RESIDENTS have been urged to contact Somerset Council with their objections to a controversial housing development in Wellington.

There are fears lives could be put at risk by extra traffic from developing the former Popham House and The Court care home in Courtland Road, the access to which would be via Court Drive, off Mantle Street.

Gadd Properties Ltd wants to build 20 houses after demolishing Popham House and knocking down parts of the grade two listed The Court and converting it to nine apartments.

The firm’s planning application, its second, prompted anger and concern among local people who attended a Wellington Town Council meeting to express concern it will be ‘a tragedy waiting to happen’.

Steve Blackmore said narrow Court Drive would not cope with the extra vehicle movements and it was already difficult for two cars to pass.

Emily Southall said: “None of the access roads can sustain that sort of extra traffic. I spend a lot of time walking in the area and there are a lot of people who walk there.

“How are these people going to be able to walk in safety when there is heavy construction traffic going through there?

“Local residents are going to have to put up with this upheaval for two years during the building of the development.

“I understand The Court needs work, but it does not need 20 houses.”

Councillors heard of the danger when motorists had to reverse out of Court Drive onto Mantle Street if they came face-to-face with a vehicle coming the other way.

One person said: “It’s a miracle I haven’t read a newspaper report where they are talking about a child being run over.”

Cllr Andy Govier said: “It’s very disappointing we are discussing this again. We opposed these proposals the first time and said it wasn’t appropriate and the application was withdrawn.

“The access is poor from both ends and what has been said by people here about the envisaged problems will happen if this is given the go-ahead.

“I would ask people to put their objections on Somerset Council’s website. We can only object as a town council as part of the consultation.”

Wellington Mayor Cllr Marcus Barr urged people to lodge their objections on Somerset Council’s online planning portal, ‘the more the merrier’.

But Cllr John Thorne said: “There will be development on this site at some point, the question is how many houses is too many.”

Cllr Janet Lloyd wanted to defer the debate until County Hall highways comments were known, which could be crucial in relation to fears over access.

Cllr Keith Wheatley said there could be an ‘issue about phosphates’ and which was a ‘very powerful argument’ with planning applications.

He referenced housing developments being delayed or denied the go-ahead because of rules concerning the phosphate levels affecting the Somerset Levels.

Councillors agreed to object to the application, but stressed to residents a final decision rested with Somerset Council, which was not expected to be before May 9.