By Harry Mottram: Sedgemoor District Council’s planning department has said anyone wishing to make a comment on the proposed Bellway Homes development in the town have until February 15, to do so.

The land to the south of Houlgate Way could see 53 new homes constructed with 30% of them listed as affordable housing. Previously it had been for outline planning permission since the plans were submitted again in November the proposal is for ‘Approval of reserved matters, for appearance, landscaping, layout and scale for the erection of 53no. Dwellings (30% affordable housing).’

It is understood that Houlgate Way may lose 18 parking spaces on the road along with the felling of two mature trees to make way for the development. The picture is the view from the top of the site looking down the hill with Houlgate Way on the left

To register a comment, visit the Sedgemoor District Council Planning Portal and key in the Application Number 02/22/00021. You must include your name and address and your comments will be in the public domain.

The proposed planning application was in 2020 when councillors in Bridgwater voted it through by a margin of 10-2. It was opposed by Cllr Mike Murphy of Burnham-on-Sea who said having 125m distance between the farm and the homes was unacceptable. He said: “Would the planners accept a proposal to build a chicken farm next to a housing estate? No.” He demanded a site visit before any vote which was ignored. Cllr Revan of North Petherton also opposed the plans at the vote in 2020.

District Cllr Liz Scott raised the issue of extra traffic and the loss of parking spaces in Houlgate Way as well as the ‘high visual effect’ the development would have on the town especially in relation to the Grade II listed Compton House which would be next to the new estate. She raised the issue of land drainage and of a footpath as well as saying that under a Tier 2 settlement all the requirements had to be met which she said had not on a number of levels listing a number of points – all rejected on technicalities by the planning officer.

The then mayor of Axbridge and town councillor Barbara Wells also spoke against the plans. She said at the time: “The offer of a public car park accessed seemingly via the estate to balance the loss of at least 18 on road parking spaces in Houlgate Way will not help with existing parking issues in the Town.”

One of the main objections is the site is outside of the Axbridge settlement boundary and is not allocated for housing within the council’s Local Plan, which runs until 2032. Another issue is the site since 2020 has been sold to Bellway by Hannick. Bellway are based in Newcastle upon Tyne and are marketing the Houlgate Way development as Lavender Rise with a selection of four and five bedroom properties – the firm is also behind the current development at Helliers Lane in Cheddar.

Sedgemoor District Council will cease to exist on April 1 when there will be one unitary council – Somerset County Council.

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