PLANS for 71 new homes on agricultural land on the edge of Wiveliscombe are set to be approved, despite strong opposition from some residents.

Developers Lovell Homes have been vying to develop the land off Burges Lane since 2020, and now it appears planning permission will be granted after the council’s planning officer backed the plans.

In the application, the homebuilder pledged the scheme would remain in-keeping with the town’s aesthetic. The plans state: “The new homes will use a variety of traditional and contemporary forms along with a simple palette of materials to define a design language with warmth and interest.

“But they will be also taking their reference from the local context creating an environment with a strong sense of place and single character formed around the site's features. The development will feature quality materials, composed fenestration and refined details which together will reinforce a distinct identity.

“Through a strong and clear site organisation and block hierarchy the proposals suggest interesting street scenes, reflecting the geometries of streets adjacent such as Burges Lane and Golden Hill whilst opening up the development to have internal views and focus upon the existing and surrounding countryside.

“Further to this landscaped lined streets aid with the transition between town development and countryside and soften the urban forms of the street frontage.”

Planning officer Russell Williams agreed. In reporting to the planning committee ahead of their May 1 meeting, when the proposals are expected to be determined, he said: “The design strategy for the proposed development is considered to reflect local character and distinctiveness, with a modern approach to house building.

“The development on the whole represents high quality design and complies with core strategy policies.”

It comes after a number of residents wrote to the authority objecting to the new development citing concerns over traffic, heritage and local services.

Pauline Homeshaw, chair of the town’s Civic Society said: “The overall design quality is extremely poor. Elevation plans are dull and uninspiring, showing no distinctive local or historic style, rather an ‘off the peg solution’ that could be transported to anywhere in the UK.

“Wiveliscombe’s distinctive historic character is one of red sandstone, red brick and/or render. An occasional ‘stone’ gable frontage is tokenism. Moreover, frontage gables are in any case not an historic local design feature.

“Likewise, blank brick walls as part of frontage elevations are neither historically ‘local’ nor appropriate, nor are the form of ‘semi-detached suburbia’ interspersed with attached garages.”

One resident, who lives on Burges Lane, wrote in connection to the plan: “There isn’t the infrastructure in Wiveliscombe to support this estate, such as parking, schools, roads and community services.

“The houses will be built unsustainably with no solar panels, which will not be in line with climate change. The road the estate wants to use is unsuitable and not safe to come out onto.”

Cllr Dave Mansell, who represents the town, also spoke out against what he termed “inadequate parking provision.”