I FOUND piece in the Gazette about Monkton Heathfield 2 plans– '1120-homes plans have “serious failures”'– very interesting with all too familiar concerns.

About five years ago Arts Taunton held a consultation event with Create Streets.

I was impressed by the approach and the discussion of the issues.

I wish that Taunton had listened to experts like Create Streets years ago before the ill-conceived vast “anywheresville” housing estates and urban sprawl got underway.

Last week, Redrow withdrew its application for Staplegrove West Phases 1A.

Somerset West and Taunton's own Placemaking Specialist was concerned about the “monotonous layout” that shows “no recognition of climate change emergency which SW &T have declared.”

Taunton Design Circle and RIBA Somerset stated that “it did not respond specifically to the Garden Town Vision or Design Guide ...(and) there is no evidence of genuine references to local character.”

Hopefully, everyone concerned with the development will now look again at the scheme.

However, I fear that it might just be the lull before the storm.

Just before Christmas, applications for wetlands near Nailsbourne and Langford Lane were submitted to SW & T.

Not surprisingly, these have caused widespread concern locally as there is a lack of fundamental information.

Wetlands – in the right place and with committed long term management and funding – can have real benefits for the environment.

However, if wetlands are badly designed and / or neglected they can quickly become an eyesore and can also lead to a number of problems, such as increased flooding, toxic algae blooms and mosquitoes.

The wetlands proposals are an offset scheme to compensate for phosphates in the sewage overflows from the houses yet to built for Staplegrove West. I find the concept of “offset” quite bizarre.

Phosphates are a problem. The two main sources of phosphates are sewage and agricultural run-off.

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The history of the development of Taunton in recent years has been profoundly depressing.

What was once a beautiful Georgian county town, surrounded by small villages with their own local distinctiveness, is now an ill-planned amorphous mass of “anywherevilles”.

It is now unfortunately too late to put back the clock for many developments.

However, I hope sense might yet prevail about the “urbanisation” of the Kingston Road which got outline planning approval in 2017.

As Taunton Deane's own Landscape Officer and the Quantock AONB in 2016 concluded that the development would be “highly adverse”.

They believed that any development should sit in harmony with its history and agricultural surroundings and enhance the transition from town to countryside and not damage it further.

For far too long developers have been “gaming” the planning system.

Hopefully in future planners will not accept “anywherevilles” and instead will ensure that poorly designed developments and those in the wrong place do not get built.

David Lausen, Staplegrove.