Curo’s revised plans for nearly 60 new homes at Underhill Lane have been approved by local councillors.

Under the proposals, 26 and 28 Orchard Vale (which are currently in Curo’s ownership) will be demolished to create room for the new access road into the site, being replaced with two of the 54 planned properties.

26-28 Orchard Vale, Midsomer Norton, will be demolished for the development to take place. Image: Google Maps ( )

Of the 54 new homes, 16 will be affordable, meeting the council’s 30 per cent target for any new development of ten homes or more in the former Mendip area.

The development will not contribute any funding for schools or NHS services, with the council’s education department and NHS Somerset arguing that their respective facilities have sufficient capacity.

Councillor Shaun Hughes, B&NES Councillor, Midsomer Norton North, expressed his dismay on the proposals when Somerset Council’s planning committee east met in Shepton Mallet on Tuesday, May 7.

He told the committee: “It’s frustrating that we’re here again, and it’s difficult to understand why.

“This is a duplicate of the original application which was refused by both councils in November. The only significant change is that this is no longer part of your Local Plan – you don’t actually need it.

“It’s not part of our Local Plan – we don’t want it, the residents don’t want it, even a High Court judge didn’t want it.

“B&NES will be building 3,000 new homes in our area, of which 900 will be social and affordable. Between us and Somerset Council, will be building around 1,000 affordable homes. This development is opportunistic.

“Both doctors’ surgeries are currently oversubscribed and existing residents can only get emergency appointments in the main. Having Curo pay for buses to take pupils on a 22-mile trend trip to the Blue School in Wells is not sustainable.”

Deborah Plumber, who lives in the town, added in a statement read out on her behalf: “I don’t think this is going to benefit Midsomer Norton. If we need more housing in our area, it’s up to B&NES to sort out.

“Midsomer Norton is already stretched, and our roads are chaos, with cars parked on both sides. Primary school children will no longer have a safe direct route to their schools.”

In spite of these concerns, the majority of committee members said the new plans represented an improvement on the previous proposals.

Councillor Edric Hobbs (whose Mendip Hills division includes the site) said: “I’m far happier with this application now – it’s addressed my concerns. It’s looking much better than it did in November.”

Councillor Susannah Hart (Glastonbury) said: “Regarding the situation with the NHS and medical centres, this is no different from anywhere else.

“If the practices are saying they are taking on new patients, we have to take that at face value.”

After around an hour’s debate, the committee voted to approve the plans by a margin of eight votes to four.

The earliest B&NES Council’s planning committee will consider the proposals will be its next meeting on June 5.