A HOUSING development in Wellington has to go-ahead if plans for the town to have its own railway station are to come to fruition.

An amended planning application submitted by West of England Developments to Somerset Council is for outline permission for a mixed development of up to 200 homes, employment land, an access road to the planned railway “halt/station”, public open space, drainage and associated infrastructure on land north of Taunton Road, Longforth Park.

With all large planned housing developments, there are normally concerns from local people and councillors, but a bigger goal sits at the end of this specific scheme.

Members of Wellington Town Council’s planning committee voted in favour to support the application on Monday (April 8) knowing that it was the key to the railway station going ahead as the development would include the all-important access road to the station.

Cllr John Thorne said: “We have to have this development if we want a railway station.”

Cllr Janet Lloyd said: “If we want a railway station we will have to go along with this.”

Planning officer Simon Fox told councillors: “We want to keep this project on track to allow the train station scheme to be deliverable. If we can’t get the access road done then the train station is at risk.”

Mr Fox said that the planned opening of the train station – being carried out by Network Rail – had been put back to the middle of 2026, but added that getting everything in place to allow the project to go-ahead was “concertinaing up” to give the idea that more delays could happen if other parts of the scheme did not go to plan.

The Mayor, Cllr Marcus Barr, who has been a part of the Metro group of councillors and interested parties involved in the railway station project, said: “This should have been done and dusted by now.”

The original plans have been amended with the total number of housing dropping from 220 to 200 and councillors were told that 25 per cent of the accommodation – 50 homes – would be “affordable.”

Access to the housing development would be off Taunton Road down Nynehead Road and the neighbouring Nynehead Parish Council has big concerns about the increase in traffic using that road.

But Cllr Thorne, speaking at Wellington Town Council’s planning meeting on April 8, said: “I was disappointed to read the comments of Nynehead Parish Council. I don’t think they would take it so kindly if we started telling them how to run things in their parish.”

Councillors later – at the town council’s full monthly meeting - spoke of their disappointment that the planned railway station was now being described in planning reports as a “halt.”

Cllr Steve Mercer said: “I’m sorry to see the station is now called a halt.”

The basic difference between a halt and a station is that most trains do not stop at halts, but they stop at railway stations.

A final decision on the application rests with Somerset Council.