A BID to build a new housing estate in the countryside near Wellington has failed after district planners refused to give it their backing.

The plans would have seen 12 new houses built on a field near Silver Street, in the northern edge of West Buckland.

Planners were also asked to approve the creation of a new junction from Silver Street to facilitate additional traffic and to agree to the road being widened so lorries can pass.

In a statement submitted by Collier Planning behalf of the applicants, it claimed the proposals would not have had a major impact on traffic flows: “The proposed development can be expected to generate approximately six two-way vehicle trips during the weekday morning and evening peak hours, representing an average frequency of one vehicle generated every ten minutes.

“...The addition of the peak hour development flows will not affect capacity on this route nor at the junctions with the M5 or A38, where the total peak hour flows would represent no more than might be expected of day-to-day traffic flow variation.”

They also argued the development would only have a slight visual impact on the area, telling the council: “Overall, the proposed development is assessed as having a ‘low’ visual impact and with the landscape mitigation measures which are proposed, which will add over 110m of new hedgerow planting along with establishment of tree planting to the open space to the west of the site.

“The proposals will meet the requirement of the most relevant planning policies through careful siting of the residential buildings and the proposed landscape mitigation measures.”

But planners from Somerset Council appeared to disagree with many of the arguments, saying that the proposals would “significantly harm” the appearance of the area and that it would be “unsafe” for pedestrians to access the site. Summing up their decision, they said: “The proposed development is located outside of a defined settlement and would provide unsafe pedestrian connectivity requiring pedestrians to walk within the highway resulting in severe risk of harm to safety. As such, the development is in an unsustainable location, which would foster growth in the need to travel in an unsustainable manner.

“The development would significantly harm the appearance and character of Silver Street contrary to Core Strategy Policy DM1 and significantly harm the appearance, character and contribution of this rural landscape to the setting of the Special Landscape Feature of West Buckland Hill...”

The council said the development also risked damaging the Somerset Levels and Moors by introducing phosphates into the area.

The decision came after dozens of local residents wrote to Somerset Council to object to the plans. Vanessa Monks, of Wellington, claimed it was already dangerous to try and navigate the area by foot. She said: “It is already dangerous for parents walking their children to and from school. More houses in the village will exacerbate this problem, especially as there are no public transport links, meaning cars will be necessary and air quality will reduce.”