A HOUSING developer has slammed unnecessary restrictions which set him back 18 months and more than £1,500 on new homes near Chard, calling the decision “madness”.

Sam Lowings, of Tatworth, has hit out after a condition to impose traffic calming measures on his five-home build on Langdons Way was rescinded by the council.

Mr Lowings was also forced to fork out more than £1,500 on consultants and planning appeals, only to have Highways finally tell him that traffic calming measures were completely unnecessary.

Mr Lowings said: “There were 25 conditions placed on me when I arrived here. I have complied with all the conditions and I was just left with traffic calming conditions.

“18 months ago I approached the planning department and said I would do whatever they wanted. I first approached them in July 2015.

“I was told to go to different departments. In exasperation I put in my own suggestion. I knocked on doors of people along the street and said ‘do you think we need traffic calming measures’ and they said no, and I said I have been told we need them.

“I suggested two speed bumps, but I had no reply. That was in November 2015.

“It is all maddening. I wrote a letter to the chief executive in the December and I got a reply from his assistant that she was on holiday and then later I got a reply from the assistant’s assistant to say it had been passed on to another department.

“We undertook a radar survey and cars were going at a 20 to 22 mph anyway. The surveys cost me £1,200.

“I think there is natural traffic calming with cars parked on the bend and if you come down then you can see it.

“The planning application to remove the bumps was about £350, which I lost. It was actually suggested by the planners that I apply to have the condition rescinded and to my surprise I was refused.

“I was astonished. I was so confident that it was going through but then Highways vetoed it.

“I then had to go to appeal to get this. It took four months for me to get a response to that appeal. It is all madness.

“I even had support from the local speed watch community who wrote letters to say that we didn’t need anything, and that was when the appeal was upheld.

“This has been an enormous frustration. They wouldn’t tell me what they wanted me to do. The appeal was won finally on the grounds that traffic calming measures were not needed.”

Mr Lowings had some prospective residents agree to move into one of the homes. They sold their house and were nearly left without a place to live because of the condition that these homes couldn’t be occupied without the traffic calming measures in place.

If they had pulled out of the purchase, Mr Lowings would have been left thousands more pounds out of pocket.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “Mr Lowings initially had two options, which were to either comply with the planning condition or apply to have it removed.

"We gave constructive advice throughout to help Mr Lowings understand what was required to meet the planning condition.

"However, following protracted discussions, he finally decided to apply to have the condition removed. This followed normal planning process and was dealt with by South Somerset District Council.”

Mr Lowings added: “There was a third option. That was for the Highways authority to tell me what traffic calming measures they wanted me to introduce.”

A spokesman for South Somerset District Council said: “There have been some delays in receiving detailed comments from County Highway Authority, but their views have now just been received.

"There is also opposition from the local parish council that will need to be considered prior to a formal decision being made.”