DOZENS of houses could still be built near the A303 in Somerset if amended proposals described as “totally inappropriate” are approved.

Glastonbury-based developer Galion submitted plans in April 2021 to build 50 new homes on Broadway Hill in Horton, near Ilminster – with the number being subsequently lowered to 49 following discussions with council planning officers.

Somerset Council’s planning committee south – which makes decisions on major applications in the former South Somerset area – voted to refuse the plans in late-May, claiming the new homes would amount of “over-development” and put a strain on local services.

But the development could still go ahead after the developer put forward amended plans for the same number of homes – with a decision expected early in the new year.

The site lies at the western edge of the village between Horton Village Hall and the existing homes on Broadway Hill, just over a quarter of a mile from the A303 between the Southfields roundabout and the Blackdown Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

Access will be from Broadway Hill, with an additional pedestrian access being provided onto Pound Road.

Chard & Ilminster News: Proposed site of the new homes.Proposed site of the new homes. (Image: Daniel Mumby)

Of the 49 homes proposed for the site, 17 will be affordable, with 161 car parking spaces and 49 electric vehicle charging points being provided across the whole development.

A spokesman for Weinerberger Ltd. (representing the developer) said: “The council recognises that Horton is a sustainable location and the
proposal represents a sustainable form of development.

“The design of the proposed dwellings has adhered to the form and design
of the traditional properties in the village using natural materials, which will
be quarried locally.

“The substantial planting scheme within the site will break up the mass and
scale of the development, and enable the dense development in the village
itself gradually blend into the open countryside beyond the site.”

The site falls within the Somerset Levels and Moors catchment area, meaning that additional mitigation has to be secured to prevent any net increase in phosphate levels on the Levels.

To address this, the developer will ensure the delivery of “a quality and
compliant woodland” between Keinton Mandeville and Lydford-on-Fosse, which will remove phosphates from the soil downstream of the site.

Broadway Parish Council has formally objected to the plans, arguing it will turn the two villages into a “dormitory” where residents would need to drive to access key services.

Parish clerk Fiona Mckenzie said: “The effect of the current Local Plan has been to convert Horton from a more or less self-sustaining community, particularly when taken with the facilities in Broadway, into a dormitory for residents seeking their employment, secondary education and health care, retail outlets, professional services and leisure time in urban centres including Taunton, Yeovil, Chard and Ilminster.

Chard & Ilminster News: Revised plans for the homes.Revised plans for the homes. (Image: Weinerberger Ltd.)

“The change in the role of Horton in recent years has resulted in an increase in the number of people leaving the village by car to meet their needs for local services.

“This is contrary to the Somerset Council climate emergency plan and does not meet the Local Plan’s objective of reducing commuting.”

Broadway has seen significant housing growth in recent years, with plans for 35 homes on Broadway Road being approved in late-July and a decision being expected shortly on a further 28 homes on the Ding Meadow site.

Galion is currently delivering 36 homes at the St. Dunstan’s Mede site in Baltonsborough, and is seeking consent for two further developments in the neighbouring villages – namely 32 homes on Sub Road in Butleigh, and a further 30 homes on Church Street in Keinton Mandeville.

The council is expected to make a decision on the revised Horton plans in early-2024.