1,100 new homes in next decade for West Somerset
NEARLY 1,100 new homes will be built in West Somerset in the coming decade across four significant development sites.
Somerset West and Taunton Council has been carrying out a review of its Local Plan, which dictates how many homes and new jobs will need to be delivered across the district over the coming years and decades.
The review – known as a strategic housing and employment land availability assessment – is intending to provide a “snapshot” of the district, identifying which sites are the most likely to be developed and in what time scale.
The delivery of new housing and commercial developments in the district has been greatly impacted by the Dutch N court case and the resulting Natural England guidance – which requires additional mitigation for any new development which could increase phosphate levels on the Somerset Levels and Moors.
The former Taunton Deane area – which includes Bishop’s Lydeard, Taunton, Wellington and Wiveliscombe – has been particularly hamstrung by the ruling, with the council voting in October 2021 to borrow £2m to create new wetlands in a desperate bid to unlock land for new housing.
In light of these restrictions, the council has identified nine sites across the county which will deliver a combined total of 4,898 homes within the next ten years – all of which are at various stages of approval or construction. The sites in this area number 1,090.
The list does not include sites which may become more suitable for development in the near future, nor does it include the council’s own housing projects – such as the Seaward Way council houses in Minehead, or the North Taunton Woolaway Regeneration Programme, or the residential elements of the Coal Orchard regeneration scheme in Taunton town centre.
Here is a rundown of the four sites in West Somerset in question:
The former Wansborough Paper Mill on the B3191 Brendon Road in Watchet (350 homes plus hotel, leisure facilities and “visitor information centre”): Tameer Homes originally proposed to build “up to 400” homes on the former paper mill site, but this has now been revised down to a maximum of 350.
The council estimates that a decision on the plans will be taken before the end of the year, though the new homes will not begin construction until 2025/26 due to the need to decontaminate the site, which has already cost the owner in excess of £1million. From there, the site will be built out at the rate of 50 homes a year
Land north of the A39 Priest Street in Williton (350 homes plus employment units, leisure facilities and public open space): The Wyndham Estate’s plans for this development were approved by the council’s planning committee in November 2021, with one resident claiming it would turn Williton into “the Milton Keynes of the south”. The developer has indicated it will submit further plans for the site, specifying the design and layout of the homes, by the end of 2022, with a view to beginning construction by 2024.
The council estimates that around 40 homes per year will be delivered within the site.
Land at Liddymore Lane in Watchet (250 homes): Summerfield Homes is currently constructing the Liddymore Park development at the edge of Watchet, following approval of a new scheme by the council’s planning committee in June 2021. Improvements to the car park of the neighbouring Knights Templar Primary School have recently been completed, with the first phase of 75 homes due to be available to purchase by early-2023. The council estimates that 39 homes will be delivered on the site per year, meaning the development will be completely built out by April 2029
Land east of Doniford Lane in Williton (90 homes): the Wyndham Estate was granted permission for this development by West Somerset Council back in February 2019. The land has since been sold to Linden Homes, which has already constructed 15 homes within what has been christened the Orchard Brooks site. The council estimates that the remaining homes will be delivered by April 2024, with the majority coming on stream within the next 12 months.
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