Appeal for 46 homes on waterlogged site gets go-ahead

Proposed site for 46 homes on the B3139 Walrow in Highbridge.

Proposed site for 46 homes on the B3139 Walrow in Highbridge. - Credit: Archant

A total of 46 new homes will be built on a Somerset site that is ‘often waterlogged’ according to a planning inspector, who ruled other factors outweighed the flood risk.

Plans for 46 homes by Della Vale Architects.

Plans for 46 homes by Della Vale Architects. - Credit: Archant

Flower & Hayes Ltd originally applied to build 47 homes on land north of the B3139 at Walrow – plans which were refused by Sedgemoor District Council in March 2019.

The developer subsequently reduced the number of homes by one, submitting fresh plans and lodging an appeal against the council’s decision.

The Planning Inspectorate has now confirmed the development of 46 homes will go ahead following the appeal – which the council voted not to contest.

The council’s development committee voted in June that it would not defend any appeal made on the site.

Councillor Tony Bradford said at the time: “We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We’ve got a gun to our heads here – the worst position to be in.

“We all need housing, and we’re going to have a lot more developments thrown at us in the next six months. We have to make the best of what we can get.”

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Planning inspector Matthew Bale visited the Walrow site on July 21, and published his findings ahead of a development committee meeting on Tuesday (October 13).

He said: “Although the dwellings would not have the same appearance or form as Walrow Terrace or other historic cottages in the area, I find that the current proposal would be compatible with its surroundings, which includes other residential development and is generally urban in character.”

Mr Bale acknowledged local evidence that the site was ‘often waterlogged’ and that much of Highbridge remained at risk of flooding.

However, he ruled that the site’s proximity to local amenities meant the benefits of providing new houses outweighed the potential flood risk.

He said: “The site is in an accessible location within easy walking distance of many services and facilities, and has public transport connections to locations further afield. I find that wider sustainability benefits exist that outweigh the flood risk.”

Mr Bale added there was ‘no substantive evidence’ the development would harm motorists or pedestrians – despite local reports regarding traffic levels and crashes near the railway bridge.