PLANS to build 450 new homes on land south of Canal Way have been slammed by Ilminster Town Council.

Planning, highways and transport committee chairman Andrew Shearman told Persimmon’s representative: at the meeting, ‘your company does not listen to what the people of this town want’.

Persimmon Homes planner Jamie Grant said the company was working to address a number of the objections regarding issues with access and infrastructure but councillors were not impressed, ten voting to recommend that the application be refused and by 10 votes to none, with one abstaining.

In his presentation Mr Grant said Persimmon was encouraged by the district council to submit the application, and said although it is up for 450 homes, in reality it may not be that many, and it will not happen overnight as the build would take place in phases.

Ilminster resident Jonathan Allen said: “This council has previously turned down an application on this site for fewer houses, and I think it should refuse this one as well.

“There could be 900 people that need jobs to find work and there are simply not enough jobs for them here,” he said.”

Cllr June Fowler questioned various aspects of Persimmon’s proposals, saying: “Their estimations for the length of time it will take to walk seem very optimistic. There is even a suggestion that people could walk into town and return by taxi – what planet are they living on?” Cllr Fowler said.

Cllr Andrew Shearman also cited a number of issues including the roads and number of cars Persimmon were predicting the new residents would have: “I think the transport plan severely underestimates the number of cars that people on the estate will use,” Cllr Shearman said.

“You say it will add one or two minutes to road journeys, I think that figure should be doubled. I also do not think the road width is suitable for emergency vehicles getting in and out of the estate – the health and safety of the general public is my main concern.”

Mayor Cllr Val Keitch, mayor of Ilminster, said the town should not make up for the district’s housing shortfall of housing in the district, having already met the targets outlined in the Local Plan.

She said: “Ilminster will not make up the shortfall so that housing targets can be achieved. The town is rapidly expanding in size and I do not see how we will get the infrastructure to accommodate all of these new people.”

Cllr Keitch added: “At a previous meeting I asked about access issues three times, and three times I was fobbed off, and I am no more satisfied about the situation now, these concerns simply have not been addressed.”

Cllr Don Kinder said: “There are a number of fields within the developmental area which suffer from flooding in the winter months and when summer downpours occur the drainage that is in place is unable to deal with these floods.”

The committee recommended the application be refused, citing concerns with transport, trade, design and structure, impact on the environment, overdevelopment, impact on existing rights of way and emergency vehicle access.

Following the meeting, Simon Perks, managing director at Persimmon Homes South West, said: “We are working alongside South Somerset District Council and the County Council on the application and will continue to work closely with them to provide much needed housing in the area.”