Residents living in the Hamp area of Bridgwater have expressed concerns over plans to build a new four storey block of flats.

Sedgemoor District Council want to demolish the existing buildings at the Penlea House site located off of Rhode Lane, as the current facilities have been deemed 'economically unsustainable'.

In 2018 outline planning permission was approved for the demolition of the building, which had been home to six flats owned by Sedgemoor District Council, and to create three new buildings in its place accommodating 36 flats.

However no further work was undertaken on the site, and further discussions with Sedgemoor District Council have a new plan put forward, aimed at being more 'sustainable'.

Penlea House has seen many uses over the years, beginning as the main house on a country estate before being converted into offices, stores and most recently flats.

However Sedgemoor District Council say the building is now 'economically unsustainable' due to its size, heating and maintenance costs.

The new application would see one block of 33 flats created, consisting of 20 one-bed flats and 13 two-bed flats, alongside 35 parking spaces and 32 parking spaces.

However this new application has been met with dismay by many local residents, who worried about the potential impacts of the scheme on the local area.

Hamp councillor Leigh Redman said: “I was shocked to see a new planning application come forward that proposed to knock down the now empty Penlea House and replace it with a single monstrosity four storey block that would tower over homes nearby.”

He continued, “As local councillors, Cllr Liz Leavy and I had assumed Sedgemoor might have had the courtesy to discuss this massive change in direction with us before submitting the application.

"These new plans are not in keeping with the area and will dramatically impact those living in our community.

"I live on the estate and will be able to see the new building from my home that is more than 50 meters away, it is huge.”

Cllr Leavy added: “Leigh and I were contacted by many residents who were rightly concerned,.

"We met with officers and have responded to the application with our objections, which should mean the application goes to development committee.

"We also met with nearly 30 residents onsite to discuss an action plan, and the residents have already started a petition of objection.”

One concerned resident, whose property neighbours Penlea House, said: "The building will overshadow my garden and mean they could see into my bedrooms.

"I will lose light and this really bothers me - I have written to object.”

Another resident on Rhode Lane added: “There is a really poor access in and out of site.

"The lane is single carriage and I hope they do not intend to remove the brick entrance.

"The main road is already busy with people using this to access Wills Road, and during school time it will be dangerous for children.”

Cllr Redman concluded: “I really don’t see a need for this change.

"They already have planning agreed in 2018 for more flats than those in this new application, residents accepted the original proposal, and this new one will massively impact their lives in a negative way.

"I call on residents to make their objections to Sedgemoor District Council before the application closes on August 7 and we will be there to explain to the committee how wrong this change is.”

To view the full application visit the planning section of the Sedgemoor District Council website and search for the application number 08/20/00070.