A PROTEST group has been set up to fight plans for a new motorway service station and large employment park near Bridgwater.

A consultation event was held last month where residents were given their first glimpse at plans for Junction 24 which would see an 85 acre site developed near Huntworth.

However a new group, known currently as J24 Protest, wants to see the plans scaled back.

A spokesperson for the group said: "As part of the Sedgemoor Local Plan consultation, local people asked for the plans to be scaled back to reduce the impact on Huntworth - it is now clear the developers have little regard for their views.

"When these more detailed plans were revealed last month, many people living in Huntworth were shocked and disappointed - because of their sheer scale and proximity to the village and homes.

"The development (as planned) will overwhelm Huntworth – and also destroy many acres of valuable agricultural land.

"The noise, light pollution, volume of traffic and other environmental problems will make the area intolerable for local people and wildlife."

Local people are now in the process of reforming a J24 Protest group that helped prevent a similar large-scale development 10 years ago.

The site is planned to the east of the M5 and would include a new roundabout for access.

The new services would exist in tandem with the existing services at J24.

Overall the plan includes allocation for 900,000 square feet of employment space, ranging in size from 250,000 square feet plots to smaller 10,000 square feet plots.

The land, which is owned by S Notaro Ltd, is in an area known to have archaeological potential, and developers say a thorough survey will be carried out prior to construction.

It is anticipated that up to 70 people will be employed at the new Junction 24 services.

Developers anticipate submitting a planning application in September, with construction likely to start in 2020 if approved.

A spokesperson for the developer said: "The land at J24 was identified for development by Sedgemoor District Council in a consultation at the end of 2015 and again in early 2017. "The plan has since been the subject of a public examination by an independent inspector where she heard all the arguments put forward by the different parties.

"She has not raised any objections to the allocation of the land for development.

"The owners of the land have therefore prepared proposals which are in line with the council’s allocation. The exhibition last month was the latest step in preparing those proposals and sought the views of interested parties. The comments received will be reviewed as part of the preparation of plans and taken into account when finalising the proposals.

"It is hoped that a planning application will be submitted later in the year, which will balance the needs of the area for employment opportunities whilst seeking to protect local residents and the natural environment."