SERVICES in Watchet will be “hopelessly overwhelmed” if plans for nearly 400 new homes are approved, MP Ian Liddell-Grainger claims.

He believes two proposed developments for the town would cause problems for families already living there.

Mr Liddell-Grainger claims planners must give serious consideration to the potential impact on services, facilities and infrastructure when debating the schemes.

Both developments – one for 250 homes and the other for 139 – are proposed for greenfield sites on the eastern edge of the town. They will include a mix of flats, houses and bungalows and include some social housing.

But Mr Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said the consequences of both being approved would be ‘appalling’.

“Housing schemes are touted around as though they represent some wonderful community benefit,” he said.

“But in this case they will be quite the opposite. What are all these people going to do? Where are they going to work? There are no jobs in Watchet so the obvious alternative is that they are going to have to commute – and that is going to put an intolerable strain on roads which are already inadequate for existing traffic levels.

“You cannot simply plonk down a development like this without making any provision for the people who are going to live there. They are going to need school places and access to health services as well as jobs.

“Giving both these schemes approval would amount to increasing Watchet’s population by 1,000 – more than 25 per cent. Nobody in their right mind would consider that a sensible strategy unless there were parallel provisions for enlarging schools, extending health services and, fundamentally, making major improvements in the local road network.

“Unless all these issues are taken into account Watchet won’t be benefitting at all from these houses, it will be blighted: strangled by traffic and its facilities and services hopelessly overwhelmed.”