South Somerset new homes: Inspector to scrutinise plan

Plans for 16,000 new homes across south Somerset are being scrutinised by a planning inspector.

The inquiry, being held at South Somerset District Council offices in Yeovil, looks at issues raised by the recently-published draft local plan.

The plan is a blueprint for jobs and housing growth used by local authorities. Almost half of the new homes, 7,800, will be built in Yeovil.

An additional 3,500 homes are also proposed for smaller market towns.

The plan does not mean all the houses will be built but highlights the areas which could be suitable for development.

During the consultation, which ran between October and December 2010, the public were asked to comment on the council's preferred options.

As a result of concerns amendments were made.

The planning inquiry is due to last three weeks and hear evidence from some 90 objectors.

'Objective view'

One of those due to speak is Martin Sowerbutts from the East Coker Preservation Trust.

He said although the trust was keen to have development in the village it had to be appropriate to its size.

"At the moment East Coker has about 800 houses so [the increase] will be something proportionate to that over the next 15 years - perhaps 100 houses," he said.

"What we're not talking about is 2,500 houses - another 5,000 people - which would change the whole nature of the parish and the community.

"We're confident the inspector will take an objective view of the information in front of him."

Inspector David Hogger is expected to publish his findings later this year.

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