RESIDENTS living in the Quantock Hills face a longer wait to see if dozens of new homes will be built on their doorstep.

Strongvox Homes is currently constructing the Cricketer Farm development north of the A39 Cannington Road in Nether Stowey, on the northern edge of the Quantock Hills national landscape.

The initial development comprises 109 homes, with 16 being affordable as a result of a £1.5m grant from Homes England and £180,000 to offset the impact of the Hinkley Point C construction programme.

The Taunton-based developer applied in June 2023 to expand this development with a further 58 homes to the north.

Somerset Council’s planning committee north met in Bridgwater on Tuesday afternoon (May 14), with planning officers recommending that the plans be granted permission.

But councillors ultimately voted to delay a decision until they had been given the chance to visit the site in person.

As part of the development, around £490,000 will be provided through the community infrastructure levy (CIL) towards new schools or extending existing schools in and around the village, along with more than £23,000 for expanding or otherwise improving the Quantock Medical Centre on Banneson Road.

Parish council chairman Kevin Ferriday warned that the village was struggling to cope with the strain on its amenities caused by the first phase of the development.

He told the committee: “We are already working to integrate residents of phase one of this development.

“Should this application be approved, the ability of the community to absorb this additional expansion would be difficult without gravely threatening the sustainability of our village.”

Nether Stowey is expected to provide a minimum of 75 new homes by 2032 under the Sedgemoor Local Plan – a total which has already been exceeded.

In addition to the Cricketer Farm site, F. & G. Jeanes & Sons Ltd. is seeking permission to build 83 homes and a retail unit north of the A39 Long Cross, less than a mile west of the Strongvox site.

Councillor Alan Bradford (who represents the neighbouring North Petherton division) said he was concerned about how a three-storey block of flats within the site would impact on the views to and from the Quantock Hills.

He said: “The AONB isn’t very pleased with what’s happening here – and if you really want to wind them up, you should put a three-storey building up.

“We’re between a rock and a hard place. We know how rents are being driven up with the housing demand for Hinkley Point people all around Bridgwater and the whole area – the local people can’t really afford it.

“I do ask that this three-storey building be looked at again. There has to be a little bit of give and take in life.”

Councillor Brian Bolt (whose Cannington division includes the site) agreed, stating: “It’s like putting a block of flats in the middle of the countryside.”

After around an hour’s debate, the committee voted unanimously to defer a decision on the plans until a site visit had taken place.