HUNDREDS of objectors are expected at a planning meeting to debate building 1,600 new homes on fields in one of the most scenic areas of Taunton Deane.

Councillors will decide whether to grant outline permission for the homes on the edge of the village of Staplegrove at what is likely to be a heated debate.

Ptarmigan Staplegrove Ltd has applied to build up to 713 homes, along with employment land, green infrastructure, landscaping and play areas between Whitmore Lane and Silk Mills.

And PM Asset Management Ltd wants to put up 915 homes north of Corkscrew Lane, along with a primary school, employment land, local centre, open space including allotments and sports pitches.

Both applications feature building a section of an internal spine road to cater for the extra vehicles that would result from the developments.

Dozens of people are expected to speak out against the proposals at Taunton Deane Borough Council's planning meeting at The Castle School, off Wellington Road, Taunton, on Wednesday (September 20) at 6.30pm.

Protest letters have already been lodged with the council expressing outrage at the "scale and density" of the schemes and claiming local roads would be overwhelmed.

Members of two groups set up to try to block the projects - Residents of Staplegrove Action Group (RoSAG) and Whitmore Area Residents Group (WARG) - and parish councils in the area have already come out strongly against the plans.

Jackie Calcroft, of RoSAG, has accused the companies of bumping up the number of homes originally suggested and said the development would have a detrimental impact on already over-stretched resources, including highways, education and health.

Kingston St Mary Parish Council echoed those comments, adding that it is appalled at the loss of agricultural land beneath an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Bosses at PM Asset Management and Ptarmigan say they are planning to build "high-quality developments" that would help meet the need for more houses in the district.