Plan for 115 new homes in village rejected

How the 115 homes were set to look in Cheddar

How the 115 homes were set to look in Cheddar - Credit: Gladman

Plans for new homes on the edge of a Somerset village have been refused – nearly four years after they were first put forward.

Gladman Developments submitted proposals in June 2018 to build 115 new homes on the B3151 Lower New Road on the southern edge of Cheddar.

The Congleton-based developer had offered to provide traffic calming measures on the main road into Cheddar as part of the plans, to ensure the planned access near Wedmore Road would be safe.

But Sedgemoor District Council has now finally made a decision after nearly four years, arguing the plans would damage the character of the village.

The plans were refused through the delegated powers of the council’s planning officers, rather than being decided in public by its development committee.

Stuart Houlet, the council’s assistant director for inward investment and growth, identified three reasons for the plans’ refusal:

  • The site lies outside the settlement boundary of Cheddar, with no “exceptional circumstances” to justify the development
  • The development would lead to the site being “urbanised to the inevitable detriment of its rural character”, harming the landscape and the amenity of existing residents
  • The developer has provided “insufficient evidence” that it can protect local archaeological assets during construction

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Cheddar has seen significant housing growth in the last few years, with numerous developments being approved at either end of the village.

Where the homes were set to be built under the plan

Where the homes were set to be built under the plan - Credit: Google

Opposite the Gladman site, Sainsbury’s was granted permission on appeal in November 2020 to deliver up to 60 homes on land it had once earmarked for a new supermarket – with the site subsequently being sold to Keepmoat Homes.

Bellway Homes is currently delivering a further 60 homes on the Peregrine View site on Hellier’s Lane, after revised plans were approved in May 2021.

At the northern end of the village, Taylor Wimpey Bristol is progressing the Oak Park development approved in January, comprising 96 homes between the A371 and the B3135 Axbridge Road.

Approval is also in place for a further 100 homes – along with a nursery, employment units and a 60-bed care home – on the former Yeo Valley Complex on the A371 Axbridge Road, not far from the infamous ‘magic roundabout’ junction.

Cheddar Parish Council formally objected to the Gladman proposals in March 2021, arguing the site did not feature within the council’s Local Plan and would put a strain on local roads and amenities.

Parish clerk Sam Peake said: “[There is] no demonstrable need for more housing over and above what has already been allocated by the local authority, which is already excessive for the size of the village and local infrastructure limitations.

“[There will be] an increase in traffic over Fiveways Bridge, which is already inadequate for the volume of vehicles that use it, and there is no pavemented [sic] way to the village centre, [with the] route [being] unsafe for pedestrians.”

Gladman has not yet indicated whether it will appeal the decision.

The developer has had a poor record against the council in recent times, losing an appeal over 165 new homes in Cannington and withdrawing two appeals over a combined total of 220 homes across two sites in Woolavington.