PLANS for a total of 675 new homes and a new primary school which could transform Wembdon are due to be decided on today (Tuesday, November 12).

The controversial plans which have garnered 59 letters of objection from local residents as well as being strongly opposed by Wembdon and Durleigh Parish Councils have been recommended for approval by Sedgemoor District Council’s planning officers.

The planning application submitted on behalf of developer Cavanna Homes relates to full permission for 238 homes, two new means of access onto the A39, a pedestrian and cycle link to Wembdon Hill as well as public open space, and outline permission for a further 437 homes, a neighbourhood centre, a primary school and bus gate/emergency access on land.

The plans relate to land at Cokerhurst Farm, north of Quantock Road, and comprise 30 hectares of agricultural land with some wooded areas.

Wembdon Parish Council stated that it ‘unanimously strongly objects’ to the plan, citing concerns over the design and access, footpaths and cyclepaths, traffic and transport, anthrax, air quality, neighbourhood facilities and working hours during construction.

Ward councillor Ann Bown said it was the wrong time to go ahead with this development given Hinkley C was heading toward peak construction.

In the application, the planning officer states that “land at West Bridgwater is a key strategic allocation for Sedgemoor and an important component of the future land supply.

“It is required both to ensure the sustainable growth of Bridgwater as well as ensuring that that district’s overall housing requirements are met up to 2032.”

The Community Infrastructure Levy for the development would be in the region of £964,000.

The development also includes a site for a two-form entry primary school, creating capacity for 420 pupils.

In the planning officer’s report to the committee it states: “The land is identified as the best most versatile land and the change of use of approximately 27.3ha to mixed-use development will result in the permanent loss of agricultural land which cannot be mitigated against.

“This formed part of the consideration at site selection stage when the site was allocated as part of the Local Plan where due to the location of the site other sustainability benefits outweighed the impact of this loss.”

Concern has been raised by the parish councils and a number of third parties regarding anthrax contamination over certain sections of the land.

Further investigative works are to be carried out including at the location of the suspected animal burial pit and a condition added that contamination is identified and professionally managed by a specialist organisation prior to any commencement of construction.

The planning officer concludes that the plans should be approved subject to a series of conditions.