A New Not-For-Profit Social Enterprise in Frome

STATEMENT FOLLOWING APPROVAL GRANTED FOR 'FAR FROM PERFECT' ACORN'S SCHEME

We don’t write a Mayday blog. If we did then 28th January’s Mendip Planning Board Meeting – voting 11 to 3 to consent Acorn’s imposed application – would have been a classic. Save these three lone and brave voices, Mendip’s Planning Board have crossed a line with this seizure of Frome’s local democratic procedures. A minimal response was given to those 240+, highly eloquent and well-reasoned letters of objection from residents of the town and it was tragic – as Cllr Francis Hayden highlighted – to see Councillors voting against and over-writing their own policies upon land assets owned by the District Council. With the phrase ‘far from perfect’ appearing 10 times during the course of the discussion, if ‘Far From Perfect’ Acorn Properties have failed to do their job, they should be asked to submit their proposal again or else withdraw as primary candidate partners. The development of Saxonvale should not be politically imposed like HS2, but done with the consent and approval of Frome’s legitimate representatives.

Public trust is not a luxury – it is vital for the delivery of public policy. Local planning policy has been consulted on and voted on – it deserves to be defended and should be.

As a spectator of all things Saxonvale, one thing we have witnessed again and again is that opportunistic development of this site never prospers and Acorn’s scheme will be no different. As Cllr Lindsay MacDougall from Glastonbury passionately told the meeting, development in Saxonvale must be led and governed only by the community of Frome. So now we go on, and the Mayday Campaign moves into its next phase

Mayday Saxonvale’s alternative not-for-profit plan will soon begin its journey to live application status, (we are aiming to register for Pre-Application Approval by 18th February).

Our plan will provide twice the amount of affordable housing than Acorn, a substantial amount of live-work accommodation supporting people to set up their own businesses and a greatly expanded, mixed commercial zone. Mayday – unlike Far Frome Perfect Acorn – will meet and exceed local housing and employment policy targets for Saxonvale in full. The plan features sensitive and imaginative design throughout, delivers new, centrally-located homes and demonstrates a proper duty of care for the environment highlighting green infrastructure solutions. An essential new site for St John’s School will be added alongside greatly increased community space.

Despite all of the political arm-twisting, Frome CAN have the Saxonvale development our town has asked for, waited so long for and worked so hard to achieve. Frome doesn’t need Acorn – we can do this ourselves and we are not going to be held back.

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