PLANS to redevelop a major employment site in Somerset could finally be approved – more than a year on from when a decision was put off by the local authority.

Yeo Valley Farms and Holt Farms Ltd have put forward plans to revamp the site north of the A371 Axbridge Road, building new home, a care homes, business units and a nursery.

Sedgemoor District Council deferred a decision on the plans in April 2019, claiming it needed more information before it could decide whether to grant approval.

More than 18 months on, the council’s development committee will finally make a decision on the future of the site when it meets virtually on Tuesday (November 10).

Under the revised proposals, Yeo Valley intends for the site to deliver up to 100 new homes, along with nine “live/work units”, which are designed for self-employed people who wish to work from home.

Somerset County Gazette:

Aerial View Of The Existing Yeo Valley Farms Site In Cheddar, Looking Southwest. Pic: Hammonds Yates

A 60-bed care home will also be built on-site, alongside 12 ‘extra care’ units for people aged 55 and over who are more capable of living independently but want access to communal facilities.

The site will also include a nursery and up to 750 sq m of business units – though unlike the original plans, none of this is intended to be for retail use.

Applicant Karl Tucker told the council’s development committee in April 2019 that the current site was “too small” to meet the company’s needs.

He said: “We are the second-largest yoghurt producer in the country. We employ 1,750 people.

“We purchased the Axbridge Road site in 1991. Since then we have acquired a further three sites – at Cannington and Crewkerne in Somerset, and at Newton Abbot in Devon.

“The buildings are not fit for purpose for either our or our customers’ technical requirements, nor can they hold all our stock in one place.”

The site sits near the Cheddar Woods holiday park, and is within the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – meaning the rules for how the site can be redeveloped are stricter than normal.

The AONB objected to the plans, arguing the density of the property and lighting levels would make it “incongruous with the surrounding landscape”.

Somerset County Gazette:

Section Of The Existing Yeo Valley Farm Site In Cheddar, Looking North. Pic: Hammonds Yates.

The council’s development committee deferred a decision in 2019, citing several areas where more information was needed – namely:

  • How many new school places would be needed, and how much the developer should contribute towards this
  • Highway issues, including pedestrian likes to the village’s amenities
  • How well the site had been marketed for commercial use
  • The potential operator of the care home

Somerset County Council has raised no objections to the revised plans, claiming the new access junction onto Axbridge Road will not have a negative impact on the “magic roundabout”, where the road joins the B3135 and Shipham Road over the hills.

It also contends that Cheddar First School will have sufficient places to accommodate new pupils in the years ahead.

The district council’s development committee will consider the plans during its afternoon session on November 10, which began at 2:30pm. Anyone wishing to attend or speak during the virtual meeting should email

Somerset County Gazette:

Section Of The Existing Yeo Valley Farm Site In Cheddar, Looking Northeast. Pic: Hammonds Yates.