COUPLES looking to get married near Taunton will soon be able to take advantage of new facilities at one of the area’s most popular venues.

Rumwell Park lies off Stonegallows to the west of the county town – a short distance from a new ‘Comeytrowe urban extension’ of 2,000 homes.

The grade two listed facility, which was built in the mid-1850s, has space for up to 18 people to sleep and numerous games facilities within the grounds.

Somerset West and Taunton Council has now granted permission for a new summerhouse and gazebo to be built on site – meaning guests can soon enjoy a barbecue or trip to the hot tub with greater privacy.

The plans came before the council’s planning committee when it met virtually on Thursday afternoon (September 17).

The new gazebo – which has already been partially constructed – will cover the hot tub  and provide a barbecue area near the existing coach house, located a short distance from the main house.

The summerhouse will replace an existing, obsolete structure, allowing a further eight people to stay on site either as part of a wedding party or as separate paying guests.

Several of Rumwell Park’s close neighbours issued a joint statement ahead of the meeting, which was read aloud to councillors.

They said: “The noise and disturbance experienced by us and other neighbouring properties is considerable and ongoing.

“The use of the site for large groups of guests leads to frequent arrivals and departures of large numbers of cars, an increase in traffic movements, very loud parties throughout the day which often continue into the early hours, and large piles of rubbish following departure at the entrance of the site.”

Councillor Mark Lithgow said he “did feel for the neighbours”, but said there was no solid reason in planning law to turn the proposal down.

Councillor Ian Aldridge suggested putting a condition in place which limited the house during which the hot tub could be used – but was informed by planning officers that this was not “unreasonable and not appropriate” since the hot tub had already been constructed.

The committee voted to approve the plans by a margin of nine votes to two, with two abstentions.