A MAJOR new housing development on the edge of Chard could still go ahead – but with fewer homes than was originally intended.

Persimmon Homes South West applied back in July 2016 for permission to build up to 323 new homes between the A358 Tatworth Road and the B3162 Forton Road, at the southern edge of the town.

The plans were subsequently revised down to 252 homes, but South Somerset District Council postponed a decision on the proposals in April 2021 due to concerns about traffic and the funding for a new primary school.

The Exeter-based developer has now made further changes to the plans, reducing the number of homes to 236 and providing additional phosphate mitigation off-site.

The Persimmon site is part of the Chard Eastern Development Area (CEDA), which is identified in the South Somerset Local Plan to deliver at least 2,700 new homes, along with 17 hectares of employment land and two new primary schools.

Chard & Ilminster News: Plans for the new homes.Plans for the new homes. (Image: Persimmon Homes South West)

The new plans still include a new roundabout on Tatworth Road and the first section of the Chard eastern relief road (ERR), which is designed to take traffic away from the congested convent junction in the town centre.

The ERR is intended to eventually run from Tatworth Road over the A30 Crewkerne Road (near the Numatic complex) and finish at the A358 Furnham Road – though the fine details of the route have not been made public.

In line with existing council policy, 35 per cent of the new homes will be affordable – the equivalent of 106 properties.

The site will include nearly 1,000 sq m of public open space with play equipment, with the developer providing funding to provide new sports pitches for the Chard and Forton communities.

Several attenuation ponds being provided along the perimeter of the site to reduce the risk of localised flooding.

A spokesman for Walsingham Planning (representing the developer) said: “The design and layout of the homes and the proposed distributor road have been amended with the number of homes to the south of the site reduced, combined with an improvement to the green infrastructure network provided along the relief road.

“This ‘green link’ is formed by a separated path for shared use by pedestrians
and cyclists. The location of public open space has been repositioned to connect with the proposed development adjacent to the site to the north west.”

Summerfield Developments is currently working with the council to sign off planning permission for 94 homes between the Persimmon site and the Snowdon Grange development of 200 homes, which is currently being constructed by Tilia Homes.

The Persimmon and Summerfield sites are among more than 50 in the former South Somerset area which have been delayed as a result of the ongoing phosphates crisis, with developers needing to provide additional mitigation to prevent any net increase in phosphates within the Somerset Levels and Moors catchment area.

To unlock their development, Persimmon will be purchasing phosphate credits from the council which will fund off-site mitigation, such as the creation of new wetlands or the fallowing of agricultural land.

The plans are expected to come before Somerset Council’s planning committee south for a final decision by the end of the current year.