THE NUMBER of 'affordable homes' at a major development planned for Taunton is set to increase. 

It was announced yesterday that government would pledge £7.2million for a new spine road at the location where 1,600 new homes will be built. 

Ptarmigan Staplegrove Ltd applied for 713 homes between Whitmore Lane and Silk Mills, while PM Asset Management Ltd applied for 915 homes north of Corkscrew Lane in applications that were approved in October. 

Controversy was sparked as it was agreed by members in a seven-to-six decision that the homes would not be "viable" if developers had to pay for the spine road as well as provided the expected 25 per cent of affordable housing. 

But the Government money allows the allocation to be increased back in-line with TDBC's requirements. 

Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, John Williams, said: “The money will help towards the early delivery of the £8m “spine road” to connect the A358 Staplegrove Road and Kingston Road, more affordable housing and enable the delivery of a much needed new primary school.

“The funding is particularly important in terms of affordable housing, raising numbers from 15% of the total to approximately 25 per cent.”

RELATED: Funding for £7.2million Staplegrove spine road pledged by government

The chairman of Staplegrove Parish Council said he was happy to hear the road will be built before the houses, causing less traffic through the village. 

He said: "The 25 per cent is what Taunton needs. It's the essential requirement. It's very good news. 

"Approving the money for the road is a major step forward. 

"More than 800 vehicles use Cork Screw Lane at peek times. Having the drop down road for five years would have been quite unacceptable. 

"Having the road built before the houses is excellent as there will be no disruptions to the construction of the road because of the houses and vice versa.

"It's about having the right infrastruture at the right time. 

"What we need now is for the Taunton Transport Strategy to link up the road with the road between Nerrols and Cheddon Road. 

"There's thousands of people in these new houses and they will need somewhere to work, maybe at Nexus 25, so it would make sense to have the six miles of ring road to get them around the town. It would be a great benefit."