9 sites in Somerset that could deliver nearly 4,900 new homes

Almost 4,900 new homes in Somerset will be delivered over the next decade on just nine major development sites.

Somerset West and Taunton Council has carried out a review of its local plan, which dictates the number of homes and new jobs that will need to be delivered in the district over the coming years and decades.

The review aims to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the district, identifying which sites are most likely to be developed and on what time scale.

The delivery of new housing and commercial developments in the district has been heavily impacted by Dutch court case N and the resulting Natural England guidelines – which require additional mitigation measures for any new development likely to increase phosphate levels on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

The former Taunton Deane area – which includes Bishop’s Lydeard, Taunton, Wellington and Wiveliscombe – has been particularly crippled by the decision, with the council voting in October 2021 to borrow £2m to create new wetlands in a desperate bid to free up land for new housing. .

Artist’s impression of the redevelopment of 1 Bridge Street in Taunton – Somerset West and Taunton Council.

In light of these restrictions, the council has identified nine sites which will deliver a combined total of 4,898 homes over the next ten years – all of which are in various stages of approval or construction.

The list does not include sites which may become more suitable for development in the near future, nor the council’s own housing projects – such as the Seaward Way council houses in Minehead, or the North Taunton Woolaway regeneration scheme, or residential elements. of the Coal Orchard regeneration program in Taunton town centre.

The list also does not include phase two of the urban extension from Monkton Heathfield to Taunton (comprising over 1,200 homes), as the bulk of the valuation work was carried out in late 2021 before plans were officially released. of phase two.

Here is an overview of the nine sites in question:

  1. Comeytrowe Town Extension in Taunton (2,000 homes plus employment units, primary school and ‘park and bus’): The Comeytrowe Town Extension (also known as Orchard Grove) is the largest of the three urban extensions around Taunton, located between the A38 Wellington Road and Honiton Road. Overall permission was granted in April 2018, and numerous applications for different plots of land on the site have been submitted over the following years. The council estimated that 367 houses will have been delivered by April 2027 (along with the new primary school), with the remainder to follow by 2032.
  2. Staplegrove Urban Extension in Taunton (1,628 housing plus employment units and primary school): Staplegrove Urban Extension, northwest of Taunton, comprises two separate sites – Staplegrove West (713 housing plus employment employment) and Staplegrove East (915 housing units and a new elementary school). Plans for the first phase of the Staplegrove West site, involving the creation of a green buffer zone around the site, were submitted in April, while the outline of proposals for the Staplegrove East site are due back before the council planning later in the year. The council estimates that, pending the easing of phosphates, the first houses could start construction in 2024
  3. The former Wansborough Paper Mill on the B3191 Brendon Road in Watchet (350 homes plus hotel, leisure facilities and ‘visitor information centre’): Tameer Homes originally proposed to build ‘up to 400’ homes on the site of the former paper mill (which closed in 2015), but this has now been scaled back to a maximum of 350 homes. The council believe a decision on the plans will be made before the end of the year, although the new homes will not start construction until 2025/26 due to the need to decontaminate the site, which has already cost the owner over £1 million. From there, the site will be built at the rate of 50 homes per year
  4. Land north of the A39 Priest Street in Williton (350 homes plus employment units, leisure facilities and public open spaces): Wyndham Estate’s plans for this development have been approved by the council’s planning committee in November 2021, a resident claiming he would turn Williton into “the Milton Keynes of the south”. The developer has indicated that it will submit further plans for the site, detailing the design and layout of the houses, by the end of 2022, with a view to commencing construction by 2024. The council believes that approximately 40 homes per year will be delivered within site, although this may accelerate once the initial infrastructure is in place
  5. Land at Liddymore Lane in Watchet (250 homes): Summerfield Homes is currently building the Liddymore Park development on the edge of Watchet, following approval of a new scheme by the council’s planning committee in June 2021. Neighboring Knights Templar Primary School has recently been completed, with the first phase of 75 houses expected to be available for purchase by early 2023. The council estimates that 39 houses will be delivered to the site per year, which means the development will be fully built by April 2029.
  6. Land at Taunton Road in Bishop’s Lydeard (173 houses): David Wilson Homes is currently building the 173 house Moorland Gate development at the southern entrance to Bishop’s Lydeard, near the crucial A358 between Taunton and Williton. Approval for the development was granted in April 2019, with the first 63 homes to be completed by April 2022. The remaining 110 homes will be delivered over a two-year period, meaning construction will finish in early 2024 .
  7. Land east of Doniford Lane in Williton (90 homes): The Wyndham Estate was granted planning permission for this development by West Somerset Council in February 2019. The land has since been sold to Linden Homes, who have already built 15 homes in what has been dubbed the Orchard Brooks site. The council estimates that the remaining homes will be delivered by April 2024, with the majority coming into use within the next 12 months.
  8. Michael Paul House on Tower Street in Taunton (57 homes): The council’s Taunton 2040 Vision document identified this former office complex as delivering up to 29 new homes. However, planning permission for up to 57 apartments within Michael Paul House has been in place since 2019, with the developer telling council the conversion could be completed by the end of the 2024/25 financial year. The council added: ‘There are no known legal or ownership issues which could limit future development.
  9. The A3807 Tangier Way and Wood Street in Taunton (number of units undetermined): A total of 72 additional care apartments have already been delivered to the former site of the Lidl store on the A3807 Tangier Way by Churchill Retirement Living, in which was nicknamed ‘Riverain Lodge’. Two adjacent sites on Wood Street have been identified for development as part of the council’s Taunton 2040 vision – the Poundstretcher branch at the corner of A3027 Bridge (which was recently demolished) and the nearby ‘Third Way’ site. The council did not say how many homes these two could produce, although it said the sites will not come up until flood prevention work on the left bank of the River Tone is complete.