A DECISION whether to support or object to plans to build 330 homes east of Shudrick Lane in Ilminster, which have “split the town”, were put on hold at a public meeting last night (July 8).
Around 100 members of the public turned up to the meeting, at Greenfylde First School, but were told that Ilminster town councillors could not make a decision over the outline plans due to new information which had come to light from the Highways Agency.
The Highways Agency told South Somerset District Council to suspend the planning application for up to six months to allow developers CG Fry to submit more information on the impact of the development to the road network.
Cllr Andrew Shearman, who chaired the planning committee meeting, said: “We do not have all the information that we require as a town council to make a decision.”
Other councillors agreed it would be unwise to make a decision on the plans, given that all the facts were not in front of them.
Mayor Emma Jane Taylor said: “As we are told information is missing I would prefer to look at complete documentation.”
Cllr David Miller added: “It is wrong to attempt to make a decision when you do not have the best information.”
Councillors voted unanimously to defer a decision to a future date when CG Fry have provided the relevant road network information to the Highways Agency.
The plans include up to 330 homes, 116 of which would be affordable housing, made up of two, three and four-bedroom properties over two storeys.
They also include a relief road from Shudrick Lane to Townsend and Long Orchard Hill A spokesman on behalf of the applicants said that extra information will be sent to the Highways Agency within the next two weeks and said the suspension on their application can be lifted earlier than six months if the Highways Agency is happy with the information supplied to them.
Members of the public spoke both in favour and opposition to the plans.
Carmel Wilkinson had concerns over traffic and large heavy goods vehicles travelling through Kingstone.
Duncan Chalmers had concerns that housing applications in the pipeline will go beyond what is planned for Ilminster in the Local Plan.
There were also concerns over flood management and Robin Morrison said this is a “golden opportunity” for Ilminster Town Council to bring the town into the 21st Century.
He said: “All these plans should come together as one big plan for the town.”
Mark Woodcock added: “If the town council consider supporting development in Shudrick Lane it is contrary to the district council, county council and planning inspector.”
However, Gordon Charles supported the plans, saying Ilminster has been waiting for this for a long time.
He added: “A road to the east of the town does not exist at the moment so it will benefit the town in the long run - it has split the town.”