Ex-Blue Peter star Valerie Singleton, 82, goes to war with developers over fears they will build 407 homes in her Somerset village and turn it into a ‘rat run’
- Valerie Singleton, 82, lives in Templecombe, between the A303 and Salisbury
- The A357 also runs through the centre of the village in South Somerset
- Council upgraded Templecombe’s status to ‘village’ to allow more homes
- Residents are concerned over car pollution and a ‘housing free-for-all’
Valerie Singleton (pictured at the Blue Peter Big Birthday in Manchester last year) fears hundreds of homes turning the village into a rat run
Former Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton is going to war with developers over fears they will build 407 homes in her Somerset village as she fears it becoming a ‘rat run’.
Valerie, 82, says proposals will cause an increasing number of cars and trucks to pass through Templecombe.
Singleton, Blue Peter host from 1962 and 1972, said hundreds more homes in the Somerset village by 2038 will turn it into a rat run. She was among a group of residents who attended a pre-planning meeting.
It comes after South Somerset District Council opted to change the area’s status to that of a village – meaning it could support more housing. But residents including Valerie are against the plans.
Templecombe sits between the A303 at Wincanton to the A30 leading to Yeovil and Salisbury, and the A357 runs through the heart of the village.
As such, many large vehicles use the village as a cut through and reports of damage to houses or cars are common.
The council decided that Templecombe could cope with more housing, but many local residents disagree – including Valerie.
She told the meeting: ‘The increase in car pollution, at a time when we are meant to be cutting back on this, and extra traffic is one of the things you hear most from people.
Slades Hill (pictured) in Templecombe is one patch of the village in which developers have already declared an interest
Pictured: The plans for Slades Hill in Templecombe, which Valerie Singleton fears will bring more traffic and pollution to the area
‘We are used as a cut-through from the A303 to the A30 – and the lorries coming through are terrible.
‘Of course new housing is important, and we all realise that – but it had to be done well and in a well thought-out way.’
Terina Worrall added: ‘I used to live at the narrowest point in the high street. Our cottage was always being scraped and had the gutter torn off.
‘I recall a lorry and a caravan passed, the caravan got squashed and popped its top. It’s very narrow but it’s now got a pinch point there, but can understand the concerns.’
Valerie Singleton (pictured with Blue Peter co-stars Peter Purves, left, and John Noakes, right) attended a pre-planning meeting to air her concerns about the plans
And Kelvin Sykes said: ‘End the housing free-for-all. It’s destroying our, countryside and villages.
‘Cheap, shoddy and ugly with no purpose other than to satisfy corrupt and inept council quotas. End this madness.’
Two property developers, Thales Group and Origin3, have plans for the area which would see new homes built – but nothing has been approved yet.
Robin Cave, who chairs the parish council, said: ‘We have no objection to the village expanding per se, but it is just too much.
‘With all the applications put in, we could see over 50 per cent growth, and we do not have the infrastructure to cope with that. The school is full and the doctors’ surgery is over-subscribed.’
Angry resident David Seares said: ‘There is immense concern amongst residents about the impact all the proposed housing developments will have.
‘Thales’ website states they employ 750 in Templecombe – but only a small percentage of these live here.
‘Their car park is daily at capacity and sometimes overflows. Some commute by train.’