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1,450 new homes are focus of plans for Wells' future

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: October 13, 2012

  • Sites like the former Nutricia factory have been earmarked for housing development

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The building of 1,450 new homes in Wells will be the focus of Mendip District Council's 15 year vision for the city.

The plans form part of the draft version of Mendip's Local Plan which was endorsed at the cabinet meeting on Monday.

Each town and city in the area is analysed in terms of its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT).

Wells is described as a "vibrant local centre" and "as an economic centre, Wells is, arguably, the most successful of all the Mendip towns."

Despite these positives the document states that the greatest challenge facing Wells is its ageing population.

According to the report, affluent older people retiring to Wells have placed a premium on house prices and impacts on the ability of first time buyers and working families to move to the area.

The draft plan states that this is a contributing factor to a shortfall of around 2,000 workers compared to jobs.

The proposed solution to these issues is to build more housing.

The core strategy for the city is to have around 1,000 new homes built on previously developed, brownfield, land which has consent for development, such as the former Clares, Thales and Nutricia sites.

The remaining 450 homes will be built on undeveloped, greenfield, sites.

The two sites outlined are the land to the south of Glastonbury Road as a southerly, second phase of the redevelopment of the Nutricia site. It is projected that 150 new homes could be accommodated here.

The largest site is to the west of Wells between the A371 towards Cheddar and Wookey Hole Road which has been earmarked for 200 new homes.

Where the remaining 100 homes would go has not been made clear.

When outlining how this development would take place the draft plan states that the district council is mindful of the city's setting and that planning permission would not be granted until a review of land supply is undertaken as part of the site allocation process.

This could mean that other brownfield sites can be used if they become available for either the original 200 homes or the 100 which still need a site.

Mendip's plan also includes the provision of 1,500 new jobs which will come through sites already allocated for business use such as Cathedral Park and the redevelopment of redundant employment sites.

The Local Plan sets out Mendip's vision of how to develop the region over the next 15 years.

Its aims are stated as: to diversify and strengthen the local economy, to equip people and local business with the skills they need, to promote greater vitality and viability in our market towns and rural communities and to enable people to maintain, improve their state of health to provide adequate levels of decent housing which is accessible to all, to improve accessibility by means other than the private car and to maintain and enhance the quality of the local environment and contribute to international climate change goals.

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