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SOMERSET: “Green lung” homes approved

SOMERSET: “Green lung” homes approved

Image: Google

Up to 110 new homes will be built on a beloved “green lung” within a Somerset town in the coming months.

Coln Residential Ltd. applied in August 2018 to build the homes south of the existing Lakeside homes in Highbridge, on land owned by Sedgemoor District Council.

The council voted in July 2020 to sell the land to the developer for £350,000, despite an outcry from local residents who called for the site to be preserved as a “green lung” for future generations.

Legal agreements between the council and developer have now been signed off, with more detailed proposals expected to come forward in the not-too-distant future.

The site lies to the north of the Walrow Ponds, with the existing Lakeside homes being accessed from the A38 Bristol Road.

The new development will include a play area in the centre of the site, with a number of homes being built between the existing lakes and the railway line north of Highbridge and Burnham railway station.

The council’s development committee voted to approve the outline proposals in February 2020, but legal agreements between the council and developer (including contributions to local schools and the play facilities) were only signed in early-September.

As part of the approval, the developer will ensure 30 per cent of the homes (the equivalent of 33 properties) will be affordable – or it will have to pay the council £345,000 if this cannot be achieved.

The existing Springfield Park footpath over the railway will be closed as part of the development, with the public right of way being re-routed along Bristol Road.

Speaking in July 2020, council leader Duncan McGinty said that difficulties with securing legal access to the site made it impossible to keep it as a green space for the community.

He said: “Our ability to develop this site as an open space is a non-starter. We have not been able to secure access to do that.

“It would appear that the only way we can deliver any form of open space here is to dispose of the land.”

Coln Residential is expected to submit a reserved matters application – detailing the design and layout of the houses – in the run-up to Christmas.

A further 46 homes will be built by Flower and Hayes Ltd. to the south of the Walrow Ponds, with access from the B3139 Walrow.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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