TAUNTON is to receive more than £300,000 to help boost the building of 13,000 new homes.

The cash comes from a £6 million pot announced by Housing Minister Esther McVey for 21 locations, including Taunton, which were previously awarded garden town status.

An additional £2 million, including £260,000 for the South West, will be given to councils in England to support new neighbourhood plans, the Minister said, allowing communities to have their say on the types of homes that are built and where they should be.

In Somerset, Mendip and South Somerset district councils will receive cash to drive neighbourhood plans forward.

The £260,000 funding allocation builds on the government’s commitment to giving communities a voice on the development in their areas, including prioritising local brownfield land while protecting the green belt.

The new funding will support local authorities to deliver neighbourhood plans by:

  • Providing advice and expertise to communities that want a neighbourhood plan;
  • Organising an independent examination of draft plans; and
  • Hosting local referendums that give communities a final say on these plans.
  • Supporting communities who want to deliver new neighbourhood plans but have not been able to.

Ms McVey said: “Communities are best placed to decide where the homes they need get built, what they look like and the infrastructure that goes along with it – this is what neighbourhood planning is all about, so I’m pleased this funding for the South West will ensure that the right homes are built in the right places.

“I am also announcing extra cash to deliver new vibrant garden communities, which will deliver tens of thousands of much-needed new homes for hardworking families.”

This extra funding for Taunton will be used for preparing environmental assessments and using the latest design techniques to develop areas with a garden town ethos.

MP for Taunton Deane, Rebecca Pow, said: “I am delighted that £340,000 of Government funding has been awarded to support Taunton’s Garden Town initiative which I campaigned long and hard for.

"I recently invited the Secretary of State for Housing and Communities, and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, down to Taunton and the funding announced today will be used for preparing environmental assessments and planning preparations in order to deliver 13,000 new homes.

"The Government’s commitment to new housing is commendable but it is essential that we build homes in the right place, with the right infrastructure and in an environmentally-friendly way and this funding will help to do just that.”