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SOMERSET: Bridgwater Gateway phase 2

SOMERSET: Bridgwater Gateway phase 2

CREDIT: Google Maps.

Hundreds of new homes could be built near the M5 in Bridgwater under new proposals for a key site at the town’s southern edge.

The Bridgwater Gateway site lies to the west of the A38 Taunton Road, a short distance from Junction 24 of the M5, and currently contains a Premier Inn, a Costa Coffee branch and several employment units.

BoKlok Housing Ltd. has submitted an initial inquiry – known as a screening option – over the prospect of building 500 new homes on the site, along with further employment units and a 66-bed care home.

Sedgemoor District Council is expected to make a ruling on this request before Christmas – meaning more detailed proposals could come forward in the new year.

The screening request covers phase two of the Bridgwater Gateway construction, which is focused around land bordered by Willstock Way and the Stock Moor Rhyne.

While the site forms part of Bridgwater, it technically lies within the neighbouring parish of North Petherton.

Outline plans for phase one of the gateway site were approved by the council in December 2012, with the Premier Inn opening its doors in July 2019 and the Costa Coffee branch being approved in August 2020.

Access to the new site will be from the existing Compass Avenue, with new pedestrian and cycling facilities being included to link up with the existing Bridgwater Way network.

An earlier iteration of plans for the phase two site, comprising 292 homes, was rejected by the council in August 2014.

A spokesman for Walsingham Planning (representing the applicant) said: “Upon completion, the delivery of up to 500 residential units and 4.8 hectares of employment land is likely to provide benefits in respect of local housing demand, job creation and increased spending in the area.

“The introduction of a new residential population may lead to some demand on nearby community facilities, such as primary schools, healthcare facilities and secondary schools.

“However, it is considered that any effects that may require mitigation as a result of the proposed development and the increase in population would be secured by financial contributions through the community infrastructure levy (CIL).”

CIL allows local authorities to secure funding from developers for new infrastructure – such as schools, doctors’ surgeries and roads.

Unlike Section 106 agreements, which tie money to improving a specific housing site, CIL funds can be pooled from multiple developments and spent across the district.

The council’s planning officers are expected to make a decision on the screening option through their delegated powers before Christmas.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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