Bovis ‘delighted’ after new homes approved

February 28 2018
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HOUSEBUILDER Bovis Homes has said it is delighted after a scheme to build 203 new homes on land on the outskirts of Wells was given the go ahead.

At a meeting of Mendip District Council’s planning board on February 21, councillors unanimously approved plans for the Bovis Homes development at Priory Fields on Wookey Hole Road.

A decision on the application had been deferred in December, but the latest meeting heard that Bovis Homes had addressed issues of concern that were raised then, including the number of affordable homes and the travel plan.

They had also offered an additional £50,000 to Somerset County Council towards transport and infrastructure improvements in Wookey Hole.

Malcolm Gilmore, regional technical director at Bovis Homes, told Wells Voice: “We are delighted with the outcome and would like to thank Wookey Hole Residents Association, St Cuthbert Out Parish Council, Councillor Mike Pullin, Mendip District Council and all those who provided constructive feedback on the plans.

“We have worked hard with stakeholders to maximise the benefits of this development, including redesigning it from a predominantly three, four and five-bed scheme, to a one, two and three-bed location, to be much more in line with local need.

“The development will deliver 203 new homes, including 51 properties designated as affordable housing, as well as new cycle ways and footpaths, three play areas, land for the new primary school – planned for 2022 – and a £50,000 contribution towards local infrastructure and safeguarding the future of the 67 bus.

“We are now looking forward to getting on site and remain committed to working closely with our neighbours.”

At the planning board meeting, Councillor Pullin, the ward councillor, said: “Bovis have been very positive and haven’t been afraid to meet us and have been open about the whole thing. I believe they will do what they say.”

Councillors still had reservations about the impact of the extra housing, including on the local road network, schools and doctors’ surgeries. More than 170 homes are already being built at the adjoining David Wilson Homes site.

Councillor Danny Unwin said that he uses the Wookey Hole Road constantly, and said: “It is an absolute nightmare. Sadly there will be an accident sooner rather than later.”

Councillor Bryan Beha said: “What’s been overlooked is that Wookey Hole is probably the area’s principal tourist attraction. The road to Wookey Hole is perilous. Wookey Hole village is a serious traffic issue.”

Somerset County Council Highway Authority had no objections, though, and Councillor Tom Killen summed up the mood of several councillors when he said: “I think we’re between a rock and a hard place.

“Have we taken this application as far as we can to get the maximum public benefit before it goes to appeal? I think we probably have.”

There were pleas to try to retain the land set aside for the primary school for community use if the school is not subsequently built.

There was also discussion about the potential use of the £50,000, including its use to subsidise the threatened 67 bus service.