Plans to regenerate a huge industrial area described as a ‘festering boil’ in a Midsomer Norton have been held up.

The vacant site off Station Road, in Midsomer Norton, has been an eyesore for years and council members have delayed their decision over a planning application until they have visited the site.

But town councillor Michael Moxham, who described the area as “the festering boil of Midsomer Norton”, has urged the council to approve the plans to speed up redevelopment.

A planning application in order to start work to regenerate the site was discussed by Bath and North East Somerset Council’s planning committee on July 26th.

The plans include the demolition of the industrial buildings on the site, with new landscaping. New buildings and uses for the site are not included in the application, but it is intended to enable future development of the site.

The nineteenth century brewery building near Station Road, which is a non-designated heritage asset, would be knocked down but the façade would then be rebuilt to a reduced height, with the intention of keeping some of the character of the road.

Tom Schumacher, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the site’s owners, said: “We really look forward to working closely with the council to deliver these improvements as part of this key neighbourhood-friendly mixed use development to meet the assessed needs of Midsomer Norton.”

It would also see a new pavement and pedestrian crossings on Station Road, which currently only has a narrow pavement on one side.

Mr Moxham, also addressing the committee in support of the plans, said the current pavement did not have space for people to pass each other if they had a pram or mobility aid and people needed to step into the road. He said: “It’s frustrating and very very dangerous.”

Mr Moxham said people in Midsomer Norton are wondering when something is going to happen with the site. He said: “I worked in that factory some 40 years ago and it was condemned then, the brewery site.”

He added: “Let this start. Let it go ahead because it is the festering boil of Midsomer Norton.”

But Jane Lewis, a former councillor on both the town council and Bath and North East Somerset Council, urged councillors to not include the old brewery building within the demolition plans. She said: “I love that building, and if you just take away that other 97% of rubbish it could actually look really good.”

Ms Lewis said the building was a part of the town’s social and industrial history. She said: “It’s lost a lot and I just want to retain the rest.”

Shaun Hughes, who represents Midsomer Norton North on Bath and North East Somerset Council and sits on the planning committee, told councillors: “There is a lot of frustration locally about the brownfield site that has been sat there for many years without development.

“I think it’s important that we look fully at both sets of views, both for and against, and we do a full assessment of this.

“And I would suggest for the committee that the best way to do that, particularly as a lot of people aren’t familiar to Midsomer Norton, that we would arrange a site visit to view the buildings.”

The move was seconded by Westfield councillor Eleanor Jackson, who said: “I go past this site two or three times a week and I really had not appreciated what was there.”

The committee voted unanimously in favour of visiting the site. The decision over whether to grant planning permission will now be made at a future meeting of the planning committee once the visit has taken place.

LDRS, John Wimperis