Mayday Saxonvale Plan to Boost Frome's Economy by £10million and Support Over 500 Local Jobs Report Finds

By Susie Watkins

29th Jan 2022 | Local News

A report finds Mayday Saxonvale's alternative plan for Saxonvale in Frome, which will provide 11,000sqm of new employment space, will support 570 additional jobs, generating a £10million boost to Frome's economy.

The report, an Economic Manifesto, was produced for Saxonvale, by PRD, a regeneration development consultancy, to support Mayday Saxonvale's outline planning application, which is due for determination in March 2022. Beyond the direct economic impact, the Economic Manifesto sets out a vision for the type of economy Saxonvale could foster, one "which builds on Frome's strengths and aligns with the town's spirit and ethos".

Mendip District Council's local plan states that "the biggest challenge the town faces in the next 20 years is to reduce the outflow of workers from the town by providing jobs locally." and that "More effort is needed to ensure that jobs are provided as part of redevelopment sites to limit growth in new travel demands to employment sites." However, Mendip District Council's partnership with Acorn Property Group, which has yet to start works, fails to meet the council's own employment space objectives. These objectives were designed to deliver jobs needed for Frome.

Paul Oster, Mayday Saxonvale Director said: "Frome needs to provide space for local businesses to grow. We need to generate jobs. Frome has a fundamental imbalance between commercial and residential space, between jobs and residents. With many of Frome's employment sites being lost to housing over the last 20 years and ever increasing residential schemes, this situation is only set to get worse as our population increases.

"There is only one town centre site left that can deliver Mendip District Council's own local plan for employment in Frome and that is Saxonvale. Our plan will deliver the commercial space which meets the council's own well considered policy, and help new and growing businesses generate the jobs that Frome needs.'

"The results of our commercial space survey corroborated the views of the Frome Chamber of Commerce, Civic Society, Frome Town Council, and indeed Mendip District Council's own plan, that the lack of available premises is holding back growth - almost half of the businesses said the lack of commercial space in Frome has stopped them expanding. Surely as our District council, they should be using the last town centre site that they own, to meet this demand? Indeed, the boost to the local economy will likely be worth more than the expected profit from the scheme in the medium to long term."

Simon Keyte, owner of local Frome business, Mount Art Services, said: "We have outgrown our current premises and in order to survive we need more space. But there just aren't premises available in Frome that meet our needs. Units in Westway are too large and not designed for light industrial use. If we move to an out of town unit, we would lose our core market by not being central.

"We've been in Frome for seven years and employ two people. If we moved to new premises we would create at least six new jobs. However, we have had to make the really hard decision - move out of Frome. We will be moving in February to grow the business and will create these new jobs in Castle Cary.

"I know lots of local businesses are in this same situation. Frome is supportive of start-ups and entrepreneurs, but it can't support growing businesses. Our town will end up as an incubator for new business, but other towns will reap the employment benefits when they move and grow elsewhere.

"It's so short-sighted and frustrating. There's this industrial space in Saxonvale that could deliver what businesses in Frome need to grow. A space that would create so many jobs for our community. There are tons of areas in Frome where housing can be delivered, but only one town centre employment space."

The Mayday Saxonvale Scheme will deliver a mixed use site with at least 11,000 sqm of non-residential town centre space across three areas of the site: Commercial Zone, Central Mixed Use Quarter, and Historic Merchants Barton. The versatile commercial space will consist of areas for light industry, live work units, studio space, office space, pop-up space for small makers, and co-working space. The plan aims to establish Frome as a hub of local businesses and social enterprise for generations.

Paul Oster, continues: "The Economic Manifesto goes beyond a technical assessment of the economic impact, as positive as that is. It outlines a future vision for Frome's economy, showing how Saxonvale can contribute to an economy that harnesses Frome's strengths.

"Saxonvale is an opportunity to embed a new approach that includes strategies to retain wealth in the town, support a circular economy, support innovation, and deliver the services and facilities the community values.

"Our approach to development at Saxonvale is guided by economic, social, and environmental imperatives. Together, these demonstrate why an integrated approach is required to deliver maximum benefits to our town and address Frome's long-standing challenges.

"We'd encourage Frome residents and Mendip District Council to read the Economic Manifesto to learn more about the enormous opportunity Saxonvale represents for the economic future of our town."

To download Mayday Saxonvale's full Economic Manifesto visit: https://maydaysaxonvale.co.uk/economic-manifesto/. To add your comment in support of the Mayday Saxonvale plan email [email protected], quoting application number 2021/2373/OTA and state "I Support" with your comment.

     

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