Fresh bid to build 165 new homes in Somerset village

More than 150 new homes could be built in a village near Bridgwater after an appeal was lodged by a major developer.

Gladman Developments applied in September 2019 to build 165 houses on the north side of the A39 in Cannington, near the Hinkley Point C park and ride car park.

Sedgemoor District Council turned down the outline plans in mid-November, arguing the access road would be too narrow and would cause road safety problems for both pedestrians and motorists.

But this decision could be overturned in the new year after Gladman lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

The proposed development site lies between Oak Tree Way and the park and ride site, just south of the village’s health centre.

Rather than surround the park and ride site entirely, much of the site’s northern edge will be dominated by communal green space near the Cannington Brook, with access being from Oak Tree Way.

Proposed access for 165 homes on Oak Tree Way in Cannington
Proposed access for 165 homes on Oak Tree Way in Cannington
(Image: Google Maps)

The council refused the outline plans on May 18 by delegated authority – meaning the decision was taken by its planning officers rather than by councillors during open committee.

Stuart Houlet, the council’s assistant director for inward investment and growth, laid out three grounds for refusal.

Narrow estate roads

All new roads constructed in Somerset have to meet legal standards for their width to prevent congestion and traffic incidents. The existing roads leading off from the site have “restricted width and poor alignment”, meaning Oak Tree Way would be “insufficient to serve as a means of access”.

Emergency vehicle access

Developments should ideally have more than one means of access to ensure that emergency vehicles can always access the homes in a time of crisis. Gladman’s designs allow for only one access, meaning there would be “limited accessibility” for paramedics

Conflict between pedestrians and motorists

On-street parking is discouraged in new developments to ensure fire engines and waste vehicles can access homes. Gladman’s proposed layouts, the council claims, will lead to more on-street parking and thereby “result in an increase in conflict between vehicles and pedestrians”

Notice of Gladman’s appeal was published ahead of a meeting of the council’s development committee on Tuesday (December 8).

The company said the development would provide much-needed new housing and deliver space for a new community hall at a later date

A spokesman said: “The proposed site is a suitable and sustainable location for new development.

“We believe that new homes will enhance the village and support its existing services and facilities.”

Due to ongoing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, a decision on the Oak Tree Way site is likely to be taken by written representations rather than a formal public inquiry.

The Planning Inspectorate is expected to publish its ruling in early-2021.

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