DELIVERY of Wellington’s new railway station in 2025 could be held up by a phosphates crisis which is currently preventing the building of hundreds of new homes for the town.

The station is expected to cost about £15 million, of which £3.75m will need to be raised locally. The majority of the local funding is expected to come from housing developer contributions.

West of England Developments (WoED) has been preparing plans for 200 homes and four acres of employment land which would unlock the Longforth Farm station site and raise much of the required local sum.

A planning application for the houses and the station site had been expected to be submitted to Somerset West and Taunton Council before Christmas. But director Chris Winter said the scheme was being delayed by a requirement to prevent phosphate emissions draining onto the Somerset Levels.

Natural England forced local councils to put an embargo on new housebuilding in 2020 after the damage caused to wildlife by the phosphates was highlighted.

Since then, proposals for about 18,000 new homes across Somerset have been stuck in the planning system, with the new Wellington estate now among them, as developers were required to show how they would deal with phosphates.

Mr Winter said WoED was now part of a large group of house builders, housing associations, and social housing providers which were trying to find a solution to the issue.

The group included CG Fry and Son Ltd, which had been building 650 homes at Jurston Farm, Wellington. It warned the issue was delaying much-needed home and could lead to job losses after SWT forced the imposition of an EU environmental law following the Natural England diktat.

Mr Winter said that as it stood, West of England Developments would need a ‘substantial and expensive phosphate mitigation scheme’ before it could build the Wellington homes which in turn would help fund the train station.

However, there was no certainty it could be delivered without government intervention, thereby delaying the delivery of the infrastructure serving the new station site.

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