeside and Isleport despite more than 140 objections from residents.

Last month Sedgemoor District Council's (SDC) Executive met and approved the plans to sell the land but SDC announced last week that a call-in request has been made by councillors to discuss the proposed disposal of the land.

Councillor Phil Harvey from Burnham and Highbridge Town Council has previously spoken out against the plans to sell the land and said he would encourage residents to share their views on the plans as it is 'the last opportunity to ask the executive to change its mind.'

He said: "For many years the people of Highbridge have used this land, acquired in 1996 by the district council for public open space provision.

"Years of inaction have resulted in the land being de-classified and the present decision to sell for housing - despite massive local opposition.

"This call-in gives us the last opportunity to ask the executive to change its mind.

"I would encourage local people to register to speak if they wish to have an opinion on the matter.

"Although the meeting is a virtual one, via Skype, it is still open to the public. The council website lists the agenda and what people have to do to attend and, if they wish, speak."

Charlie Tillam, a Lakeside resident who has also spoken out against the plans, said

"I think it's disgraceful that so many public have object and its fell on deaf ears," Charlie said

"It's unfair they take a piece of Greenland rather than let the public use it and have the money that was designated for that area... Its all very underhanded plus they locked the gates for years so no one could go in there.

"It's not fair on the locals who have since used it more in lock down as they know it's there."

The council's Corporate Scrutiny Committee will take part in a virtual meeting on Monday, July 13 at 2.30pm to consider the controversial decision.

SDC said the reasons provided for the call-in are:

- The decision to sell this land acquired for Public Open Space and the failure to bring forward any such use over 20 years.

- The decision to sell green space in the Highbridge area which is deficient in this locality.

- The threat to the biodiversity of this site during a climate change crisis.

-The allocation of the S106 monies towards this site being transferred to the developer.

The desirability of keeping open space for the health and wellbeing of local residents.

- Was sufficient weight given to the public consultation in making this decision?