THE final homes in a new low-cost development in Wellington will soon be occupied as work to regenerate a vacant town centre site draws to a close.

The Cornhill site behind the Iron Duke public house in the town centre has been subject to numerous efforts to redevelop it for residential or commercial use over the past 15 years.

The former Taunton Deane Borough Council granted approval in February, 2019, to build 42 homes on the land, with legal agreements between its successor Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) and developer Freemantle being signed off in July that year.

The LiveWest housing association, which has been working with Freemantle and Classic Builders, is now completing the delivery of the unusual site, with the last of the new tenants expected to move in by the end of January, 2023.

The Local Democracy Reporting Services was granted a tour of the site alongside development manager Sammi Hunt​​ as work on the final properties was being carried out.

Ms Hunt said: “We have been here for a good couple of years now but there is still a little bit of work to do here.

Wellington town centre social housing
Social housing in Wellington town centre is nearing completion. (Daniel Mumby)

“We have got a mixture of shared ownership and social rent.

“We typically use the developer’s designs – we have some sites where we have our own designs, but these are ones that Fremantle and Classic will have come up with.

“We have tried to tie in with the local area, the kind of thing that was here before, to keep a lot of the original features out the front to give it a more interesting feel.”

Of the 42 properties which are being delivered, 26 are being offered at social rent and 16 are shared ownership – meaning all the new homes are being offered at below market rate, a welcome boost for Wellington in the midst of an ongoing housing crisis nationally.

A number of listed buildings throughout the site have been maintained and refurbished as part of the development, including the base for the town’s Wellington Silver Band.

Along the pedestrianised section of Cornhill, at the rear of the iron Duke, a number of former commercial units have been re-purposed as houses, with several listed elements such as beams and unusual window shapes being retained.

Ms Hunt said: “The refurbished properties have electric boilers in them, they were not suitable for gas boilers. It is a real mix of the old and the new.

“All of the homes have now been allocated for local residents and the last tenants will be moving in on January 20.

“We have had quite a lot of interest.“Everyone has access to a garden, with communal open space for the people living in the flats, and there are plenty of alleyways where you can get into the town.

“Character is so important to us when it comes to these sites.”

Former business units re-purposed social housing Cornhill Wellington
Former business units in Cornhill are being re-purposed as social housing. (Daniel Mumby)

The site lies off the North Street car park run by SWT as well as being within easy reach of the town’s shops, supermarkets, schools, and football club.

The scheme has been designed to an unusual layout in order to follow the lines of historic ‘burgage plots’ as required by the council’s conservation officer.

‘Burgage’ is a medieval land term and refers to a property type that usually, and distinctly, is a narrow-fronted house sitting on a long and narrow strip of land.

For more information on the Cornhill site and other similar developments in the area visit