Big plans revealed for green site

By Daniel Mumby   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Tuesday 21st June 2022 6:00 am
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Site of proposed country park
(Google Maps - 070622 )

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A green space near Wellington could be preserved as a country park and community farm using funding from housing developers, writes Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Mumby.

Somerset West and Taunton Council is looking to purchase green fields between Wellington and Rockwell Green using money raised through the community infrastructure levy (CIL).

If the purchase is successful, the land will be leased to Wellington Town Council, allowing it to work with community organisations to bring forward a community farm, country park, new sports pitches and improved cycling facilities.

The proposals are expected to be signed off by the full council in the early summer.

Under the proposals, the district council will purchase a significant quantity of land between the southern edge of Fox’s Field (near Tonedale Mill) and Exeter Road, including all the land between the railway line and the existing houses on Riverside.

The land will be leased to the town council on a 125-year lease, with Wellington Community Food, the Wellington Mills community interest company (WMCIC) and Transition Town Wellington all being involved in developing the site.

The initial vision for the site would see much of the land be turned into a community farm, with the allotments being extended and new sports pitches to the west of Wellington Sports Centre.

The western edge of the site, near Rockwell Green Primary School, will be left as a community park and conservation area, with existing footpaths being upgraded.

Council leader Federica Smith-Roberts described the plans as “a real good news story” when they came before the council’s corporate scrutiny committee in Taunton on Wednesday evening (June 1).

She said: “This is in relation to consolidating the land in and around the Tonedale Mill area of Wellington so that we protect the open green spaces.

“We will use the CIL allocated funds and look to work with Wellington Town Council by giving it a long-term lease of 125 years, so that they can look to manage lots of different groups who will really keep this asset in the community and benefiting the community.”

CIL allows local authorities to pool contributions from different developments to deliver major infrastructure improvements, such as new roads or flood prevention schemes.

Wellington has seen significant housing growth in recent times, including the Cades Farm and Longforth Farm developments east of the town centre, the Monument View site in Rockwell Green, and the ongoing work at Jurston Fields on the A38 West Buckland Road (which may be halted as a result of a planning appeal).

Coun Janet Lloyd, who represents the Wellington East ward, said she “wholeheartedly supported” this project. She said: “We desperately need more allotments. We also need more sports pitches.”

The proposals will be discussed further by the council’s executive committee on June 15 before coming to the full council for final approval on July 5.

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