MP warns of danger of too many new homes

By WSFP reporter   |   Newsdesk   |
Thursday 13th January 2022 7:00 am
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Ian Liddell-Grainger

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WATCHET and Williton are in danger of being overwhelmed by new homes, local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger warned this week when he called for an urgent review of new housing allocations for the district to prevent it being turned into a ‘huge, soulless housing estate’.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said he has been shocked by the speed at which consent has been issued for nearly 1,000 homes on sites stretching almost from Washford Cross to Doniford.

“Somerset West and Taunton Council’s own local plan clearly states: ‘We need to make sure homes are being built where they are needed so people don’t need to travel far for work, school and shopping’,” he said.

“But that appears to have been conveniently forgotten recently. Where are the jobs, where are the schools, where are the medical services and above all where is the new infrastructure commensurate with developments on this scale?”

Mr Liddell-Grainger also dismissed assurances from developers proposing to build on land west of Williton that a doctors’ surgery would be incorporated in the scheme.

“There is no mention of how the developers intend to staff it - yet attracting doctors to come and work in West Somerset has been a challenge for many, many years,” he said.

“House-building in this area is getting wildly out of hand. It will lead to an influx of people which neither community is being equipped to deal with and is going to exert such pressure on existing services that everyone - newcomers or long-standing residents - will suffer.

“We have to call a halt and only build homes as and when there is a proven demand. This should be the acid test the council must apply in every case, rather than merrily rubber-stamping every application which it receives.

“Unless policies are changed, this part of West Somerset will become nothing more than a huge, soulless housing estate while the surrounding transport network will become even more traffic-clogged than it currently is.”

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