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VILLAGE REJOICE: Templecombe appeal win

VILLAGE REJOICE: Templecombe appeal win

Image: LDRS

Residents of a small Somerset village can rejoice after plans for 60 new homes were refused at appeal.

Gleeson Strategic Land Ltd. applied to build a new housing development on the Manor Farm site at the southern end of Templecombe, just off the busy A357.

The plans were widely opposed by locals – including former children’s TV presenter Valerie Singleton – and were refused permission by South Somerset District Council in August 2020.

The Planning Inspectorate has now upheld the council’s decision following a lengthy appeal hearing, meaning the homes will not go ahead.

Planning inspector Hayley Butcher sat for eight days in May and June, hearing evidence at a virtual inquiry and conducting a site visit on May 18.

Her decision was published ahead of a meeting of the council’s area east committee on Wednesday morning (July 14).

Ms Butcher stated that she believed developing the Manor Farm site to this extent would be “harmful” to the grade two-star listed Manor House and the nearby heritage assets.

She said: “Manor House is a 17th-century building, but is located on a much earlier medieval site which was a preceptory of the Knights Templars until 1300, and the Knights Hospitallers until 1540.

“The appeal site and the wider rural farming landscape to which it belongs are now the last link between the Manor House and its historic rural farming setting.

“Turning any part of this area into managed public open space would completely alter the setting to the Manor House, and the connection between the Manor House and its historic farmland setting would be irretrievably lost.”

Ms Butcher said the proposed building would create “a far harder, denser edge” to the village, which would be “impossible to disguise” even with considerable planting of trees and hedgerows.

She added that the development would not create enough “tangible and permanent employment opportunities” to be considers sustainable.

She said: “While the provision of housing on the appeal site would no doubt support, and even potentially secure existing facilities and services in Templecombe, the proposal would not, of itself, create any new community facilities or services, nor would it enhance any.

“The harm I have identified to the setting of Manor House is not outweighed by any of the scheme’s public benefits.”


Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter

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