You may recall that last year, Taylor Wimpey attempted to do away with the tourism and employment uses in the Station Farm development, replacing them with housing. The proposals were roundly rejected, by 9 votes to 2. Taylor Wimpey subsequently appealed, a public inquiry was opened but adjourned over a spurious argument on the number of houses permitted but not yet built in the Borough. The public inquiry is due to re-open in September. However, in an attempt to put further pressure on the Council, Taylor Wimpey resubmitted the applications in essentially the same form. These applications came before Taunton Deane’s Planning Committee last night and I’m pleased to say that they were again soundly defeated, by 9 votes to 4, and against the recommendations of the Council officers, who supported the proposal.
What happens now? The public inquiry will re-open next month and we will attempt to persuade the Inspector of the validity of our case; we will essentially be supporting Taunton Deane Borough Council in their refusal of the applications. I will continue to represent the Parish Council, which has objected.
We want to see the employment uses on the site preserved. While we may not think that the provision of the permitted inn is an especially good idea, we would like to see the land preserved for some other tourism/employment use. The default alternative should not be ‘more housing’ and that’s what I’ll continue to press for.