Approval for 100 houses to be built
UP to 100 new houses are going to be built on the edge of Wells.
Mendip District Council’s planning board has approved an application for outline planning permission for up to 100 homes on land off Elm Close.
A decision had been deferred in November to allow the applicant, Gladman, to address a number of issues that councillors raised then.
The application came back before the board on January 22, when eight councillors voted in favour of it, and four against.
Among measures agreed by Gladman after the deferral are a second access point to the new development, a footpath along the front of the site, and money towards local open space provision and the number 67 bus.
As before, a number of board members expressed concerns about the additional strain on the local infrastructure with so much new housing in the area.
“I’m amazed how much housing is being built in Wells and I think how on earth are they going to cope with the schools and the surgeries? This is just going to add to the problem as far as I can see,” said Councillor Steve Henderson.
“I don’t want to see green fields and wildlife destroyed just to build houses that we don’t need,” said Councillor Lucie Taylor-Hood. She said that there was not the infrastructure to support 100 new families in Haybridge, plus those who would live in the 220 new homes about to be built on the other side of the A371.
“I wonder if we are not just hitting Wells with this big housing stick all the time. It doesn’t all have to be in Wells,” said Councillor Matt Martin.
Councillor Francis Hayden said that the reason these developments are taking place in Wells is because the sites were identified by Mendip council in the first place, and developers have come forward to develop them.
“We’re going to end up with houses that can’t be sold and sites that can’t be developed,” he said, but pointed out that central government had dictated that extra housing has to be built above the requirement calculated by Mendip.
He said that if the application was refused, the developer would win an appeal and the council would be left with extra costs.
St Cuthbert Out Parish Council, Wells City Council and Wookey Parish Council had all raised objections to the application.
The district council has allocated the site for development in its Emerging Local Plan, and the planning officer’s recommendation was to approve the application.
Councillor Nigel Woollcombe-Adams said that he had not heard a valid planning reason for turning down the application, that heads had to rule hearts, and that he had to support the officer’s recommendation to approve the application.
Forty of the 100 homes will be affordable housing, and some land on the site has been allocated for an extension to Wells Cemetery.