Posted: 29.07.20 at 14:38 by The Editor
When Mendip District Council acquired the Saxonvale site, they declared that they ‘were determined to invest in Frome’s future’.
But, say Frome Civic Society, the Council is now on course to grant itself planning permission, not for Frome’s long awaited town centre regeneration, but for a high-density housing estate, dominated by five-storey blocks of flats.
Frome and District Civic Society is calling on Mendip to refuse what is, in effect, its own application, on the grounds that it:
- does not comply with the core policy for Frome or the vision for Saxonvale set out in its own Local Plan;
- fails to provide the town centre facilities and employment opportunities set out in the Local Plan;
- proposes unacceptable building heights, mass and density that will harm Frome’s character and heritage;
- has not convincingly resolved the projected traffic and congestion problems of the present scheme.
If, as is expected, council officers recommend approval, then district councillors on the Mendip Planning Board will be responsible for granting or refusing consent.
“They need to think very, very carefully about the impact of this application on the town and community of Frome”, says Richard Swann, Chair of the Civic Society. “I suggest that all Members take the time to read the huge number of articulate, well-informed and passionate public objections to this application on the planning website. Frome is overwhelmingly rejecting this scheme.”
The Civic Society urges Mendip District Council and its developers Acorn to restore the intended balance of the site by reducing the residential element and increasing the town centre commercial and community uses. This would result in more jobs, fewer cars and less parking, reduced building heights and a more pleasant place to live and work.
“We absolutely believe in the Saxonvale project in principle”, says Richard Swann. “But 300 dwellings is too many, and too greedy. Mendip and their developers are determined to maximise profit on an unsustainable scheme that doesn’t meet Frome’s economic or social needs. It will squander this once-and-only opportunity to create a vibrant town centre extension and cause irreversible damage to the town’s unique character.”