A 'RESIDENTIAL community' should be built beside a planned employment site where development has previously been resisted, according to a housebuilder.

Taylor Wimpey has outlined proposals for new homes east of the M5 on the outskirts of Taunton.

The company already owns a swathe of land at Orchard Portman it hopes to build on and is now suggesting constructing homes on an area around the hamlet of Haydon, where Taylor Wimpey has "a land interest".

A letter to Somerset West and Taunton Council planners from the firm's agents, Pegasus Group, says the "next logical expansion" for Taunton is south east close to the planned Nexus 25 business park.

It says: "We consider that the Taylor Wimpey land interest can sit comfortably alongside and complementing this strategic employment site by delivering strategic residential led development."

Key points in the letter, released under a Freedom of Information request, include:

*the town has "expanded significantly", "making the eastern side of Taunton a sustainable location for future growth".

*the land is ideally situated as it is close to "key places of work".

*"suitable retail, recreational and residential development" could be centred around a landscape and green infrastructure.

*"a sustainable residential community" would complement future employment land at Nexus 25.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: "We have an interest in land south of the Nexus 25 strategic employment site and have outlined our belief to SWTC that this would be a logical location for a residential-led development in line with the garden town vision.

"We hope to deliver new homes in this area and we will participate fully in the council's consultation on the long-term garden town project, as well as its production of the new local plan.

"With any proposed development it is important that we take on board the feedback of residents and stakeholders in drawing up any plans and we will consult the local community on any future proposals for this site."

Mike Farrell, who lives locally, said locals had been given "firm assurances" by the former Taunton Deane Borough Council that Nexus 25 would not lead to building east of the M5.

He added: "It looks like garden town status means anything but what we all hoped it meant and it could mean the expansion of Taunton now becomes a massive issue."

SWTC planning portfolio holder Cllr Mike Rigby said the council is working on a local plan review, pinpointing where new houses could be built up to 2040.

He said: "Any major new housing proposals will be considered in that local plan review.

"The current administration is very keen to see that planning applications are determined in strict accordance with the local plan."