A VILLAGE near Ilminster has been labelled as “unsustainable” by councillors as plans to build 25 new houses on the border were rejected.

South Somerset District Council’s Area West planning committee recommended refusal for an application which would see the new homes build on a field next to the villages outdoor play area.

However, the houses could still be built, as the plans have gone to the council’s regulation committee.

Linda Piggott-Vijeh, the district councillor for the Neroche ward, said the layout of Ashill means the application would have more of an impact.

She said: “There are just over 200 houses in Ashill at the moment. This would add 10 per cent more houses to the village, but when you look at where it is placed, the impact on that particular area is more likely to be 30 or 40 percent.”

She was one of several councillors who questioned the sutainability of the village.

Cllr Piggott-Vijeh added: “If anything, the community is becoming increasingly unsustainable, almost day by day.

“In considering granting this application, it is just a step too far.”

Cllr Ric Pallister added: “Sustainability is a two edged sword.

“Unless the village evolves and grows, the prediction that the school will close will be certainly true, and the village will become a retirement community.

“Is it a last chance for Ashill in terms of sustainability?”

A number of councillors also said that the planning application was only being considered because of the housing supply deficit across the district.

Cllr Martin Wale said: “If we were looking at this with the local plan, without the housing supply problem, we would be throwing this out because it is not sustainable.”

Val Keitch, who was elected leader of SSDC last month, has generations of her family based in the village.

She said: “I know the area very well. I don’’t think it is sustainable.

“You have to look at exactly where this site is. Ashill is very spread out.

“When you consider the location I think the effect does increase in, I think, an unsustainable way.

Liz Payne was among members of the public who spoke at the meeting.

She is a local representative for the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Liz said: “The local plan is effectively being ignored because of the lack of a five year housing supply, it means that lots of undesirable developments are getting through.

“If they had the housing supply, no one would be looking at these developments, they wouldn’t even be discussed.

“The strategy of the local plan was all developments in places with facilities. Instead we are ended up with homes coming to a place like Ashill.

“There has been a systematic intrusion into the countryside around very small settlements.

“It is like one of the ward members said, this settlement isn’t sustainable.

“There were 400 houses in Ilminster recommended for refusal and that got overturned at regulation committee, so I am worried about Ashill.

Seven councillors voted to support Cllr Piggott-Vijeh’s proposal to reject the application.

Three councillors voted against.