A CONVOLUTED application to build 114 homes near a school in Crewkerne has finally been given the green light by councillors.

South Somerset District Council's Area West Committee approved a bid submitted by Persimmon Homes South West to develop land at Kingswood Road, near Maiden Beech Middle School, at a meeting last week.

Plans include a mix of two-bedroom three-storey apartments, two-bedroom coach houses and two, three and four-bedroom houses, as well as 40 units of affordable housing.

The proposal had been put back on several occasions as developers faced opposition from residents on a number of issues, including parking, loss of water pressure from surrounding areas and potential land slip problems.

It was due to be determined at last month's Area West committee meeting in Merriott but was deferred after the Environment Agency voiced their concerns regarding surface water treatment.

At a meeting last Wednesday councillors heard that the agency had withdrawn their complaint and that the application had been recommended for approval subject to conditions.

But objections were raised over whether an emergency access route leading onto Cathole Bridge Road could be abused by motorists.

Cllr Hillary Leamon of Crewkerne Town Council said: "Cathole Bridge Road is a very narrow lane which is already used by many people as a shortcut to Chard.

"The town council would like every guarantee that this route will not result in another rat run leading to Lyme Road."

Planning officer Dave Norris assured members that the emergency access will be gated and locked and that the main route into the estate will remain from Kingswood Road.

Councillors voiced further concerns over the safety of pedestrians entering the site and extra strain on the town's amenities.

Crewkerne ward member Cllr Angie Singleton said: "This has been a long and torturous process and we are exceedingly disappointed that we have not managed to achieve what we set out to do.

"I am confident that we have the best deal possible for the town at this present time - although I'm not sure if my grandchildren will agree with me."

However Cllr Andrew Turpin stressed: "We're sitting here tonight approving something we know is not entirely suitable.

"As council members we should be telling developers when things are not acceptable."

Despite Cllr Turpin's fears, the committee voted in favour of the development.

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