PLANS for the first stage of a long-awaited new development in Crewkerne have been revealed by the developer.

Taylor Wimpey Exeter intends to develop the Crewkerne Key Site, providing 635 homes, a new primary school, a 60-bed care home, employment units and a link road to connect the A30 Yeovil Road to the A356 Station Road.

South Somerset District Council approved amended designs for the link road in May 2020, allowing the developer to bring forward more detailed proposals for the homes.

Yeovil Express: Artist\'S Impression Of First 110 Homes On Crewkerne Key Site. CREDIT: LHC Group. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

Plans have now been published for the first 110 homes at the southern end of the site, as well as the care home and new junction onto the main road.

The first section of the new link road through the site will begin at a new signalised junction with the A356, with spur roads leading to the care home and land allocated for employment.

Yeovil Express: Proposed Road Layout To Connect Crewkerne Key Site With A356 Station Road. CREDIT: LHC Group. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

A secondary access will be provided via Blacknell Lane, providing new residents with an easy route to the town’s household recycling centre and the nearby industrial estate.

The northern end of the key site (nearest the A30) will be predominantly residential in nature, with a new primary school being provided through a £2M contribution by the developer.

Yeovil Express: Proposed Layout Of First 110 Homes, Care Home And Employment Area Within The Crewkerne Key Site. CREDIT: LHC Group. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

The new homes will be concentrated nearest the two main roads at each end of the key site, with the area between them being devoted to public green space and an attenuation pond to reduce flood risk to residents.

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey Exeter said: “The proposed redevelopment of the site creates an opportunity to provide a high-quality residential development that integrates well with adjacent areas of Crewkerne.

“The scheme builds upon the principles set by the outline planning permission, and meets identified housing need through the creation of an attractive development that retains the key existing site features, delivers high-quality green spaces and streets, providing connections between existing and proposed housing and the wider landscape.

“The development will reinforce and enhance the existing flora and fauna and create an increase in biodiversity through the delivery of enhanced green spaces, that link to the wider countryside, native planting and the integration of wildlife into the proposed buildings.”

Yeovil Express: Proposed Layout Of First 110 Homes, Care Home And Employment Area Within The Crewkerne Key Site. CREDIT: LHC Group. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

The 110 homes proposed for the southern end of the site will range from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses, with 17 (around 15 per cent) being affordable – less than half the council’s intended level of 35 per cent for all new major developments.

Crewkerne Town Council voted to recommend approval of the plans, while raising concerns about both the density of the development and the proposed removal of trees along Station Road.

Deputy town clerk Laura Gowers said: “Councillors were concerned about the very close proximity of the residential properties to the existing industrial area.

“They recommend that it would be beneficial to re-route the roads on the site to increase the distance between the residential dwellings and the industrial areas. Alternatively, increased sound barriers would be beneficial.

“There is no need for all the mature lime trees on Station Road to be removed.”

Space4Crewkerne, a community group which campaigns for better pedestrian and cycling links in the town, said that there should be dedicated cycle paths throughout the site to reduce car use.

Yeovil Express: The Crewkerne Key Site Within The Context Of The Town. CREDIT: LHC Group. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

Group member Pat Lund said: “We are disappointed to note that the proposed cycle paths on the whole key site are in fact shared footpaths.

“Once completed, the link road will offer an alternative route through Crewkerne, avoiding the often-congested town centre, and we feel it is presently the only real opportunity for the town to have a designated cycle path which does not have to be shared with pedestrians.”

The district council is expected to make a final decision on the plans later in the year.