A NUMBER of new council houses which are being built in Minehead will be adequately protected from errant cricket balls following a decision by councillors.

Somerset Council is currently overseeing the construction of the Rainbow Way development on Seaward Way, in Minehead, which will eventually provide a total of 54 new low-carbon council properties with a direct pedestrian link to the town centre and nearby seafront.

As part of the planning permission, the council and its contractor Classic Builders had planned to install “rebound mesh fencing” along the south-western boundary, which will prevent windows from being broken by flying cricket balls from the neighbouring cricket club.

Due to an “oversight” on the original plans (which were formally signed off in July 2021), this fencing was expected to be built on the cricket club’s land rather than within the development site.

The council said it had “not been possible to agree a position” with the cricket club regarding the delivery of this fence, putting the homes at risk from overenthusiastic batsmen.

To solve the problem, Somerset Council’s planning committee west voted on Tuesday afternoon (March 20) to allow the fence to be built within the development site, allowing the final homes to be completed.

The Rainbow Way site is divided into nine blocks, with 21 homes being delivered across blocks one to six and a mixture of 33 one- and two-bedroom flats being delivered in blocks seven to nine.

The new homes are being fitted with solar panels and air source heat pumps, are being constructed from porotherm blocks to aid with heat retention, and are being provided with electric vehicle charging points.

Once the properties are completed, they will be advertised on the council’s Homefinder services, with priority being given to those with a local connection to Minehead or the surrounding parishes.

The fence will be 4.8 metres high along six of the properties nearest the cricket club, dropping to 3.6 metres high for four houses which are further away from the central pitch (and therefore less likely to be affected).

Councillor Andy Hadley (who represents Minehead) queried the cricket club’s motivations when the council committee met in Taunton on Tuesday (March 20).

Cllr Hadley said: “The report we’ve had read almost as though the cricket club has refused permission to have the fence put up in their land.

“I can understand the reasons – they obviously don’t want the maintenance issues and to be lumbered with a liability.

“But it is a shame, considering we actually give them specific access to their cricket club – which they didn’t have before – across our land as part of this application in the first place.

“With a little bit of give and take, this could have been worked out and made it a little easier for the home-owners, who would not have had the fence so close to their properties.”

The committee voted unanimously to approve the amended plans after less than half an hour’s debate.