Objections to plans to build 34 new homes on hemmed-in waste land to the north of Fore St rained in on every side when the town council met to consider its views on the project. Residents of nearby Bishops Court disliked the scheme on grounds of pedestrian safety, Wellington Silver Band worried about the future of its rehearsal room and traders wanted more shops on Cornhill, not demolition and new houses.
“The elderly residents in Bishops Court use the footpath beside Lloyd’s Bank many times a day and they’d be crossing the way in to the new housing. It’s going to be death trap at the entrance,” one resident warned councillors.
Geoff Samuel, chairman of Wellington Silver Band told the council that the developers had ignored their concerns about security and safety if the private lane to the band’s rehearsal room was opened to public access. Patrick Robert, who owns nearby Touchwood house clearances, shared his fears saying: “I object to the lane being opened up at the bottom end to the proposed housing and therefore the rest of Wellington. My security and privacy will be affected, especially out of business hours.”
Sharon Davis, owner of the Interiors florist on Cornhill, objected strongly to the proposals that end the chances of regenerated shops on the ancient street. “I strongly disagree with the proposal of turning the current empty/derelict buildings along Cornhill into residential accommodation I believe this is detrimental to the town and area, as Cornhill has prime potential for development for local independent businesses,” she said.
“Cornhill is in the centre of the town and could be Wellington’s very own “Bath Place” (Taunton) or “Catherine Hill” (Frome). Something, I believe, as a trader would be hugely successful and many of my customers also comment how this would be of great interest to see business development in Cornhill.
“Secondly, this lane has always been for trade, with living accommodation above, as the original High Street, it is a conservation area, and maybe even listed in parts, so therefore surely this should be conserved?!
“I also think if the development goes ahead, and houses are put in Cornhill they will not sell easily, this is a lane that is used during unsociable hours by myself and also Wetherspoons… receiving deliveries most (if not every morning) in the early hours often in cages. Wetherspoons also use the lane as a bin pick up point 4 times a week, often having about 10 or so bins lined up and whilst other traders would not object, I think house owners might!”
Town councillors, whilst only making recommendations on the plan rather than a decision, were cautious in their views. “There’s detail to be ironed out but this is the only option left or Cornhill and this site are going to be left derelict for another 20 years,” said Cllr Janet Reed.