CURO wants to push on with plans to build new homes which were previously turned down over fears it would leave children facing an 11-mile school run.

The housing association wants to provide 54 new homes on the field behind Orchard Vale. The field lies across the border in the Somerset Council area, meaning new residents would pay no Council Tax towards services in Midsomer Norton, could face a six-mile journey to their GP, and send their children to a secondary school 11 miles away in Wells.

Somerset Council’s east planning committee refused planning permission for the scheme off the back of these concerns in November. Bath and North East Somerset Council later refused planning permission.

Stuart Smith, technical director at Curo, said: “We’re resubmitting this planning application because we’re dedicated to tackling the housing crisis in our region.

“In this updated application, we’ve sought to directly address concerns raised by members of Somerset Council’s Planning East Committee. We’re proposing 54 new high-quality homes, including 30% affordable housing.

“We’re committed to funding improvements to pedestrian and cycling routes, better bus stops and public open spaces. Additionally, we’ve significantly improved the sustainability of the homes that we are proposing, with all our new homes featuring air source heat pumps and solar panels.”

The housing association says the new homes would be in the catchment of Somerton House surgery in Midsomer Norton, as GP catchment areas do not follow council borders.

Although secondary school pupils would not automatically qualify for places in a different council area, Curo only expects there to be eight people of secondary school age living in the new homes and there should be space at Somervale, Norton Hill and Writhlington secondary schools to accommodate them. If there is not sufficient space, Curo said it could provide the money to pay for transport to the Blue School in Wells.

Shaun Hughes, B&NES Councillor for Midsomer Norton North, said it was “frustrating” to see the application come back again so soon. He warned: “Curo tell us that they pride themselves in being part of and listening to the community. This is not the case in this instance. Surely Curo should be aware of the huge pressure our local services are already under? Our doctors and dental practices are full; our infrastructure cannot cope.

“Residents of this new development will pay Council Tax to Somerset Council and therefore not contribute to the infrastructure and services they will use in Midsomer Norton.

“Our area does not have the additional jobs to support this level of Mendip housing and is therefore likely to increase serious commuting issues we are trying to address between Midsomer Norton and Bath and Bristol and will harm our ability to achieve our climate emergency objectives.

“Sadly, as Curo has chosen to launch a new application, the 200+ written objections made against the previous application will disappear so residents  will need to lodge new objections before the deadline of March 28.”

You can view and comment on the plans on the planning portal here.