RESIDENTS of a planned major development near the M5 face limited options if they wish to access vital amenities without using a car.

Taylor Wimpey has submitted outline plans for up to 150 new homes on the Brookfield Farm Shop and Nursery site on Ruishton Lane in Ruishton, north of the Gateway park and ride site on the eastern edge of Taunton.

If permission is granted by Somerset Council, motorists will have to deal with a narrow and congested lane to reach the A358 and onwards either into Taunton or onto the M5 at junction 25.

But for those without a car, or unable to drive, the options for accessing local shops or medical facilities may be even more limited.

The site lies at the western edge of Ruishton, adjacent to the Premier Inn and Miller and Carter steakhouse.

Access to the new development (dubbed ‘Brookfield Nurseries’ in documents uploaded to the council’s planning portal) would be from Ruishton Lane, with walking and cycle routes being provided throughout the site and potentially linking up with both the village and the recently-upgraded junction with the A358.

Despite being close to the Black Brook, the site is deemed to be at relatively low risk of flooding – with the developer promising to reduce the risk further by substantial landscaping and a green buffer at the site’s northern edge.

“Part of these area could be turned into wetlands as a form of phosphate mitigation, to prevent any additional phosphates being released into the Somerset Levels and Moors catchment area.

Of the 150 homes planned for the site, 38 will be affordable – meeting the council’s 25 per cent target for any new development of ten homes or more in the former Somerset West and Taunton area.

The development will include substantial amounts of public open space to provide a buffer between the new homes, the Black Brook and the M5 motorway.

A spokesman for Focus On Design (representing the developer) said: “The site is well-connected by buses, walking and cycling routes to Taunton town centre, as well as Blackbrook Business Park and Hankridge Farm which together offer a range of employment, retail and leisure opportunities.

“The nearby Gateway park and ride provides a frequent service into the centre of Taunton, with buses leaving every 15 minutes, five days a week, and every 20 minutes on Saturdays.

“The site is some 500 metres north of Nexus 25, a major development opportunity for employment and related uses.

“The upgraded motorway junction and Nexus 25 indicate the support at strategic level to new development on the east side of the M5 motorway.”

New pedestrian and cycle links under the M5 were constructed as part of a £19.2m improvement scheme to junction 25, which was completed in early-2021.

Those leaving the Brookfield Nurseries site will have direct pedestrian and cycle links to the cycle links near the Gateway park and ride site and around the Nexus 25 roundabout (which could be torn up and replaced by a signalised crossroads if National Highways revives its A358 dualling scheme).

But those wishing to reach the Sainsbury’s for a top-up shop, or grab a coffee at the nearby Costa Coffee or Starbucks outlets, still have to cross the busy roundabout and straddle a narrow bridge from Deane Gate Avenue over the A358 Toneway.

For those unable or unwilling to use this route, the only alternative route to the facilities at Hankridge Farm – and on into the town centre – is a footpath leading over some steps on Church Lane across a working field and along the River Tone under the motorway.

The council is expected to make a decision on the outline proposals by the summer. At this stage it is unclear whether this decision will be taken in public by its planning committee west (which handles major applications in the former Somerset West and Taunton area) or through the delegated powers of its planning officers.