PLANS to build almost 300 homes between Bridgwater and North Petherton have been described as “premature” by local councillors and “badly thought out” by local residents.

Bridgwater Gateway submitted plans for 292 homes and related infrastructure just south of Stockmoor village.

The development has been described by Bridgwater Gateway as “benefiting new and existing residents and the economic growth of the town as a whole and can help consolidate Bridgwater as a regional economic hub”.

The plans include provisions for cycle paths and bus routes to reduce road congestion and promote less car use.

However both local councillors and residents feel the plans have come much too early.

Cllr Anne Fraser, councillor for North Petherton, said: “The original permission for the site was for supply chain businesses and this proposal is obviously contrary to that permission.

“We welcomed the innovation centre and we want to see that and more business to be built. I believe it to be premature to be doing phase two before phase one.”

North Petherton Town Mayor Bill Revans said: "This area, which will be behind the first phase of the Bridgwater Gateway site, was identified for employment use, previously. Phase one, which has already been granted permission, will be adjacent to the A38 and will be for employment use associated with the Hinkley Point new nuclear build.

“This new residential development will be accessed through this commercial development with a bigger junction onto the A38 opposite the Rural Business Centre. The planned second access onto Campion Way has now been dropped. No details about how local education issues will be addressed in the application, what facilities might be provided for local residents or the mix of affordable housing that would be built."

He added: “I am sure residents of North Petherton, Stockmoor, Wilstock and Huntworth will be very interested in this application and will want to ensure that their views are heard."

Joanne Ennis, from Stockmoor, said: “More houses here will add to the already-horrendous road congestion getting into Bridgwater. It would result in more cars using the main route of Stockmoor village which goes straight past the junior school.”

“I already struggle to get out on the Huntworth roundabout on a morning and have had several near misses. This development will make it worse.”

Paula Reed, from North Petherton, said: “Schools in the area seem to be under a great deal of pressure, which these new dwellings can only add to.”

North Petherton Town Council is holding a special planning meeting at the community centre on Thursday at 8pm when local people are invited to have their views heard. Bridgwater Gateway consortium have been invited to the meeting to present their application Comments to Sedgemoor District Council must be received by April 5.