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WATCHET: Decision looms on plans for 250 new homes

WATCHET: Decision looms on plans for 250 new homes

Image: LDRS

Residents of a Somerset coastal town could soon have another 250 homes on their doorstep if plans are approved next week.

Jamie Johnson of the Taunton-based Summerfield Developments has put forward plans to develop the Liddymore Farm site in Watchet, a short distance from the Knights Templar First School.

Up to 75 homes could be delivered in the first phase of the proposed development, with the rest being built out in the following years.

Somerset West and Taunton Council’s planning committee will meet on Thursday (June 10) to decide whether the development can go ahead.

The site lies at the south-eastern edge of Watchet, to the south of Liddymore Road and wraps around Liddymore Lane leading down towards Williton.

Outline permission for up to 250 homes on the site was granted by West Somerset Council in January 2018 – but the legal agreements with the developer were only finalised in April 2020.

Outline plans for 139 homes on a neighbouring site, between Cherry Tree Way and Doniford Road, were approved by the current council’s planning committee in October 2019 – though more detailed proposals have not yet been published.

Access to the new site will be from Liddymore Road, with a new T-junction being built where the existing road curves road on its approach to the school and a new car park for school staff being provided.

Liddymore Lane itself will be stopped up, with Liddymore Road expected to handle all the new traffic from the development as it is built out.

The first phase of development, comprising 75 homes on the area closest to Liddymore Road, will include 26 affordable homes, with 35 per cent of all the new homes on the site being affordable (the equivalent of 88 properties).

A spokesman for Summerfield Developments said: “The proposed development will provide a mixture of building types and sizes ranging from two- to four-bedroom houses, one- and two-bedroom bungalows and one-bedroom apartments to create a mixed and balanced community.

“The development proposal includes woodland areas, amenity space and natural green space for informal children’s play.

“The internal streets provide opportunities for informal socialising and play as many will be provided as intimate shared surface streets, where the pedestrian and cyclist have priority over the motor car.”

If approval is granted, the developer will provide £25,000 for a cycle link to connect the site with Doniford Road and just over £184,000 towards nursery provision at Knights Templar.

But the school has called for the plans to be withdrawn and reconsidered, arguing a roundabout would be a better solution to traffic issues than the proposed T-junction.

Chair of governors Linda Bulpin said: “The proposed development is a large development in an already busy area of Watchet, with other large housing developments for the town in the pipeline.

“The school, existing residents and new inhabitants in the estate will have to live with the highway recommendations which are approved; therefore, please ensure the very best that can be achieved in this area is accomplished and we will not have to live with traffic chaos forever and a day.”

Watchet Town Council has expressed its disappointment at the lack of green measures on the site which could mitigate the loss of green space.

Town clerk Sarah Reed said: “It is disappointing that there does not seem to be any provision for solar roof panels on the houses to reduce the carbon footprint of the development.

“Moreover, the opportunity to incorporate carbon neutral houses – also known as passive houses – has been missed.

“Such houses, while being more expensive to construct, could be sold for a premium price thus mitigating the reduction of units that would be needed to be a cost-neutral change to the housing mix provision proposed.”

Williton Parish Council has also objected to the detailed plans, arguing they do not go far enough to tackle traffic concerns.

Parish clark Jo Holmes said: “Both Liddymore Road and Doniford Road are too narrow for construction traffic and would result in an increase in traffic flow.

“If passed, we would request timed access for construction traffic to site being after 10am and before 3pm, due to the close proximity to the school.”

The planning committee will meet on Thursday (June 10) at 1pm to discuss the plans. The meeting will be live-streamed via the council’s website.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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