After listening to protests from many local residents at a packed town council meeting Wellington’s councillors voted unanimously to recommend refusal of a plan to build 29 new houses at Popes Lane on the edge of Rockwell Green.
Objections ranged from increased traffic and risks of flooding to fears that granting permission would open the doors for Persimmon housebuilders to create over 200 new homes in adjoining fields.
Kym Sander pointed out that the site is outside the current development boundary for Rockwell Green and occupies land that was designated a “green wedge” until last year. “What starts as 29 houses could end up being hundreds more on the fields to the west of the site,” added neighbour Gordon Hawker.
Mike Samson pointed out that 29 houses potentially means 58 more cars using the narrow Popes Lane and joining the A38 at a very dangerous junction. Other residents voiced broader objections. “Wellington has provided more than its fair share of development and schools, doctors and infrastructure are crumbling under the demand,” said Tim Dodwell. “We just can’t cope with more houses.”
Councillors described the objections to the scheme as articulate and sensible whilst adding a few objections of their own about the attempts to smuggle the proposal “under the radar”. “The change in the “green wedge” passed us by as a town council and Taunton Deane ought to have consulted with us,” said Cllr Janet Lloyd.
Cllr Andy Govier asked whether Wain Homes had tried to push this application through in the period just before Christmas when many peoples’ attention was elsewhere. Other councillors thought it odd that the normal process for a major development of pre-application consultation with officials had not been followed.
- Planning Portal defines a Green Wedge as:
“Green wedges comprise the open areas around and between parts of settlements, which maintain the distinction between the countryside and built up areas, prevent the coalescence (merging) of adjacent places and can also provide recreational opportunities.”