Secret land bank exposed

Last week the leader of Taunton Deane council angrily denied that plans to build thousands of new houses on the south east side of the M5.  But Highways England consultants say, in this detailed Memorandum, that the development of a dual carriageway and junction could enable more than 3000 homes in a hitherto untouched green and pleasant corner of Somerset. Clearly someone is being extremely economical with the truth. Since the Leader issued his statement Taunton Deane council has – at last – told Highways England that it doesn’t like their “preferred route” for a widened A358. What the Leader wants instead is a highway that links into his cherished Nexus business park project as well as offering an extra motorway junction. It would follow much the same route but provide an additional roundabout to get traffic in and out of Nexus.  This option also makes the urbanisation of the area a dead cert.  Builders are already falling over themselves to get the bulldozers in. Take the Leader’s pals from Summerfields. Summerfields quietly bought the entire Nexus site some time ago. We now know they also acquired a substantial acreage of farmland which is not part of Nexus but happens to be very close indeed to the planned new A358 dual carriageway. The documentation for this land acquisition is reproduced here. 

There is reliable talk of builders offering farmers generous “option” agreements to secure more land. Such “speculation” might be regarded as canny business planning by those involved. But the timing and extent of some of these investments is, to put it mildly, uncanny. It stretches credibility to the limit.