CONSTRUCTION could soon begin on a major new business park on the outskirts of Wellington after plans to create phosphate-mitigating wetlands nearby were approved.

Chelston Heath LLP was controversially given planning permission in July to build new commercial and retail units alongside Chelston roundabout.

But the Taunton-based developer also had to show how it would treat any new phosphate emissions which had been banned by Natural England because of concern that they were draining onto the internationally-protected Somerset Levels and harming wildlife.

Now the company’s proposal to create new wetlands immediately to the east of the business park site near the M5 motorway have also been given the green light by Somerset Council.

Work is expected to begin early in the New Year on the new business park, which will also include two food and drink restaurant kiosks, a restaurant, and an electric vehicle charging hub, with the creation of up to 236 new jobs.

The wetlands site is bordered by Haywards Water, which runs from its source in the Blackdown Hills around the Foxmoor Business Park, under the Chelston link road, past the Blackdown Garden Centre and flows into the River Tone near Bradford-on-Tone.

Under the agreed proposals, seven new ponds will be created, connected by weirs, with significant numbers of trees being planted within the site.

An outline plan of a new business next to Chelston roundabout.
An outline plan of a new business next to Chelston roundabout. (Reed Holland Architects)

The wetlands will be accessed for maintenance from Park Lane, just off the A38, with a public right of way through the site being left in place and a new path around the perimeter created.

A spokesman for the company’s planning consultants Tetra Tech said: “The principal objective of the wetland is to improve water quality by reducing the concentration of phosphate in Haywards Water, which ultimately joins the River Tone.

“Phosphate removed by the proposed wetland would be used to offset phosphate surpluses at development projects in the River Tone catchment, thus allow a number of stalled planning applications to progress.

“Phosphate sources within the catchment are largely of agricultural origin with inputs also received from septic tank overflows.”

One of the planning conditions for the business park, which was approved without consulting Wellington Town Council, prevents work within the Haywards Water main channel between October and March to prevent disruption to the salmonid spawning season.

The existing public right of way will also have to be kept open throughout the construction process with any necessary diversion being agreed and advertised far in advance of any work beginning.

Detail of the layout and design of the new business units still have to be agreed by the council’s planners.