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HOUSING: Plan for dozens of new homes in Minehead

HOUSING: Plan for dozens of new homes in Minehead

Image: LDRS/Google

Dozens of new homes could be built at the southern edge of Minehead after outline plans were approved.

George and Andrew Townsend submitted proposals in October 2019 to build 60 homes to the south of the A39 Hopcott Road, which connects the town to Porlock and the Exmoor National Park.

Minehead Town Council recommends that the plans be refused, citing a lack of contributions towards local services and a possible rise in flood risk.

But Somerset West and Taunton Council has now given the plans the green light – nearly two years after the development was first proposed.

Planning permission is already in place for two other sites on Hopcott Road, each of which are included in the council’s Local Plan.

Plans for 71 homes immediately to the east of the Townsend site were put forward by the Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England) and approved by West Somerset Council’s planning committee in April 2018.

A further 80 homes to the west of the Minehead Caravan and Motorhome Club campsite were approved by officers in September 2016.

The Townsends have not specified how many of the new homes on their site will be affordable, but they have promised to provide 162 car parking spaces along the snaking estate road.

The plans also include provision for a children’s play area as well as recreation space at the western edge of the new road.

A spokesman for CSA Environmental (representing the applicants) said: “The new homes will be supported by significant new areas of public open space, which will include a new children’s play area, new recreational routes and areas for more informal recreational activities such as picnicking.

“The development will be a sustainable and positive addition to Minehead, enabling a healthy expansion to the existing town while also corresponding well with the position of other new development in the area.

“The design will provide up to 60 new homes through a layout that is responsive to and respects the topography of the site.”

An existing farm track opposite the junction with Cher will not be used, with a new access road being installed to the west and ending near the existing telecommunications mast.

Minehead Town Council considered the plans in December 2019, voting to recommend their refusal on the grounds of highway safety, flooding concerns and “lack of infrastructure”, especially the impact on local doctors’ surgeries.

The district council, by contrast, said these issues could be adequately addressed through legal agreements once more detailed proposals had come forward.

Planning officer Alex Lawrey said: “Concerns regarding flooding and drainage have been addressed to the satisfaction of the Internal Drainage Board, and suggested conditions for drainage infrastructure from the board and highways officer would be appended to any permission granted.”

The Townsends have not indicated how soon a reserved matters application for their site (detailing the design, layout and composition of the new homes) could come forward.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter

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