TOWN councillors have strongly objected to proposals for a retirement flats development in the centre of Minehead.

The McCarthy Stone development would mean the demolition of the town’s Co-op supermarket and adjoining retail shops in The Avenue.

They would be replaced with a block of 35 retirement apartments, a smaller convenience store, car parking, and other amenities.

The town council’s planning committee set out a number of material objections to the McCarthy Stone application.

Committee chairman Cllr Mimi Palmer said: “This proposal raises far too many concerns that have not been adequately addressed.

“We have no choice but to strenuously object.”

The committee agreed to request Somerset Council to put the application to its planning committee for a decision to be made by elected councillors rather than officers.

Among the committee’s concerns were:

  • Lack of control measures to offset major disruption during the two-year construction period

  • Failure to address additional noise from air/ground source heat pumps in a residential area

  • Increased traffic flow issues with no mitigation proposals

  • Potential safety risks from delivery access to the proposed convenience store

  • Lack of assessment of whether utilities can handle the increased demand

  • A 75 per cent reduction in supermarket floor space compared to the existing Co-op store

  • Lack of information on staffing plans for new store

  • Proposed architecture not in keeping with nearby conservation area

  • Insufficient parking compared to the number of potential residents

Fourteen residents also attended the meeting of town councillors to express a range of concerns, including lack of plans to replace Minehead’s only Post Office, which would close when the Co-op was demolished.

One person felt there was already enough housing in Minehead for retirement-age residents and believed the town instead needed more social housing.

Another said there was a need to attract the younger generation to the town, which the McCarthy Stone development would not do.

There was also concern that while McCarthy Stone had suggested the development would free up family sized housing, this could put extra strain on local schools, doctors, dentists, and other services which were already struggling to meet demand from residents.