Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Chairman’s Column  23rd August 2018

This year’s Mid-Somerset Show was a huge success. Thousands flocked to the show to enjoy another celebration of the many joys of living in our part of Somerset.  My personal favourite is the arts and craft tent along with the marquees that showcase cultural Somerset. Huge thanks to the organisers and the host of volunteers who make this show such a success for our town and the surrounding area.

Last week the town council discussed the outline planning application for the Mid Somerset Show field and it’s southern extension. As readers will know, the land to the west of Cannards Grave Road was marked for development of 500 new homes in the district council’s local plan. The developer, C.G. Fry and Sons, is proposing that they build 600 houses at this location. 

New roads entering the site will include a roundabout at the Little Brooks Road junction and a second access point further south off Cannards Grave Road. Space has been allocated for a primary school, a retirement home and a local convenience shop. The outline plan includes an open green corridor with permanent pools to deal with the acute drainage problems that this area suffers from.

Town councillors want this development to be linked into the High Street with good, safe pedestrian and cycle pathways from the new homes to the town centre.  It is absolutely critical that the proposed housing types meet the needs of local people. For example, we must insist that 30% of this new development should be affordable, rented homes. This is particularly important as the developer is proposing an additional 100 properties over and above the District Council’s Local Plan allocation on the extended showfield site. The final plans should include 1 and 2 bedroom homes and bungalows for older people and others who need this category of accommodation. 

While town councillors recognise the importance of getting this planning application right for Shepton, they only have the power to comment and recommend acceptance or rejection.  It is Mendip District councillors who will make the final and binding decision.  

As C.G. Fry and Sons have only presented an outline planning application at this stage, there is still all the design and layout details to be added.  There remains a real opportunity for us all to have our views taken into account. Shepton residents can look on Mendip District Council’s website to view the planning application and make comments on the plans.

This development is of major importance to the town. Your town councillors have made a full response at this first stage to the outline planning application. I urge residents to do the same. 

Chris Inchley, Chair, Shepton Mallet Town Council

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