MORE than 200 homes could be built in Wellington after an appeal against the plan was unexpectedly brought to a halt.

In a shock move, Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) - which refused the application for 205 homes on land near Bagley Road, Rockwell Green last year - said on Thursday (July 19) that its concerns had been addressed and it would be 'unreasonable for the council to continue to contest the appeal'. 

The council initially refused the application, from land promoters Gladman Ltd, for 205 homes and 60 care apartments stating myriad of reasons for the refusal, including it being outside of the settlement area. 

The land is not part of the council's site allocations and development management plan (SADMP), which outlines spaces suitable for housing.

Therefore, the 205 homes would result in an 'unplanned extension' of the town.

After a series of adjournments the proceedings finally got underway on Tuesday morning at the Albemarle Centre in Taunton. 

But the appeal has been halted early after TDBC's legal team sided with Gladman. 

A TDBC spokesperson said: “In April 2017, the council refused a planning application by Gladman Developments for the erection of up to 205 dwellings and up to 60 bed apartments with care on land off Bagley Road, Wellington.

READ MORE: Plan for 205 homes near Wellington REFUSED by council 

"The four reasons for refusal related to i) the location of the development outside of the settlement limit and the resultant effects on sustainability and accessibility , ii) highways, iii) protected species and the iv) provision of affordable housing, children’s play facilities and a travel plan.

"Gladman Developments appealed against the refusal to the Secretary of State and the matter has been heard by a Planning Inspector at a public Inquiry over five days in Taunton."

Gladman claimed TDBC is unable to meet its five-year housing land supply, the extra-care units were needed, and that Rockwell Green was a ‘sustainable’ area for the development.

The council's legal representatives were convinced by Gladman's evidence and arguments, as the authority now believes all issues have been 'adequately addressed' and the issues were no longer 'maintainable'. 

EXPLAINED: Why housing developers go for land outside of council's allocated area

The council spokesman added: "At the commencement of the inquiry, only the first reason for refusal remained outstanding.

"The other three reasons for refusal were adequately addressed either by way of submission of further evidence by Gladman Developments or by way of appropriate legal obligations to secure provision of affordable housing and other required matters.

Somerset County Gazette: RESTART: The appeal for land near to Bagley Road

"As the inquiry progressed, and on advice from the council’s legal advisors, the council concluded the previously-expressed views on policy conflict were not maintainable, that the appeal proposals did not conflict with local plan policies and that it would be unreasonable for the council to continue to contest the appeal.

"Accordingly, the council has withdrawn its objections to the grant of planning permission for the development, subject to the imposition of suitable planning conditions and legal obligations.

"The inspector’s decision letter is expected to be published in the next few weeks.”

Gladman Land is currently in the process of two other appeals against the Deane for similar 'unplanned extension' rejections.