CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 140 homes near North Petherton have take another twist following a High Court ruling this week.

The application for the new development at Newton Road was put forward by Gladman Developments but refused by Sedgemoor District Council in 2017, citing concerns over archaeology, flooding, highway safety and the fact the development was outside the defined settlement boundary.

Gladman appealed the rejection, and ahead of a public inquiry into the matter, Gladmans and the district council managed to resolve three of the four issues - meaning the main point of contention was over the fact the new development was not within the settlement boundary.

During the 2018 public enquiry held at The Venue at J24, Sedgemoor District Council argued that it did not need to allow this development outside the settlement boundary as it had a ‘five-year supply’ of housing land, however Gladman argued the figures were incorrect and the supply was actually equivalent to slightly below two years.

Jonathan Easton on behalf of Gladman Developments said: "We believe this application will be sustainable. It is close to the town's facilities - it is only considered countryside in that is just outside the settlement boundary."

In his conclusion, planning inspector Philip Ware said: “This is a huge gulf, and despite numerous discussions, the difference between the parties remains.”

The inspector said he was unable to reach a ‘firm conclusion’ in regards to the differing figures and refused planning permission.

However this ruling has now been overturned by High Court Justice Dove, criticising the previous inspector for failing to reach a conclusion of the matter of housing supply.

His ruling means the application will now be reconsidered by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

“The inspector fell into legal error in this case by failing to reach a conclusion in relation to the five-year housing land supply position,” Judge Dove said.

“It is clear that he reached no conclusion at all as to the five-year housing land position, and whether there was a shortfall, let alone examining the nature and extent of any such shortfall if one existed.

“It is clear to me that the inspector left out of account material considerations by failing to reach a conclusion.”

Gladman is looking to build a total of 140 homes of various sizes, as well as play areas, footpaths, and road access on land off Newton Road.

Gladman says its research indicates a significant boost in local spending and a potential reduction in commuter levels to surrounding areas.

“Local businesses such as shops, the Post Office and pubs are likely to benefit from the additional custom that the development will generate, therefore boosting the local economy and ensuring the viability of these services.

“There is an indication that the gross spending power of the new residents could be in excess of £3 million per year, a proportion of which will be spent in the locality.”