PLANS for more than 200 new homes could be approved for several sites across Mendip before the end of the year.

Planners at Mendip District Council are attempting to deal with a backlog of planning decisions following the Dutch N court ruling, which raised concerns about phosphate levels on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

Natural England has advised all Somerset’s local authorities to carry out additional assessments before approving any plans which could lead to higher phosphate levels – including major housing developers.

The council is already working on decisions for a number of major developments which are outstanding in the district – including its own Saxonvale regeneration scheme in Frome (300 homes and commercial space), the B3151 Somerton Road in Street (280 homes) and Little Keyford Lane in Frome (70 homes).

But since the Dutch N ruling in October, developers have put forward plans for a further 234 homes across six different sites – with villages near Frome bearing the brunt.

 

Here’s a rundown of the new developments which have been submitted to the council since the Dutch N ruling:

Anchor Road in Coleford (63 homes): Gladman Developments originally put forward plans for this site between Frome and Shepton Mallet in September 2019. The council refused the plans in August 2020, arguing they were “disproportionate” for the size of the village. The developer has now lodged an appeal and put these revised proposals forward as part of its legal challenge

Warminster Road in Beckington (45 homes): this site lies between the recently-completed Shepard’s Way development, the village’s tennis courts and the busy A36 leading to Bath. Stonewood Partnership (based in Badminton) wish to create pedestrian access to Shepard’s Way as well as preserving the existing woodland between the site and Goose Street.

This is The West Country: Plans For 40 Homes On Quarry Lane In Leigh-upon-Mendip. CREDIT: Brimble Lea & Partners. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

Quarry Lane in Leigh-upon-Mendip (40 homes, school playing field and car park): this site between Frome and Shepton Mallet lies near the impressive Halecombe Quarry, operated by Tarmac. The plans by T. & A. Land Associates (based in Frome) entail the construction of 40 homes to the north of Leigh-upon-Mendip First School, with a playing field and 30 car parking spaces separating the school and new homes

This is The West Country: Plans For 30 Homes On B3110 Frome Road In Norton St Philip. CREDIT: NVB Architects. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

B3110 Frome Road in Norton St. Philip (30 homes): The Trowbridge-based Springleaze Trading Ltd. wishes to build 30 new homes and a community orchard on the north side of the B3110 at the village’s south-east corner. Land to the east of the new homes could be set aside for a new primary school, which would be constructed at a later date

The Mead in Rode (29 homes): Ashford Homes (SW) Ltd. – which is based in Bradford-on-Avon – wishes to develop this greenfield site between The Mead and Straight Lane on the village’s western edge. The properties will range between one-bedroom flats and five-bedroom houses, with nine of the 29 properties being affordable

This is The West Country: Plans For 27 Homes At Fortescue Fields (Phase 2) In Norton St Philip. CREDIT: Fowler Architecture & Planning. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

Fortescue Fields at Norton St Philip (phase two – 27 homes): phase one of the Fortescue Fields was approved back in 2011, delivering 51 homes on the former chicken processing factory. Phase two was originally due to comprise 38 further homes, but Lochailort Investments withdrew these plans in June 2020 following public criticism. These amended plans reduce the number of new homes to 27 across two parcels of land, bordered by Mackley Lane and the B3110 Frome Road 

 

Somerset’s four district councils (including Mendip) estimated in early-December that nearly 800 planning applications had been affected by the Dutch N ruling, including developments that would deliver over 11,000 new homes.

The councils wrote to the government asking for a commitment that affordable housing funding would not be lost because of these delays, and demanding £140,000 to pay for extra staff to deliver these assessments.

Mendip District Council can be expected to make a decision on these new plans by the end of 2021.