The developer behind controversial plans to build 35 flats at the former Tucker’s Garage site in the centre of Burnham-On-Sea has this week won his appeal against the district council’s decision to reject the scheme.

Property developer Abracore has been given the go-ahead to build 35 ‘retirement apartments’ in two blocks of three-storey buildings at the prominent site of the former garage in Burnham’s Victoria Street, subject to various conditions.

Sedgemoor’s Development Control Committee had rejected the plans last year, as we reported here, but Abracore was unhappy with that decision and lodged a formal appeal with the Planning Inspectorate to try and overturn it.

Planning Inspector Gareth Symons ruled this week that the appeal had been succesful, despite a campaign by residents and local businesses, pictured right, to stop it.

The judgement means the developer has been granted outline planning permisison for the site.

However, a number of conditions have been placed on the developer, including carrying out a full investigation into contamination of the site, which is significant given its former use as a petrol station.

Other conditions include restricting the age of occupants of the flats to 55 or over in line with the proposed plans for them to be used as retirement apartments.

The main concerns of local residents have been parking problems in the area, and the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area, bearing in mind that the front part of the site falls within Burnham’s Conservation Area.

How the old Tucker's Garage site looked (photo Nuuk)Planning Inspector Gareth Symons says he believes the developer has in fact over-provided parking for a site of this type as many of the elderly occupants will not have vehicles.

Sedgemoor District Council previously rejected proposals for the site last July, but the developer came back with an updated scheme which it claimed addressed the comments – however the plans were rejected again last September.

Cllr Bob Filmer, Chairman of Sedgemoor’s Development Control Committee, told earlier this year: “There was an overwhelming feeling that this was an unsuitable proposal with inadequate parking facilities. A normal development of this size would require 58 parking spaces, which is far more than the 19 proposed. Councillors were also unhappy with the character and design of the proposed development, and the size in relationship to next door properties.”

The site was previously occupied by the former Tucker’s Garage, pictured above, which was demolished seven years ago, as we featured here.