A CONTROVERSIAL development in Chard could be approved today (Wednesday) despite strong opposition.

Summerfield Homes originally submitted proposals to demolish buildings and build 24 homes off Touchstone Lane in May last year but was forced to amend its plans twice after several issues were raised.

Particular causes for concern included flooding, existing bungalows in Laurel Gardens being overlooked and the fact that the development is not within the Chard Regeneration Plan as detailed in the district council’s Local Plan proposals.

Other concerns were that the new homes would not be in keeping with the area, the impact on traffic and restricted access for carnival floats which travel through Touchstone Lane.

The latest changes, submitted earlier this month, have most noticeably addressed the matter of homes being overlooked, with Summerfield Homes proposing that the planned maisonettes nearest the neighbouring bungalows will now be bungalows instead.

South Somerset District Council’s planning officer, Andrew Gunn, has recommended that members of the Area West committee approve the application at their meeting today.

But approval is recommended subject to completion of specific Section 106 planning obligations: that 35% of the development is affordable housing and that the developers make £112,742.91 available for play, sport and strategic facilities in the area.

Members of Chard Town Council's planning committee voted to recommend refusal of the development at their meeting on Monday, as they did when they first considered the plans.

Cllr Dave Bulmer said: “We are happy that they responded to the issue of existing properties in Crimchard being overlooked by the new buildings but we are still recommending refusal, mainly on the grounds of flooding.

“That area is already liable to flooding and we feel that building more properties there would only make it worse.

“This committee is quite against it, however, Chard Town Council is only a consultee – the decision will be made by South Somerset District Council's planning committee.”