MUCH publicity surrounded the Government housing and planning minister’s tour of a development in Taunton where homes are being “occupied as fast as they can be built”.

But Alok Sharma’s visit to another development site on the Vivary Green Wedge was kept far more quiet.

Mr Sharma looked around around Northwalls Grange site at Nerrols Farm, where around 20 of the planned 125 David Wilson Homes properties are already occupied.

Mr Sharma said: “Sites like this are playing a vital role in delivering the new homes this country needs and deserves.

“Since 2010, over 427,000 households have been helped into home ownership by Government-backed schemes. That’s why we are investing a further £10 billion in Help to Buy to help a further 135,000 households by 2021.”

David Thomas, chief executive of Barratt Developments, which includes David Wilson Homes, said: “It’s been a pleasure to show Mr Sharma around Northwalls Grange and demonstrate how we’re building much more than just houses.

"Our developments bring investment into local areas, adding to existing infrastructure, supporting jobs and creating new communities.

“Northwalls Grange has proven an extremely sought-after development and it’s testament to the popularity of the area, as well as the quality of our homes.”

Taunton Deane Borough Council leader Cllr John Williams said it was good to hear that houses are being occupied as fast as they can be built, fulfilling a need for high quality homes with 25 per cent of them affordable.

He said: “The site also complements Taunton’s garden town status with wonderful green spaces around the perimeter which can only enhance our own plans for a large ‘country park’ adjacent the site.

“It was appreciated that our MP, Rebecca Pow, arranged this visit so we had the opportunity to show the minister first hand the dire need for improved roads, cycleways and transport to support the major development planned.”

But there was no official statement on Mr Sharma’s low-key visit across town to Killams Park, which he visited with Ms Pow, Mr Williams, county council leader David Fothergill and Chris Winter, from Summerfield Developments.

Resident Dave Orr said: “More than 400 people protested at the Blackbrook Sports Pavilion against this controversial development in the Vivary Green Wedge.

"Bringing a housing minister to such a controversial site that was supposed to be protected is, in my view, open to accusations of hypocrisy.”