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Action stations as villages fight housing plans
FIVE villages in Taunton Deane have joined forces to fight housing developers “swamping” their homes.
Residents in Cotford St Luke, Creech St Michael, Milverton, North Curry and Churchinford fear their villages are in danger of being taken over by developers taking advantage of what they describe as “a planning free-forall”.
The villages have all been identified as minor rural centres as part of Taunton Deane Council’s Site Allocation Development Management Plan, which aims to build at least 250 new homes by 2028.
An action group chaired by Phil Stone, district councillor for North Curry, has been set up, and he said the villages were being “besieged” by the big developers.
He said: “We’re in crisis mode because we’re facing a situation where developers are banging in plans because they see a policy vacuum at Taunton Deane Council.”
Council planners are due to consider applications for more than 80 houses in North Curry next month, while Milverton faces a 25% increase in the size of the village if proposed developments are accepted.
In Churchinford, developers are pressing for 30 more houses in addition to 22 already under construction, while in Creech St Michael 132 houses have already been given the green light.
Taunton Deane Council says there is no ‘50 homes per village agreement’ and the availability of infrastructure, such as school places or drainage capacity, will be factors in influencing the decision on where houses are built and to meet affordable housing needs.
A spokesman said not all applications are being accepted, but the Government’s planning policy document states that where an up to date plan is not in place applications will be granted permission unless adverse impacts significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.
The spokesman said: “Developers have always been allowed to ‘apply anywhere’ and their applications have always been ‘treated on their merits’.”
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