Small Somerset village could still see more than 20 new homes as appeal lodged

Proposed site of 23 homes on Chapelfield in Oakhill
Proposed site of 23 homes on Chapelfield in Oakhill -Credit:Google Maps

More than 20 new homes could still be built in a small Somerset village if a second planning inquiry proves successful. The Johnson Land Company (Bristol) Ltd. failed in its attempts to secure permission for 26 homes on Chapelfield in Oakhill, north of Shepton Mallet - with Mendip District Council turning down the original plans in June 2022 and the Planning Inspectorate dismissing a subsequent appeal in May 2023.

The developer submitted revised plans for the same site in November 2023, reducing the number of homes to 23 - but these were refused by Somerset Council in February 2024. The company has now lodged a further appeal, with the Planning Inspectorate confirming a public inquiry will take place before the end of the year.

The site lies at the southern edge of the village, with the sole vehicular access being onto Chapelfield leading onto High Street. Of the 23 new homes, seven would be affordable - meeting the council's target of 30 per cent affordable housing for any new development of ten homes or more in the former Mendip area.

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A spokesman for Noma Architects (representing the Nailsea-based developer) said: "The proposed scheme responds to the site’s context and provides a distinctive place that relates well to the character of Oakhill. The extra space in the proposed scheme has allowed significantly improved proposals for soft landscaping when compared to the previous Persimmon scheme.

"The public open space at the entrance of the site provides a visual focal point which offers a high quality outlook for those dwellings facing onto the space. The typical car parking solution for the houses is to have the car parking to the side of the houses so that the parking is within the curtilage of the house but does not dominate the street scene."

The amended plans were refused by the council's planning officers through their delegated powers, rather than a public decision by its planning committee east (which handles major applications in the former Mendip area). Mickey Green, the council's executive director for climate and place, cited two reasons to refuse the plans - namely:

  • The site is outside the village development limit and amounts to "over-development", with the layout and "inadequate" landscaping having "a harmful impact on the character of the area

  • The developer has not provided a legal agreement to secure "adequate provision" for local schools, affordable housing or public open space

Plans for 23 homes on Chapelfield in Oakhill
Plans for 23 homes on Chapelfield in Oakhill -Credit:Noma Architects

The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed the fate of the plans will be decided by a public inquiry, rather than being handled through written representations.

While no date for the hearing has yet been set, a decision is expected to be made before the end of the year.