WEST OF ENGLAND DEVELOPMENTS LTD.
What is the Park Lane Development Project?
West of England Developments were intially approached by local interest groups to find out what community benefit could be delivered in North Petherton through new housing. A lack of capacity at North Petherton Surgery was also raised as a key concern.
We are therefore looking at development potential within the land outlined red on the map shown opposite, and specifically, how new housing at this site could unlock delivery of the above local priorities.
Sport and Recreation Facilities
Local interest groups have highlighted that both the scouts and guides clubs in the town are popular and over-subscribed. There are currently no permanent facilities for these clubs. The scout club has been operating within the town for the last 70 years and from 5 different, rented buildings within the last 10 years. A new, purpose-built facility could benefit both of these clubs which include around 170 members, leaders and helpers in total.
Other discussions have also noted the following potential sports improvements for North Petherton:
Capacity at North Petherton Rugby Ground, which has a total membership of around 600 people, should be improved through enhancements to drainage, lighting and surfacing.
Quality improvements are required to meet future demand at Parker’s Field football pitch, home of North Petherton Football Club with around 100 local members.
Continual improvement of pitches and facilities at North Petherton Cricket Club (and North Newton Playing Field) should be considered to cater for increased use.
There is a focus in the wider catchment area to accommodate for existing overplay and projected growth at both North Petherton Rugby Ground and Football Ground by providing 1-2 new pitches.
The above local needs are supported within evidence published by Sedgemoor District Council (now Somerset Council) in its Playing Pitch Strategy 2018-2032. Since the Playing Pitch Strategy is district-wide and doesn't include for clubs such as scouts and guides, we are working to build upon this evidence to better understand the needs of North Petherton and its community.
If some of the above identified priorities were to be part of the Park Lane Development Project, it would be on the basis of new homes cross-subsidising this delivery, potentially by providing land, funding and/or direct construction of the facilities required. Any housing development would need to be carefully planned in terms of scale, character and design.
The Sedgemoor Local Plan supports the enhancement of community facilities. We believe that the Park Lane Development Project provides a unique opportunity to benefit hundreds of local club members, with membership numbers anticipated to grow year on year for all local clubs.
West of England Developments has been in discussion with Symphony Medical Services to understand the capacity issues raised in relation to local healthcare services provided at North Petherton Surgery. Specifically, the following capacity and future expansion considerations have been identified:
"Within Somerset, North Petherton Surgery is the most under-sized practice with the highest density of patients. The patient list has gradually risen over the last 2 years and with an ever-ageing population and long hospital waiting times, the demand for the very limited space has become greater.
Since integration into Symphony Healthcare Services in October 2021, we have been seeking solutions to this challenge. Extending the existing building out or up is only possible if more adjacent land is acquired – this has not been possible and even if it was, access to practice and parking is far from ideal.
Working with local partners other potential plots have been considered and subsequently discounted, largely due to the unaffordable cost of the land.
The potential opportunity at Park Lane provides the opportunity to build a modern, fit-for-purpose health care facility in a central location and with excellent pedestrian/vehicular access and sufficient parking. A new building would help the practice attract and retain clinical and non-clinical staff providing greater sustainability and consistency of care."
Symphony Healthcare Services
The opportunity to provide a new site for North Petherton Surgery would unlock potential for it's expansion and improved services, ensuring that these facilities remain in North Petherton in the long term for the benefit of all local residents.