CONTROVERSIAL plans to build eight new homes in a West Somerset village look set to be approved next week.

Somerset Council wanted to approve the plans in March but councillors forced a postponement of the decision because of concerns about the public facilities which remained in Washford.

They asked instead for an appraisal of the suitability of Washford to take more housing before a decision was made.

Now, the plans by the trustees of the Wyndham Estate are coming back to the planning committee on Tuesday and planning officer Russell Williams is continuing to recommend approval.

The Wyndham Estate trustees want to build the houses on 1.5 acres of land to the north of Huish Lane, Washford.

They originally tried to build 14 homes but the plan was turned down in 2020, and their appeal against the decision was dismissed by a Government inspector.

Later, they came back with a proposal for 10 properties, which they reduced to the current eight houses, four of which would be two-bedroom, three three-bedroom, and one with four bedrooms.

Parish councillors and local residents objected to the application because of ‘a rapid decline’ in facilities in Washford across the past 10 years which they said left the village unsuitable for more development.

They also questioned the need for more affordable housing when Magna Housing had apparently sold three sites locally and there were 36 other homes in the parish which were either approved but not yet built or not yet occupied.

There were also concerns about extra traffic, foul water flooding, and the impact the development would have on the setting of the nearby grade two listed Linhay building.

But Mr Williams said the Wyndham Estate had now carried out a sustainability assessment of Washford and compared it to other villages in West Somerset.

He said the conclusion was that Washford ‘remains a sustainable settlement’ with ‘reasonable access to a number of facilities’.

Mr Williams recommended approval should be subject to a legal agreement requiring the trustees to either make a £487,038 contribution toward affordable housing in the district or to make three of the new homes ‘affordable’ by discounting open market prices by 40 per cent in perpetuity.

He also proposed 27 conditions on the planning approval, one of which was to keep an area identified as ‘the paddock’ for agricultural use and the grazing of farm animals in order to preserve the setting of The Linhay.

The planning committee meeting will be held in The Deane House, Taunton, at 2 pm on Tuesday (September 19).