New homes on the Jurston Farm development at Wellington (Tindle )

Builder considers legal challenge to planning decision which could put jobs at risk and pause new homes

The company building 650 homes in Wellington is warning jobs are at risk due to a planning decision which could pause work on the development.

CG Fry and Son Ltd, which is building homes at Jurston Farm, between Wellington Relief Road and Beech Hill, said the jobs of staff, sub-contractors, and others in the supply chain were threatened by the ruling.

High Court action is now being considered by the builder after Somerset West and Taunton Council won a planning argument to have EU law imposed nearly two years after Brexit.

It also meant the building of hundreds more new homes would have to be paused while the issue was resolved.

The company has already completed the first two phases of the Jurston housing estate, after Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) gave planning permission in 2015.

A third phase for 190 properties was then approved in June 2020, a few months before Natural England alerted councils to the damage being suffered by wildlife and habitats on the Somerset Levels due to phosphates reaching the area via watercourses.

Natural England decreed that no new development could be given planning permission unless it was shown that it would not produce further phosphate emissions affecting the internationally-protected Levels.

When CG Fry subsequently asked SWT to approve drainage plans for Jurston phase three, the council retrospectively applied EU environmental regulations aimed at protecting wildlife habitats, not just for the latest stage of construction but for all of the houses already built.

It meant CG Fry needed to come up with a new drainage scheme for the whole estate, potentially adding millions of pounds to its overheads and making the development unviable.

Now, a government-appointed planning inspector has dismissed an appeal by the company and ruled that SWT was entitled to act in the way it did.

Source: Wellington Weekly News

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