Plans to build 260 houses and flats on fields next to Bagley Road were fiercely and unanimously opposed by members at this week’s town council meeting. They recommended Taunton to reject the application.
Cllr Janet Lloyd told the meeting that every single one of the 43 objections on the TDBC planning website pointed out the fact that the scheme fell outside any of the development areas shown in the core housing strategy for Wellington.
“And where are the carnival floats and fair going to go if these houses get built?,” added Cllr Lloyd.
Cllr Andrew Govier pointed out that analysis of the dates on some of the application documents show clearly that much of the proposal was fully worked up way in advance of the brief pre-Christmas public consultation period.
What did emerge at the meeting was the Cheshire-based developer’s intended strategy of claiming that TDBC had not met its statutory requirement to zone a minimum five year supply of land for housing. “If Taunton Deane refuse this application, my strong hunch is that this will go to a public inquiry,” explained planning officer Matthew Bale.
Many UK councils are averse to any decision that may lead to an inquiry due to the large and often unpredictable legal costs involved.