BUILDING 22 homes on the edge of Shepton Mallet would be a “criminal” loss of green space and wildlife, local residents say, writes Daniel Mumby.

The Pegasus Planning Group has submitted plans for the homes at the western end of Westway Lane.

Locals say the properties are not in a sensible location and will lead to many species being displaced or destroyed.

Access to the development would be near the bend on Westhay Lane, with 48 parking spaces provided throughout the site.

Seven of the homes would be affordable.

A spokesman for the developer said: “The scheme at Westway Lane has been designed for the needs of its users and will be legible, safe and comfortable to use.

“Every effort has been made to retain existing wildlife habitats and where ground conditions allow. Sustainable urban drainage has been used to manage drainage outputs in a fashion that supports wildlife biodiversity and enhances amenities for the planned users of the development.

“The scheme will provide a mix of tenures sufficient to make it economically and socially successful in a location that allows ease of access to services and facilities.”

The site lies outside the settlement boundary of Shepton Mallet and is not allocated for housing in the Local Plan Part I or Part II.

Local resident Jacqueline Cheshire said the site is an “inappropriate position for houses” and warned the development would lead to further destruction of Somerset wildlife.

She said: “Wildlife like owls and badgers’ homes will be destroyed. It would be criminal to go ahead with this.

“It wouldn’t stop there – they’d want to build on the next field until we have none left.”

Sarah Kingsley said: “The development will harm the rural character and outlook of the area and will have a harmful urbanising impact.

“I also believe that the proposed development will potentially lead to further development of adjoining greenfield sites.”

Shepton Mallet Town Council has objected to the plans, with town clerk Paula Robertson criticising the “poor quality of design and impact on traffic generation”, claiming the development was “out of keeping with the area” and the social housing would not be properly integrated.

The district council is expected to make a decision on the proposals by the end of the summer.