NEW council houses being built in Minehead will be protected from stray cricket balls following a decision by councillors.

Somerset Council is currently overseeing the construction of the Rainbow Way development on Seaward Way, providing 54 new low-carbon council properties with a direct pedestrian link to the town centre and seafront.

As part of the planning permission, the council and its contractor Classic Builders planned to install “rebound mesh fencing” along the south-western boundary, preventing windows being broken by six hits from the neighbouring cricket club.

Due to an “oversight” on the original plans, the fencing was expected to be built on the club’s land rather than the development site.

The council said it had “not been possible to agree a position” with the club regarding the delivery of the fence, putting the homes at risk from big hitting batters.

To solve the problem, Somerset Council’s planning committee west has voted to allow the fence to be built within the development site, allowing the final homes to be completed.

The Rainbow Way site is divided into nine blocks, with 21 homes across blocks one to six and a mixture of 33 one- and two-bedroom flats in blocks seven to nine.

The new homes are being fitted with solar panels and air source heat pumps and are being constructed from porotherm blocks to aid with heat retention and electric vehicle charging points.

Once the properties are completed, they will be advertised on the council’s Homefinder services, with priority being given to those with a local connection to Minehead or the surrounding parishes.

The fence will be 4.8 metres high along six of the properties nearest the cricket club, dropping to 3.6 metres for four houses further away from the field.

Cllr Andy Hadley said: "The report we’ve had read almost as though the cricket club has refused permission to have the fence put up in their land.

“I can understand the reasons – they obviously don’t want the maintenance issues and to be lumbered with a liability.

“But it is a shame, considering we actually give them specific access to their cricket club – which they didn’t have before – across our land as part of this application in the first place.

“With a little bit of give and take, this could have been worked out and made it a little easier for the home-owners, who would not have had the fence so close to their properties.”