FARRINGTON Gurney could more than double in size as the council considers allowing hundreds of homes to be built on its doorstep in its new local plan.

Bath and North East Somerset Council has been told that 14,500 houses need to be built in the area across the next 20 years and it is still trying to find the space for 6,500 of them. A consultation is running until April 16 detailing options for where the houses could go in the council’s new local plan.

Among those on the list is Farrington Gurney, where the consultation proposes building 500 new homes — but this would make the new development larger than the whole of the current village, which only has around 300 homes.

The council’s deputy head of planning Richard Daone said that any new development would need to be of such a large scale because there would need to be enough homes to justify building a new primary school.

He was questioned by councillor June Player (Westmoreland, Independent) at the council’s climate scrutiny panel on March 21. She said: “How is it decided to have 500 homes to be put there when — as far as I understand — there are at the moment only about 300?

“So a huge extra amount of people will be coming into a small village. How are they expected to integrate into what is already a very long standing community?”

Mr Danoe insisted that nothing had been decided yet, and it was only one of the options out for public consultation. He said: “To have a smaller scale of development at Farrington Gurney was not possible because the evidence was showing that there wasn’t capacity at the primary school, for example, or some of the other supporting infrastructure.”

He added: “You do need roughly 500 homes to support a new primary school,  so that’s very crudely where the 500 figure came from — but just to reiterate again we are very much at the options stage at this time.”

Options included in the local plan will set out where developments are acceptable and guide planning policy in the district until 2042.

The council website shows two different options for the development at Farrignton Gurney, with one option building on fields north of the village and one on fields south of it. Under both plans, the iconic village church would remain isolated from the main village.

The plans have sparked concern in the village. Local councillor on Bath and North East Somerset Council Ann Morgan (Farrington Gurney, Liberal Democrat) said in a statement: “Residents of Farrington Gurney are concerned that 500 houses would significantly alter the integrity of a beautiful, small village with a strong community heart. They live in, or have moved to, Farrington Gurney because it’s a lovely little village which would be fractured by the proposed housing.”

The consultation has now been extended to April 16.

You can view the plans for Farrington Gurney and have your say in the consultation here: https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/local-plan-options/farrington-gurney-site-options