THE go-ahead has been given to bulldoze a council-owned pub ahead of building 11 zero carbon council homes on the site.

Somerset West and Taunton Council approved the scheme at the Oxford Inn, Taunton, at a special full council meeting last night (Tuesday).

Work will start in spring 2022, with the first tenants expected to move in a year later.

The development will feature nine flats and two houses on the site on the corner of Roman Road and Outer Circle.

The Oxford Inn, which is owned by the council, is currently derelict and has been closed for some time.

Funding from the council will be determined once the finalised design has received planning approval and tenders have been received.

At the same meeting, councillors also approved plans for 54 housing units on council-owned land at Seaward Way, Minehead.

The development will include a mix of houses, flats and chalet bungalows, with the last two featuring adapted options for residents with a disability. A play area space will also be included.

Funding has been secured as part of a Section 106 'planning gain' agreement with with EDF for Hinkley Point C power station and developer contributions for affordable housing at Ellicombe Meadow.

And Homes England is considering an application to fund access onto the site, along with infrastructure as part of a commercial space which is also proposed.

Subject to local consultations and subsequent planning approval, all the units of both sites will be built to national space standards – between five and 14 per cent larger than many developer house types – and will include a number of fully wheelchair accessible properties.

Tenants will benefit from energy efficient housing, with low energy bills and affordable rents set between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of market rates.

Both developments will showcase the modern innovations in environmentally friendly construction and design, and will incorporate a comprehensive data collection regime to benchmark energy and carbon use, enabling customers and development partners to support and adopt a higher standard in building regulations.

The buildings will be air tight with insulation nearly twice the thickness of current standards.

Labour and materials will be sourced locally and off-site construction methods will be employed, thereby reducing build time and carbon and energy use.

Energy requirements for both sites will be fossil fuel free, while hot water and central heating will be supplied primarily using on-site renewable sources.

Charge points for electric vehicles will also be provided.

SWT executive member for housing Cllr Fran Smith said: “We're delighted to be able to take the next steps on our journey to reaching a net zero carbon district by converting these dilapidated and unused sites into inclusive, affordable and energy-efficient housing for our residents.

“We've committed to delivering 1,000 new homes over the next 30 years, of which at least 115 of these, including those proposed here, will exceed current building standards as ‘exemplar zero carbon homes’.

“What's more, the development proposed for Minehead will represent the first council homes to be built in West Somerset for over 30 years, of which, in the spirit of future growth, the final development address will be aptly named Rainbow Way.

“Pending consultation and planning approval, the building work for Seaward Way and Oxford Inn is projected to commence Summer 2021 and Spring 2022, completing Summer 2023 and Spring 2023 respectively.”