WATCHET will be getting nearly 150 new homes despite fears of a “serious accident” on the neighbouring roads.

Grass Roots Planning was granted permission by Somerset West and Taunton Council in October 2019 to build 139 new homes on land either side of Normandy Avenue.

Newport-based developer Edenstone Homes acquired the site in late-2022 and submitted amended proposals in January 2023 for the same number of properties – plans which were subsequently revised further in early-2024.

Somerset Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to back the new proposals when it met on May 1, despite local fears about the safety of pedestrians on Doniford Road.

The site straddles three agricultural fields either side of Normandy Avenue and Cherry Tree Way, near the Liddymore Park development of 250 homes.

The main access will be from a new junction on Doniford Road at the site’s eastern edge, providing a direct link to the neighbouring village of Williton.

Under the original plans, a spine road would have run uninterrupted throughout the site to the northernmost homes, with Normandy Avenue being divided into two and accessed via staggered junctions.

Following discussions with the council’s planning and highways officers, this has been changed, with Normandy Avenue being retained as a continuous road and staggered junctions leading off it.

The existing farm track to Liddymore Farm will remain in place, allowing farm vehicles to pass through the development and maintaining the public right of way which provides access to Knights Templar Community Church School.

Alan Dyer, who lives in Williton, said he was concerned extra traffic from the new homes would lead to a “serious accident” on Doniford Road.

He told the committee: “The road from Williton to Doniford has a number of dangers. It is narrow (some of it is single track), it has no pavement, a large part of it has no verge, with hedges immediately adjacent to the road.

“I’ve feared for some time that the road will be the site of a serious accident. Doniford Road needs a footpath and cyclepath along its length.”

Christopher Mitchell, who lives on Cherry Tree Way, claimed that Edenstone Homes were not acting in good faith over the ownership of the site.

He said: “The current access road is deteriorating badly and is unsafe to use. The applicant has owned the road for the last two years, and despite residents’ attempts to get them to make repairs, nothing has been done.”

Matthew Kendrick, director of Grass Roots Planning, responded that the ownership of the site had been established when outline permission was granted and that he was not aware of any issues that had emerged since this time regarding this matter.

He added that Edenstone Homes had “engaged positively and pro-actively” with the council and “gone further” than the standards set out in the outline approval.

The town could grow by up to 50 per cent in the coming years, with decisions still pending on 280 new homes on the former Wansborough Paper Mill site and a further 230 homes on the Parsonage Farm site.