Opponents of the Jurston Farm housing development jeered and booed councillors at a meeting called to decide Wellington Town council’s response to an outline planning application for 650 homes on the site.
Over 50 protestors attended the meeting, with a dozen taking the opportunity to speak. They were overwhelmingly hostile to the proposals and were angered by WTC’s 7-0 vote not to register an objection with Taunton Deane’s planning committee.
“I have never come across such a weak bunch of individuals as these councillors, and so out of touch with their own electorate,” said protest group member Ann Loarridge.
Ross Henley, the only council member to propose a formal objection to Jurston Farm, presented TDBC planners with 350 objections to the scheme and bitterly criticised his own colleagues for not supporting his position.
“I believe that the town council has been unsupportive, weak and out of touch with public opinion over this development,” said Henley.
Cllr Dave Mitton urged a pragmatic approach to the situation saying that it was better to lobby hard for the very best infrastructure for a site that was zone for housing some years ago in the local core strategy – adding that the derided core strategy had helped see off recent unwelcome plans for 300 houses near Runnington.
In a jibe that added heat to a stormy meeting, Cllr Mitton said the protestors should at least be honest and say “I don’t want a development near my house and not that they aim to ‘Save Wellington’.”
The council ultimately passed a resolution urging Taunton planners to look carefully at the provision of schools, medical centre facilities, recreational space and flood defences before granting permission, adding a rider about money from the New Homes Bonus scheme being made available to improve Wellington’s infrastructure.
This failed to impress the protestors, many of whom left the hall warning “This isn’t over yet”.