PLANS for new homes near a care home have finally been approved – nearly four years after they were first proposed.

Stonewater housing association has won permission for the 24 homes on Foldhill Lane, Martock, opposite La Fontana dementia nursing home.

The application was one of more than 50 in the former South Somerset area held up by the phosphates crisis, with the developer having to secure additional mitigation to prevent damage to the Somerset Levels and Moors.

Somerset Council has now given the plans the go-ahead after the solution was agreed, with construction expected to start later this year.

The site is bordered by the former Yeovil to Taunton railway line, which was closed under the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

Martock Farms Ltd originally secured outline planning permission to develop the site in January 2017 following a successful appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, before subsequently selling the land to Stonewater.

Under the newly approved, detailed plans, the new homes will be accessed from a new junction on Foldhill Lane, to the east of the care home entrance.

Two public rights of way which currently encircle the site will remain, with the possibility of some limited enhancement work.

Despite Stonewater being a housing association, only nine of the planned properties will be affordable, with all properties being either two- or three-bedroom.

To reduce the risk of flooding, an attenuation pond will be created along the southern boundary of the site, with public open space at the northern extremity.

To prevent any increase in phosphates, a package treatment plant will be installed on site, allowing water to be treated before being discharged into existing sewers.

A spokesman for Boon Brown Architects, representing Stonewater, said: “The site is located in a highly sustainable location within the settlement of Martock.

“The site is an appropriate location to provide a variety of dwellings for a range of demographics.

“The scheme seeks to enhance Martock’s existing sustainable structure through well-designed and identity-driven new homes.

“The proposal thoroughly takes into account the surrounding context and aims to create a positive relationship with the public realm and local community by providing a high quality residential scheme within a vibrant village.”

The decision to approve the plans was taken by council planning officers under delegated powers.

Planning specialist Colin Begeman said: “The proposal demonstrates a well-balanced approach that respects the character of the site and its surroundings while addressing ecological, amenity, and safety considerations.”