A SMALL business park near a Somerset rugby club will be completely revamped after plans were unanimously approved by councillors.

Lee Hedges owns the Hyde Lane Business Park on Hyde Lane in Taunton, a few hundred yards from Taunton Rugby Football Club’s official ground.

Mr Hedges applied to demolish the existing buildings on the site, which was formerly a chicken farm, and replace them with five purpose-built small business units.

Somerset Council’s planning committee west gave its unanimous backing to the plans when it met in Taunton on Tuesday afternoon (September 19).

Under the plans, the buildings within the western half of the site will be demolished and replaced with a single-storey block comprising one large business unit and four smaller units.

While the overall footprint of the units will be reduced, from 669 sq m to 500 sq m, it does represent a more efficient use of the space and is deemed more appropriate for the needs of small businesses in the area.

The access into the business park will be enhanced, while the buildings to the east (including Hyde Lodge) will not be altered.

Sathish William, who lives near the site, said he was concerned about the noise and traffic generated by the improved units.

He said: “Hyde Lane is extremely congested some days, with traffic coming back and forth. The weekends are very busy with the rugby team playing there.

“The site should not be in operation at certain times to provide peace for me and my neighbours.”

Councillor Norman Cavill, whose Monkton and North Curry division includes the site, said the new units would represent a “great improvement” in the business park’s appearance and benefit local small businesses.

He said: “We originally gave planning permission for the chicken farm and live-in units for the life of the chicken farm.

“For the last 16 years or so, it has been an industrial estate with established use and much-needed small industrial units.

“Mr Hedges has taken on board the concerns we have expressed about getting cars off the road. It will be a great improvement for the area, basically, and I would wholeheartedly support the application.”

The plans were unanimously approved by the committee after less than an hour’s debate.