HOUSING: 400 homes near Taunton
The final stage of a crucial relief road near Taunton could soon be provided – if plans for hundreds of new homes are approved.
Crest Nicholson South West and West of England Developments (Taunton) Ltd. have put forward plans for 400 new homes on the Ford Farm site Norton Fitzwarren, north of the railway line.
As part of the development, the two firms will complete the construction of Great Western Way at the site’s southern edge, providing a relief road for the village and taking pressure off the B3227 between Taunton and Wiveliscombe.
Somerset West and Taunton Council is expected to make a decision on these plans by early-2022.
The site, which is included within the council’s Local Plan, lies between the B3227 and the mainline between Taunton and Exeter – including the connection to the West Somerset Railway (WSR) to Minehead.
The land nearest to Norton Fitzwarren’s heritage railway station – at the western edge of the site – will be left undeveloped to give the WSR the opportunity to enhance its facilities.
A spokesman for the Pegasus Planning Group (representing the developers) said: “The WRS has ambitions to utilise this land for a car park or other access to their rail line, with longer-term desires for a park and ride as part of services to Taunton railway station.
“The site lies within walking distance of a range of services and facilities, including a convenience store, medical centre, village hall, primary school and public house, as well as other shops and services within the local centre.
“Bus stops along the B3227 provide semi-regular services to Taunton.”
Great Western Way currently runs from the Langford Mews development at the eastern edge of the village to Home Terrace.
Under the newest plans, the completed relief road will run from the western end of the B3227 along the railway line and connect up with the existing Great Western Way.
Access to the new homes will be via the new relief road, with a footbridge being provided near the village hall and playground at the site’s north-east corner.
A total of 92 homes will be delivered in the first phase, with more detailed plans for the remaining 308 properties coming forward after outline approval is granted.
The developers have not confirmed at this stage how many of the new homes will be affordable, citing ongoing assessments of the site’s viability which are currently being completed.
While the Local Plan expects one hectare of the site to be set aside for employment use, the developers have argued the constraints of the site make it difficult to deliver this element.
A spokesman said: “Employment land is not being provided because the net develop-able amount of land, following a detailed review of the constraints of the site, is insufficient to provide this alongside 400 homes, the delivery of the flood alleviation scheme, the bypass and the associated areas of open space and other elements to accommodate the number of dwellings proposed.”
The council is expected to make a decision on the plans in early-2022. It is not currently clear whether this decision will be taken by the planning committee at a public meeting or via the delegated powers of planning officers.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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