A PLANNED development of 400 homes on the edge of Ilminster has been criticised as too large.

Outline planning permission has been granted to Persimmon Homes South West to build the homes on land off Canal Way.

Details, such as the road layout and the type of housing will need to be put forward in a reserved matters application, while the actual design of the new estate will be unveiled in a full planning application.

But members of Canal Way Action Group fear it will put too much pressure on the area’s infrastructure.

Group supporter Julie Fowler said: “There is a certain body of people within Ilminster who are very opposed to such a large development. They do appreciate there has to be some development, but they feel 400 homes is too many for the infrastructure. South Somerset District Council may like to reduce the number of homes, but it does really depend on the details of the full planning application and how the reserved matters are dealt with.”

Mrs Fowler added that locals are apprehensive about the impact the proposals could have on areas such as roads, medical facilities, transport, flood risk and associated drainage and the provision of additional school places.

The district council’s regulation committee approved the outline plans, originally submitted in January, despite widespread public opposition. The highways authority initially recommended the plan for refusal but changed its mind after Persimmon modified the site entrance to include two zebra crossings and ruled that a second access from Adams Meadow was for emergency vehicles only.

A district council spokesman said last week said: “The application was approved subject to legal agreement in relation to contributions towards community leisure facilities. There will be a number of conditions attached to the consent including time to submit reserved matters details etcetera.

“One of those requires the completion of the access and works to the roundabout before development on the houses commences.”

Ahead of the regulation committee, more than 160 members of the public had written to the district council to express their views on the application.