New homes in Butleigh branded "a disaster waiting to happen"

By Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter

23rd Mar 2023 | Local News

The plans for the new homes
The plans for the new homes

Plans to build new homes in a small Somerset village have been branded "a disaster waiting to happen" by current residents.

Land Value Alliances secured outline permission on appeal in April 2020 to build up to 32 homes on land east of Sub Road in Butleigh.

The site has now been sold to local developer Galion Ltd., which has submitted amended proposals to Mendip District Council.

But local residents have criticised the proposals, arguing it will lead to a loss of privacy and be out of keeping with the existing character of the village.

The site, which lies south of the Holm Oaks estate, is allocated within the council's Local Plan Part II to deliver a minimum of 25 new homes by 2029.

Access will be created from Sub Road by partially demolishing an existing bungalow.

The new properties will range from two-bedroom flats to five-bedroom houses in size, with ten of the 32 homes being affordable (i.e. being offered at 80 per cent of the market rate).

A spokesman for Boon Brown Architects (representing the applicant) said: "The proposed application will provide a sensitive and well-designed development – the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale of which respects local character, enhances biodiversity interests,and will be served by suitable drainage infrastructure while being constructed in a sensitive manner to its surroundings."

The Glastonbury-based developer is currently working to deliver the St. Dunstan's Mede development of 36 homes on Ham Street in the neighbouring village of Baltonsborough.

A decision is also currently pending on plans for a further 49 homes on Broadway Hill in Horton, a short distance from the A303 west of Ilminster. 

Numerous local residents have already registered their objections on the council's planning portal, criticising the designs of the proposed homes, the density of the development and the risk to the local environment.

Andrew Clarke said: "It is suggested that a new sewage treatment plant within the site will discharge all year round into a shallow ditch – one which is dry for much of the year, and cannot be described as a watercourse unless there is heavy rainfall, in which case it quickly fills and has been known to run out into Sub Road.

"I recognise a disaster waiting to happen when I see it.

"The appeal decision calls for a pedestrian link from the site to the existing footpath network.

"With no possible option to provide any such a footpath along Sub Road, the only viable alternative is via the children's playground, effectively transforming this safe space into a thoroughfare for a housing estate."

View from the Sub Road development site in Butleigh, looking towards Glastonbury Tor - Boon Brown Architects

Sally and Philip O'Donoghue, who live near the planned entrance to the site, said: "This does not respect the local context and would be entirely out of character for the area, to the detriment of the local environment.

"The proposed dwellings are not of a design in keeping with the scale, character or appearance of the area. Butleigh does not lend itself to large, Georgian style houses – it is a village after all and not a town.

"Everyone will suffer at least two years of construction traffic accessing the site."

Craig Howells added: "The proposed plan to artificially raise the ground level within the site will have a direct impact on residential amenity.

"These properties will now have direct sight into more than 90 per cent of the gardens in Holm Acres, as well into ground floor and top floor rooms including bedrooms and bathrooms of the existing properties."

The new unitary Somerset Council will decide on the Butleigh proposals later in the year.


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