More than 100 new homes will be built a short distance from a major new employment site in Somerset – but work to upgrade a nearby roundabout must be finished first.

Gladman Developments applied in April 2020 to build 120 new homes on Woolavington Road in Puriton, a short distance from the Gravity campus which is currently being developed.

Sedgemoor District Council has approved the outline proposals, despite the site not being allocated for housing in its Local Plan (which runs to 2032) and new homes being planned as part of the Gravity local development order (LDO).

However, the council has insisted that improvements to the nearby Dunball roundabout (which links the village to Bridgwater via Junction 23 of the M5) must be completed before all the new homes are occupied.

The site lies at the eastern edge of Puriton, between the existing homes on Puriton Park and the new £10.3M link road which connects the Gravity complex to the A39 Bath Road.

Under the outline proposals, access will be from Woolavington Road, with existing trees at the southern edge of the site being retained.

Bridgwater Mercury: Proposed site of 120 homes on Woolavington Road in Puriton. CREDIT: Gladman Developments. Proposed site of 120 homes on Woolavington Road in Puriton. CREDIT: Gladman Developments.

Of the 120 planned homes, 36 will be affordable – meeting the council’s target for 30 per cent affordable homes in any new development of ten homes or more.

A spokesman for Gladman said: “Benefits arising from the development include new areas of publicly accessible open space, connections to the existing public right of way network, a children’s play area, and creation of a sustainable urban drainage scheme to ensure that run-off can be attenuated and discharged at greenfield run-off rates.

“The site access junction will operate comfortably within capacity in both the morning and evening peak periods with the proposed development traffic.”

The Gravity site is expected to deliver a total of 1,000,000 sq m of commercial space, along with 750 homes on-campus for employees and a range of cafés, restaurants, leisure facilities and other amenities.

A local development order (LDO), designed to accelerate the delivery of the new elements, was signed off by the council just before Christmas.

In addition to the link road, the site could end up being connected by a rail link to the Bristol to Exeter mainline – though this could cost up to £50M to reinstate.

Bridgwater Mercury: Masterplan of 120 homes on Woolavington Road in Puriton. CREDIT: Gladman Developments.Masterplan of 120 homes on Woolavington Road in Puriton. CREDIT: Gladman Developments.

Both Puriton and the Gravity site are connected to Bridgwater via the Dunball roundabout, which provides a link between the A38 Bristol Road (leading to the town centre and Highbridge) and the M5.

Somerset County Council has appointed Balfour Beatty to deliver a £5.24M scheme to upgrade the roundabout into a “throughabout”, using money from the government’s levelling up fund and the Bridgwater town deal on top of borrowing by the district council.

Work on the new throughabout – which will also include improved pedestrian and cycling provision – is due to commence in in early-2023.

In approving the Gladman proposals, the council’s planning officers have insisted that work on the Dunball roundabout be finished before 75 out of 120 new homes on the site have been completed and occupied.

READ MORE: Bridgwater roundabout may not be built until homes finished

A spokesman said: “No more than 75 dwellings shall be occupied until the contracts are let to deliver the infrastructure improvements to the M5 Junction 23 and the A38 Dunball roundabout have been completed – or an alternative scheme which provides equal or greater capacity and safety benefit – has been completed and is open to traffic.

“No dwellings hereby approved shall be occupied until a network of footpath connections and bus infrastructure improvements has been provided.”

Gladman has had a mixed record against the council, with permission recently being refused for 115 homes on the B3151 Lower New Road in Cheddar after four years of consultation.

In the last few years, the Congleton-based developer has also lost an appeal over 165 homes on Oak Tree Way in Cannington and withdrawn two other appeals for a combined total of 220 homes on two separate sites in Woolavington.

A reserved matters application for the Puriton site, covering the design and layout of the homes, is expected to be submitted before the end of the year.