SOMERSET: Land near A303 sold
Farmland between the A303 and a new specialist school in Somerset is being sold off by the county council for development.
Somerset County Council revealed in July that it would be working with the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver a new 120-place school near the village of Ash for children “social, emotional and mental health needs” between the ages of five and 16.
The new school, which has been dubbed the Martock-Ash Academy, will be run by the Wave Multi-Academy Trust and is expected to open its doors by 2023.
The council has now confirmed its decision to sell off the agricultural land between the new school and the A303 dual carriageway – though it is has not confirmed how the land could be reused.
The land in question comprises four agricultural fields between the school site on Main Street and the existing junction with the A303 leading to Ash and Tintinhull.
The junction lies north of the Cartgate roundabout and serves as a popular alternative route for commuters travelling to Yeovil.
Of the 90 acres (36.42 hectares) currently in the council’s ownership – following the sale of the local farmhouse in 2016 – 8.03 will be leased to the academy trust, with 43.83 acres (17.41 hectares) being disposed of at this juncture.
Since 2017, the council has been gradually selling off its farms, arguing that the rental income it receives does not represent value for money for taxpayers.
The council has not confirmed how much the land would be sold for, citing commercial sensitivity, but said it had “received interest in the land from a range of potential buyers”.
Charlie Field, the council’s estates strategic manager, said: “The asset is not required to support statutory operations, and is not considered to have particular strategic value.
“The option of retaining this site has been considered against this policy and has been rejected, as it does not meet the policy objectives.”
The site is not allocated for any form of development within South Somerset District Council’s Local Plan, which is currently under review.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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