Sites in Wells and Westbury-sub-Mendip could deliver at least 365 new homes in the coming years

By Tim Lethaby

8th Oct 2021 | Local News

More than 2,700 additional homes could be delivered in Mendip by the end of the decade following a decision by planning inspectors.

Mendip District Council's Local Plan identifies sites where housing, employment and leisure facilities can be provided in the short- and medium-term, as well as identifying areas where new schools, roads or other infrastructure improvements will be needed.

After Part I of the plan was adopted in 2014 (identifying major sites for new housing), the council put forward further sites in Part II, which was subject to public hearings in 2020.

The Planning Inspectorate has now approved this plan, with the council expected to make a formal part of its planning policies by the end of the year.

The Local Plan Part II came before the council's cabinet when it met in Shepton Mallet on Monday evening (October 4), complete with a list of 37 sites where the new homes and other amenities will be delivered.

The sites are expected to deliver a minimum of 2,764 homes over the Local Plan period, which runs up to 2029.

However, the final total may vary depending on the individual applications which come forward.

Since the initial examination of Part II began, a number of the sites have either been approved for development or have become the subject of ongoing consultations.

Here's a breakdown of the 37 sites identified in the Local Plan Part II:

Land south of Great Dunns Close, Beckington (min. 28 dwellings): this site involves extending the existing housing estate to the south, with a green buffer between the estate and the existing homes on Goose Street. Redrow Homes has put forward plans for 30 homes on this site, with the council's planning board expected to make a decision on the proposals on Wednesday evening (October 13)

Land east of Sub Road, Butleigh (min. 25 dwellings): this site lies behind the existing properties on Sub Road, south of the Holm Oaks development. Land Value Alliances LLP was refused permission to build 32 homes on this site in May 2019, with the council's decision being upheld by the Planning Inspectorate in April 2020

Last east of Newbury Cottages, Coleford (min. 21 dwellings): this site lies north of Highbury Street, sandwiched between existing houses and farm buildings to the north. This location was referenced in August during a planning inquiry into plans for 63 homes on Anchor Road at the other end of the village – the result of which is expected before Christmas

Land near The Pound Inn, A39 Main Road, Coxley (community use): the Local Plan Part II designates this site near the now-defunct pub for the provision of a community facility or village hall. Plans for a new community hub and eight dwellings (which will subsidise the building of the hub) were put forward by the Coxley Community Land Trust in late-2019 and were approved by planning officers in April 2020

Land at Back Lane, Ditcheat (min. 5 dwellings): this site lies on a country road connecting the A37 and A371, both of which lead to Shepton Mallet. Kevin Bird and Hayley Hyde-Andrews applied to build five homes on this site in November 2018, with the council granting permission in April 2019

Land south of Wraxall Road, Ditcheat (min. 16 dwellings): this site comprises agricultural land at the eastern edge of the village, to the east of the existing properties on Folly Drive. Any new development will be expected to contribute significantly towards Ditcheat Primary School, which is "close to capacity"

Land at Westfield Lane, Draycott (min. 33 dwellings): this site lies close to the border with the Sedgemoor district, with access needing to be formed from spaces between the existing homes on Westfield Lane. Any scheme here will have to be sensitively designed to take account of the site's proximity to the Mendip Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB)

Land south of Little Keyford and The Mount, Frome (min. 325 dwellngs): this allocation comprises three fields either side of the B3092 The Mount at Frome's southern edge. Plans for a combined total of 318 homes across the three fields have been put forward by different developers, with the council's planning board to decide the fate of the first 70 homes (with access off Little Keyford Lane) on Wednesday (October 13)

Saxonvale regeneration site, Frome (min. 250 dwellings plus employment units): the Local Pln Part II has clarified the mixture of housing and employment provision on the site, as well as the council's expectations for how the River Frome corridor will be enhanced. The council's planning board voted to approve the Acorn Property Group's scheme for 300 homes and commercial premises for a second time in mid-September, despite the threat of a judicial review

Land at Sandys Hill Lane, Frome (min. 200 dwellings plus employment units): this allocation envisions new employment provision near the existing Sainsbury's supermarket, with the homes being built either side of Sandys Hill Lane. Outline plans for 235 homes and commercial units were approved by the council's planning board in July 2020, with Curo putting forward revised plans for 198 homes in August 2021 and a separate application for the commercial space being expected shortly

Land at Little Keyford Lane, Frome (min. 20 dwellings): this site lies on the opposite side of Little Keyford Lane to Wainhomes' proposed development of 70 homes as part of The Mount allocation. This site has been included within the proposals for the Selwood Garden Community in southern Frome, which if approved will deliver up to 1,700 new homes

Land at Marston Gate, Frome (employment use only): this site lies off the B3090 Marston Road, to the south of the existing Sainsbury's supermarket. Plans for a new business park were put forward by Southwark Investments in April 2019, with planning officers approving the proposals in February 2020

Glastonbury highway depot, Wells Road, Glastonbury (min. 62 dwellings): this depot, operated by Skanska, lies behind the Avalon Motors car dealership on the southern side of Wells Road. The council has stressed that any development on this site should not compromise views from either the Tor or St Edmund's Hill

Glastonbury allotments, Lowerside Lane, Glastonbury (min. 50 dwellings): the Local Plan intends for these allotments to serve as "a logical extension to the adjoining large site", where Keepmoat Regeneration and the Sanctuary Housing Association are delivering 133 new homes. The site is "one of the few viable options to provide for the housing needs of the town", with the possibility of an additional access being created onto Lowerside Lane itself

Frogmore Garage, A361 Street Road, Glastonbury (min. 25 dwellings): this commercial building lies on the southern side of the busy A361, just across the road from a new homelessness facility being created by YMCA Brunel. In light of its brownfield status, a large amount of remediation may be needed to decontaminate the land before construction can commence

Lintells and Avalon Garage, Wells Road, Glastonbury (min. 25 dwellings): this site lies in a predominantly residential area, and is in close proximity to local bus stops serving the town centre. As with the nearby highways depot, any development on this site should not compromise views from the Tor

Avalon Motors, Wells Roads, Glastonbury (min. 5 dwellings): redeveloping this site is dependent upon Avalon Motors successfully relocating to a more appropriate location. Access will have to be carefully structured to ensure the Skanska site to the south can still be reached

Morlands, Beckery Old Road, Glastonbury (travellers' site and employment use): the Morlands site has proven a political hot potato in recent years, culminating in a high-profile court case spanning 2017 and 2018. Improving this site is one of 12 projects included in the £23.6M Glastonbury town deal, along with renovating the nearby Baily's Buildings and upgrading the nearby sewage treatment plant operated by Wessex Water

Land at Station Road, Gurney Slade (min. 11 dwellings): this site lies to the north of Station Road, with the new homes expected to wrap around the back of the existing properties on the A37 Marchant's Hill. Any approved development will include contributions towards the local school and improvements to the existing Station Road access

Land at Park Hill, Mells (min. 4 dwellings): this infill site lies less than a mile from Whatley Quarry, nestled between existing residential properties and the base of the Just Slovenia tourism company. Any development here will have to take account of the large local bat populations and numerous grade one listed buildings nearby, including St. Andrew's Church and Mells Manor

Land near the White Post Inn, A367 Green Park Road, Midsomer Norton (min. 250 dwellings): while Midsomer Norton and Radstock both lie within the Bath and North East Somerset Council area (BANES), several sites on their existing boundaries are allocated within the Mendip Local Plan. Waddeton Park Ltd. has put forward plans for 270 homes on this site, with the council expected to make a decision on the application by Christmas

Land east of A367 Fosseway South, Midsomer Norton (min. 145 dwellings): located on the opposite side of the A367 to the White Post site, this area also lies on the border between the Mendip and BANES areas. Any developer taking on this site will be expected to prevent extensive cycling links to both the main road into Midsomer Norton and a secondary link to the B3139 at the site's south-eastern edge

Land south of Underhill Lane, Midsomer Norton (min. 60 dwellings): this site on the western edge of Midsomer Norton lies south of Underhill Wood, which has been designated as a local wildlife reserve. Any developer granted approval by the council will be expected to provide a new access road from Orchard Vale to prevent the existing reserve being damaged

Land west of Mackley Lane, Norton St Philip (min. 27 dwellings): this contentious site at the southern edge of the village has been earmarked for phase two of the Fortescue Fields development. Lochailort Investments put forward amended plans for 27 homes here in January, with a decision expected very shortly

Land at Green Pits Lane, Nunney (min. 70 dwellings): this sites lies between the existing homes in the village and the Nunney Catch services on the busy A361 between Shepton Mallet and Frome. David Wilson Homes is currently construction what has been dubbed Delamere Park after amended plans were approved by the council's planning board in April

Land off Fosse Lane, Shepton Mallet (employment and industrial use): this site lies between the Mendip Distribution Centre and the Cannard's Grave roundabout where the A361, A37 and A371 arterial roads all meet. The council intends for the site to provide offices and light industrial spaces, with access being created off Frampton Road

Land east of Frog Lane, Stoke St. Michael (min. 30 dwellings): this site lies at the western edge of the village, just north of the recreation ground and a short distance from Stoke St. Michael Primary School. Any successful application here will either have to contribute funding for school places or provide a parcel land for its expansion

Land south of A39 Quarry Batch, Street (min. 400 dwellings and new primary school): also known as the Street Future Growth Area (FGA), this site is expected to provide a new primary school alongside hundreds of new homes at the western edge of Street. Any development must include accesses from the A39 and Brooks Road, with a green buffer and recreation area being incorporated at the eastern edge near the existing properties

Land west of B3151 Somerton Road, Street (min. 280 dwellings): this substantial site lies at the southern edge of the village, a short distance from Millfield School. Plans have been put forward by the Ninesquare Trust, which owns this site, but the council has not yet decided their fate

Land north of Cemetery Lane, Street (min. 32 dwellings): this site lies at the north-western edge of the village, bordered by the cemetery and the existing homes on Portland Road. Aster Housing is expected to shortly submit plans to 33 homes for the site as part of its social housing partnership with the council

Land south of Street Business Park, Gravenchon Way, Street (employment units): the Local Plan envisions the existing Street Business Park being extended towards the A39 Quarry Batch, providing new retail and light industrial premises. Canynge Bicknell (Street) Ltd. has submitted outline plans for new business premises, along with a residential care home, extra care units, food and drink units and a new access onto the A39

Land south of Burcott Road, Wells (min. 120 dwellings): this site, also known as Bubwith Walk, lies at the south-western edge of the city between the Wessex Water sewage treatment plant and the existing homes leading off Jocelyn Drive. As part of any development, the Local Plan encourages housebuilders to provide a buffer between any new homes and the nearby local nature reserve

Land south of B3139 Elm Close, Wells (min. 100 dwellings): the Local Plan intends for this site in the west of the city to not come forward for development until 2025. However, Gladman Developments was granted permission to build 100 homes on this site in January 2020, meaning the homes could come forward a lot sooner than originally hoped

Land at Wells Rugby Club, Charter Way, Wells (min. 80 dwellings): any development of this site is dependent upon the relocation of the rugby club to a site in the Haybridge area. Access is expected to be delivered via Charter Way without compromising the existing facilities at Wells Leisure Centre

Tincknells depot, A39 Strawberry Way, Wells (min. 25 dwellings and employment units): this brownfield site lies off the busy A39 and is bordered by the Wells Health Centre and the St Andrew's mental health ward, which has been threatened with closure. Any development approved on this site will have to ensure the new homes are not at risk from flooding from the nearby St Andrew's Stream

Land north of Wells Touring Park, A371 Portway, Wells (relocation of rugby club facilities): this greenfield site lies at the western edge of Wells, not far from a development of 220 homes being constructed jointly by Persimmon Homes Severn Valley and Taylor Wimpey. There is the possibility of Wells Tennis Club relocating along with the rugby club, but this will depend on how soon the site comes forward and the amount of space provided

Land south of Roughmoor Lane, Westbury-sub-Mendip (min. 40 homes): this site, in the ward of council leader Ros Wyke, lies to the east of the Robert Glanville Playing Fields and the associated skate park. Any new development will be expected to provide a new safe access road to connect the new homes to the A371 to Wells

Several councillors took exception to the number of homes which rural communities in the district would be expected to provide, including the Fortescue Fields site in Norton St Philip.

Councillor Barbie Lund said: "The inspector's report is flawed. That site is a greenfield site outside the settlement boundary.

"Norton St Philip has already provided a disproportionate number of dwellings during the Local Plan period."

Councillor Michael Dunk added: "There is no need for a further 505 houses in the north-east of the district.

"The inspector does seem to be slightly biased in bulldozing more housing to us, when the reality suggests we don't need it in that area."

Councillor Garfield Kennedy, portfolio holder for planning and development management, said that proposals for each of the identified site would be subject to the standard planning procedures.

He said: "We are in danger of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

"We have an inspector's report which has gone through a rigorous process, which we are not in a position to ignore. It is still subject to the full planning process."

The Local Plan Part II is expected to be ratified by the full council before Christmas.


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