Community feedback and brief

Help shape the future of Frome

We are a not-for-profit social enterprise, with the sole objective of delivering a sustainable plan for Saxonvale, governed by the needs, priorities, and aspirations of our town.

Your feedback and comments is essential for us to deliver the right plan for Frome.

Please leave a comment below on our Master Plan for Saxonvale.

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Having visited the exhibition last weekend I would like to offer my support to the revised plans drawn up by Mayday.
The Acorn development is an example of yet more ill considered housing crammed into an important town centre site. So many small towns have gone along these lines and as a result are characterless and unattractive.
The alternative plans take into consideration planting, large community spaces and venues, better parking and importantly a higher percentage of affordable housing.

Mayday plan is just inspirational…far and away visionary and deserves all our support.
Can’t bear the thought of yet another high density box housing scheme trashing such a valuable space that could offer so much more to the town.
Are we really in the 21st century? Or back in a ghastly 70’s municipal vandalism of brown envelopes and profiteering developers with planners in their pockets ?
Please god if there is one, don’t let Mendip take the dirty money.

I have lived and worked around Frome since the 1980’s. Seen the development of major residential sites of Stonebridge and beyond. Now with the site located by ASDA. The town still exists with is original shopping and enterprise facilities despite the massive increase in residents.
Frome is “on the up” as a choice location to live. Those moving into the town with assets to purchase are driving up prices and locals out. We NEED affordable housing to avoid dormitory status.

The Mayday Saxonvale plans clearly benefit the communities of Frome in every possible way – housing, jobs, a new school – and it’s a non-profit organisation. If Mendip have their way and go with Acorn, then Frome residents will seriously lose out – but Mendip are thinking in terms of profit, so they will choose Acorn. This will be to the detriment of every community in Frome. Keep up the fight!

The Mayday development plan in the centre of town looks at infrastructure as well as building, keeping and modernising the quirks that make Frome the place it is

I love and fully support the plans put forward by Mayday Saxonvale. Every part of it is interesting, practical and helps towards the needs of the community. A lot of town centers have become soulless and uninteresting and I believe that this would be a great model that other towns would want to follow.

Hello
I find these latest ideas and plans for saxonvale incredibly more pleasing than all previous.
I live on Christchurch st east, which is already become a very busy road. The small roundabout at the top of Vicarage st is already a difficult one, also impossible to enlarge. Vicarage st already has difficulties when a delivery lorry need
Traffic lights would make a complete nightmare there. Solid traffic all day.

In my view, much more should be made of the river in Frome and the Saxonvale development is an opportunity to open up the riverside to Frome residents and visitors alike. This really could be one of Frome’s USPs. The riverside should incorporate green space, trees, cafes and restaurants. A pleasant place to sit and enjoy the river surrounded by nature.

Love the May Day plan it is good and for the people of Frome, Acorn are not customer focused and although they believe that they are acting in Frome’s best interest they are not, 17.5% affordable housing is not good enough for the needs of From neither should Mendip accept this as it falls below their threshold of 30%. We need something that suits us as an overall package

This excellent plan will provide the people of Frome with all it needs in a sensitive, well planned and superb extension to the town centre. Climate change has been taken into consideration, essential for our future. Moving St Johns school onto the site into a better environment will benefit the children. The Acorn/Mendip plan would use another route onto the site adjacent to St Johns school, increasing the traffic pollution. It is a well known fact that this is dangerous for children’s health.

Hello. I think most of your ideas and plans are amazing. My kids, for instant are very excited about the Lido option. As we only live on Rivers Reach, this would be amazing for us to have on our doorstep. My only concern is how much of the housing element would be Social housing? We brought our house in 2006 and the estate has already been extended with the newer development. What is the difference between affordable housing and social housing? Many thanks.

I really like that there is a new school in these plans. The current St John’s school is not fit for purpose and how we manage to teach in it is remarkable. Having a new school also takes into account the new people who will be moving to the area. Currently there are no plans for a school in the other development so where are the children going to go?? There isn’t any more capacity at St. John’s. I like the idea of a community recreation place such as the lido.

What a well thought out plan offering great community amenities. We live a few minutes walk from the site and would love to see accessible green space and amenities on our doorstep.

Wonderful to see the alternative plans from Andrew Kirby Architects. A sustainable and thoughtful approach with a real investment in the future for Frome, unlike the unimaginative build them and forget about them scheme from Acorn.

I originally objected to the Acorn consultation proposal in 2019 and was dismayed at the apparent failure for public opinion to be properly taken into account. Ultimately, Saxonvale funding is public money and public accountability must be the absolute priority. We have a collective duty of care to lay aside our short-term, potentially personal interests and view and assess this opportunity for the generations to come. We will not get a second chance.

Much of my objection to the Acorn proposal was due to the inappropriate development mix. Inadequate retail / employment space, inadequate social and affordable housing were blatant failings, which appeared to be driven by the short-term financial benefit of saleable housing (probably as second homes / rental income opportunities) and rates income, let alone the abysmal aesthetic and abject failure to consider the development as part of the whole central space within the town.

The Mayday proposal has at its core a “not-for-profit” ethos, which simply means less developer profit and therefore potentially more value for money in the development, provided full due diligence is exercised. Where traditional JV arrangements with traditional developers may appear to offer experience and therefore reduced risk, I am fully confident in the skill set of the Mayday proposers and their ability to work with MDC and deliver this proposal to the highest standard. I’ll take their personal, long-term investment and commitment to Frome over a corporations self interests every time.

It is clear to see that the Mayday proposition has been developed with a true understanding of the essence and culture of Frome. Ultimately, capital investment providing amenity is about developing assets that PEOPLE will utilise, foster and grow. The proposals are in keeping with Frome’s historical base. The proposals presented reflect the societal value of residents, and it is these values and this history that brought me to Frome, empowered me to create a business which employs 8 people with aspirations to grow further. Business, and in particular the retail sector is vital to the future success of Frome as a Market Town. My current and future staff need affordable housing and amenity. Frome needs to continue to attract visitor income, which if achieved and properly assessed will outstrip traditional short-sighted, short-term financial assessments.

You do not have to travel far to visit traditional towns that are in decline due to the changing needs of society. Many of these towns evidence ineffective capital investment in recent decades reflecting a failure to understand the customer and their changing needs. The Acorn proposal does nothing to ensure our medium and long term prosperity, whereas this outline proposal is stimulating, both to me as a resident of the town, and equally to me as a successful business man looking at the long-term prosperity of Frome.

I commend this proposal, and I reiterate my objection to the Acorn proposal.

So good to see an alternative to the supposed ‘done deal’ with no consultation that acorn properties and mendip put forward. This is something much better for the town with a lot more affordable housing and better use of space for local business and green credentials.

I am in favour of the Mayday Saxonvale proposal as oppose to the Acorn plans but with all such developments I am concerned about elements I consider essential that seem never to be discussed.
The provision of sufficient additional school places for new inhabitants of Frome.
Similarly the provision of more medical facilities.
The provision of additional public transport.
The impact of more traffic on our town.
The additional pressure on the water treatment plant, that is already overstretched and far too frequently voids untreated material into the environment.
Lastly I consider that ALL new buildings (housing, office, industrial and community) should be fitted with a Photovoltaic system, the additional cost is minimal but the benefit to our carbon zero aims valuable.

What a well thought out plan offering great community amenities. We live a few minutes walk from the site and would love to see accessible green space and amenities on our doorstep.

Well done Mayday! Really like these elements: Tiny houses, covered market, keeping the trees, enhancing the water features in the site. Overall, a much better plan than the current Saxonvale plan – But what are the chances of it being accepted, when the return on the site will be much less than official plan?

Hi there, I am a food business owner currently based in Bristol, but am looking to move myself and the business to Frome in the next year. I absolutely love the Mayday Saxonvale vision. It is precisely the kind of vibrant creative community I want to see and contribute to. My question is about the commercial spaces, will be available will be to let or to buy? Keep up the great work! All the best

Hi there, we are battling with Mendip at the moment and trying to get them not to build on Esthill Field. We have put in a complaint to the Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat within Defra asserting that MDC have broken environmental laws. Might be worth doing the same thing for you?

Acorn’s planning application is due to be decided this week – so I’ve written the following letter to my local councillors Damon Hooton, Helen Kay, Shane Collins and Helen Sprawson-White

Dear Damon, Helen, Shane and Helen,
I m writing to you as my past and current representatives on the district council and as friends and people whose judgement I have learned to trust.
I understand that the MDC planning board will be considering the Acorn application for the development of Saxonvale in the near future. This will be the most important decision that the District Council has made for decades and will determine the future of the town centre of Frome for ever.
It is absolutely crucial that the right decision is made, but the question that needs to be answered by the Frome community, Mendip DC councillors and especially those on the planning board, is for whose benefit should the decision be made?
Seven years ago the Carley Trust was set up, with the support of Frome Town Council, to apply for a Right To Build Order for the site. I was a director of this Trust and although the application fell at the final hurdle, it brought forth helpful collaborations as well as the excellent Frome Prospectus. It gave me considerable insight into the problems and the potential of the site.
I was therefore delighted when Mendip DC overcame one of the largest of the problems when they bought the parts of the site that were owned by Notts Industries and Terramond. This acquisition opened the way to a unified plan for the whole site, which was the objective of the Right To Build application. Surely this would enable the site owners to create a plan for the site to be developed for the benefit of the community, instead of the benefit of the shareholders of the companies that had owned the site.
But the application from Acorn that the planning board will consider has met with universal rejection from the whole of the Frome community. On just about every aspect of the application from aesthetic issues to affordable housing provision, from environmental impact to layout and traffic issues, from building heights to proportions of usage mix, the comments from community organisations and individuals find faults and shortcomings to local needs, and are objections without one single supporting comment out of more than 240 contributions.
How has this come about? The answer seems to be that MDC councillors have put the profitable return to the land owners and the development company above community benefit. And this, then, answers my first question. Mendip District Councillors will have placed the interest of the council above that of the community they were elected to serve.
This will be a massive problem for councillors and community.
If councillors find that they are forced to make a decision of approval when there is universal opposition from their electing community, they must provide us with evidence as to why they have made that decision. They must be transparent in their workings.
Not so long ago Mendip declared a Climate Emergency, and this obliges the Council to take action to ensure that they and our community does everything possible to reduce our carbon emissions. A huge infrastructure project like Saxonvale, could and must be undertaken with this emergency as a main consideration, ensuring nothing be built there that is under the highest possible energy performance standards. The aspirational approach of the Acorn Resource Efficiency Statement must be upgraded to a cast-iron undertaking to comply with all aspects of the Frome Neighbourhood Plan’s OnePlanet Living framework as well as Mendip’s Local Plan to reduce carbon emissions.
So not only must the board ask Acorn to radically change their application, but Mendip DC must change their own requirements for the revenue that they targeted for their investment in the site, making the benefit to our community the primary objective and outweighing any need for profit to the council. If it becomes clear that in order to achieve this community oriented scheme, the council has to suffer a shortfall to the purchase and ongoing development costs, then they should find ways to raise capital from other sources. Would the Frome community be able to make a substantial contribution? The purchase of Whatcombe Fields and the funds raised for Community Energy schemes by FRECO set encouraging precedents.
I urge you to reject this application and to give all your energies to finding a way through the difficulties of very challenging circumstances to a far better solution than that the Acorn plans offer us.

Very best wishes

Tim Cutting

The acorn plan is primarily a business project. At the heart of it is not the towns well being but the need to make a profitable business. This benefits the shareholders of the business not necessarily the town as a whole. A social enterprise has only the aim of finding out what locals need and that profits the people who inhabit the space. There is no other ethical choice now we are in a pandemic but to chose to let the people of frome make this space amazing and to make us happy and give us hope by stopping all the quarrels. Councils need to start putting the well being of the towns inhabitants first. Building lots of houses serves one problem but we all know well being is not just about having a roof over your head, it’s about community feeling, a feeling that little was harmed by making this space and that the environment benefitted alongside local business and the community. This need no longer be a dispute – it’s obvious a social enterprise benefits far more people at a time when we need this feel good information that our town is safe from the terrible mistakes in other towns. And it’s completely obvious a development based on a social enterprise will grow and thrive and contribute to the well being and balance of the town and will therefore be sustainable where as signing to just do the same thing again and again when it’s not working to solve social problems makes no real sense. If you just build housing like acorns plan then the cost of policing and supporting the social problems that arise from putting people to live in meaningless environments will almost certainly exceed the cost of a good social enterprise not just financially but in every possible way. The people with the decision making power need now to ask themselves why we are still fighting for this? What harm are they doing acting like these colonial powers throughout the world who disempower local people by taking away control of their own environment. If it has caused so much harm globally why would we continue to do this locally. This is a very straight forward ethical decision- chose capitalism and a big business or the citizens of frome. We are definitely capable of making this a great model for new developments. I work in mental health something that is extremely important right now. Frome needs to know this is ok and safe right now, not feel threatened by big developers who will make us feel the town is being taken over and not cared for. Thank you for reading my comment.

Frome needs more affordable housing. I for one strongly support the Mayday proposal. I thought we did things a little differently and were more open minded in Frome? If you look at the housing development by Asda it’s indistinguishable from the bland sprawling developments around Trowbridge, Melksham and Hilperton. More profit for the developers though as presumably they will command a higher price in Frome, particularly as such a low percentage will be “affordable.”
Very short sighted and not what I expected in Frome.

The proposed development by Acorn does not seem to sit well with Frome , there seems to be strange factors in play. The scheme seems designed to maximise profit and focussed on houses of an unattractive design. Certainly agree with others that Frome needs more social housing and amenities. The Mayday Saxonvale proposals seem to be a far more attractive and given how many years the redevelopment of this site has been delayed think it is worthwhile taking a bit more time to achieve a good long term result.

This plan uses the land is a much better way for the community … and considers all the elements in detail

We have received a copy of one of the letters sent to a District Councillor. They gave us permission to publish it here anonymously.

Dear Cllr Carswell

I am writing to you as Portfolio Holder for Economic Development regarding the importance of the Mayday Saxonvale campaign for the future prosperity of Frome. I support the
new alternative masterplan designed by Andrew Kirby architects for the landowner and wish for your support in conscientiously considering this opportunity to make a significant
improvement to the scheme by the developers, Acorn, currently before the Council.
I understand you are not our District Councillor, however in recognition of the the significance of your portfolio position we want you to ensure that if or when Acorn’s proposals for Saxonvale come to Planning Board they do NOT get your support and that you will make a stand against the proposals on behalf of the residents of Frome and all this development can signify to the prosperity of the wider District.

Local authorities across the country are facing stringent planning issues regarding the regeneration of our towns to accommodate rising population by increasing land allocation for housing. You will be aware of some of the issues arounds the proposed Selwood Garden Community and the pressures that this will place on existing local infrastructure provision. Experience shows us that development led by national house builders regularly fails to deliver a fully integrated development that enriches the quality of life for existing and future residents through Planning obligations such as S106 & community infrastructure levy. Frome has shown a different approach through the vibrancy of Community-led initiatives. An initiatives such as that posed by the Mayday Saxonvale scheme, were to be applied to this important town centre development, either in partnership with appropriately selected housing companies or by forming a not-for-profit development company could deliver a multi functional development to benefit the town, its residents and the wider population of the District. It would also signify the forward thinking of the District Council in promoting a sustainable future as part of the route map to Green Recovery.

I call on you to support of the Mayday vision for Saxonvale by calling a halt to the inappropriate and undemocratic scheme currently before you and fellow members. Members a golden opportunity to support and participate in a ground. breaking community initiative that, if seized, would provide inspiration for many market towns all across the country facing similar challenging issues. By supporting the Vision for Saxonvale Mendip District Councillors could be a champion for sustainable development and setting a bright example, through true community engagement to show leadership in how the Green Recovery could be enabled through our market towns to not just survive but to thrive and help drive the economy.

I trust, in your leadership role, you will understand the wide ranging importance of the Saxonvale site on a sustainable economic future for our town and its citizens and that you will be able to speak up against Acorn Development’s flawed and ill thought through development proposals and call for their scheme to be rejected when it is placed before members for the benefit of the District. Furthermore, I trust you will be able to support the principle of truly sustainable development on the Saxonvale site and how the District and Community can work together for the good of all.

I look forward to hearing from you once you have considered this opportunity with your members.

Your sincerely

The new plans look so much better than the old, however they are very ambitious and possibly expensive so I am not sure how achievable they are, basically where is the money to come from. Its hard to envisage the whole thing as a finished piece and I imagine it would take some years to bring it to its final conclusion. The idea of a Lido is lovely but at the end of the day this in England, it gets cold a lot, I still think a larger more ambitious leisure facility would be better, closer to the centre of the town it would get much more use as long as it isn’t filled up with swimming classes as the current leisure centre is making it impractical for other swimmers to get a look in. Apart from that this is a vast improvement thank goodness, let’s hope we can get it through.

I have joined this forum hoping to contribute as much as possible.
I have lived in Frome for twenty years and seen major changes in the town in its, structure and community life, of born and bred residents and all the newcomers with a considerable number from London!
My home overlooks the town and any development will be on my viewpoint, so I hope it is visually acceptable.
The area should become in my opinion, the central hub, for residential, internal markets,start up studios/workshops etc. and a community park.
The public consultation I hope ensures that it is not developed for the maximum profit of the owners which include Mendip District Council. but for the community of Frome.

I strongly support the proposal for relocating St John’s School. The Saxonvale site is still with close proximity of the church and is central within the town and catchment area. I believe the proposed new site would open up more park and (accessible) stride options for families and accordingly would have the potential effect of reducing school traffic along Christchurch Street East. The current school building and site cannot adequately meet the needs of the children and staff due to the age And style of the building and the limited outdoor space.

With regard to housing I agree that this should be multi-generational with some affordable housing and provision for people with additional needs. I believe there should be level walking routes into town, suitable for wheelchair use. Frome has several new sprawling housing estates – they have little character. When within them, you could be in any town. It would be nice if the housing and Saxonvale development generally could maintain some of Frome’s character and identity. The danger otherwise is that aspects of Frome’s character and identity would be lost and this would be a shame.

I believe that the aesthetic of the development should be broadly outwardly in keeping with the older stone and listed properties in the vicinity, insofar as possible but with a ‘modern edge’ when required, e.g. the school building.

Hello Penny,
Thank you for your comment and participation in this important process. The Hamam is just one of the areas of the design we have identified for active community uses. The listed building cluster to the east of the Merchants Barton, (including the Western Warehouse) and in the Pavilion Building overlooking the riverside park will have opportunities for fitness classes and lowering the car-park beside the Bennett Centre will be an important element in opening this building fully, helping to build capacity for the types of activities you describe.

Studying the natural resources of the site, a Hamam in this location caught our attention as accessing and utilising the undervalued natural spring water resource in the Barton. The facility is proposed to have treatment rooms for alternative therapies and massage rooms as well. Community provision in total, (including cultural) is calculated by our draft masterplan at approximately double the total amount than would be the case if only the Western Warehouse were to be made available.

Andrew Kirby

I would be extremely supportive of a new school being built on the site.

Love the idea of the different zones so you can eliminate those that are supported from those that may be contentious. Like the community feel of the area. Only thing that jarred with me was the Hamam. I think in its place should be a community fitness space with a stage so it could be used for classes in the day/evening and also small music/poetry/ drama performances or talks. There are not many performance places in Frome that are big enough to accommodate an audience of say 100/200.

At long last an achievable plan to make good use of this huge wasted space in Frome. How many years and how many plans forwarded? Time to act.
For me, a Frome resident for 40+ years, I would like to see greenery, affordable housing for young people. Possibly a self build opportunity? There has to be the much needed infrastructure – there’s been so much housing built on that side of Frome but nothing to support the increase in resident numbers.
This could be a real asset to Frome but if the dithering continues it will be a lost opportunity.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity to create a positive space in the HEART OF FROME.

The possibility of building a school on a pocket of this land is hugely exciting.

The building could be inspirational in itself by using sustainable technology and modern methods; the school could cater for the wider community not just the pupils it is educating, by housing evening classes and adult education groups; a forest school could be included in some of the outside space, which could be utilised by the Frome Learning Partnership and its schools.

This is a chance for us as a community to have something other than simply more housing or another supermarket. Let’s try to do something innovative, fresh and useful…not just for us, but our children and our future.

Well done Mayday Saxonvale……now let’s get this ball rolling, and build some momentum.

I was very keen to see the opinions of others on the school plans as I thought it was a brilliant proposition but not having kids of my own I wasn’t confident to comment or add my opinion until those with more knowledge of the needs and requirements of the schools ever evolving needs etc. ACORNS plan I believe is nothing short of reckless and negligent. Lovely to have a Co-Chair approve of the new design put forward here.

Mark, I must say you seem to have nailed the requirements and suggestions, I second all of these mentioned comments. I would love to see street lighting commissioned to match the old iconic Cockey lams that can be found all around Frome. I feel this would tie in the development with Frome’s industrial past. However this is a just a wish list addition.

FIVE EGGS AND A LOOP IN THE RIVER.
Being “Heavily” into preserving / recording the fantastic wildlife we have around this GREAT TOWN of ours and having had a quick look at the excellent revamp of the “God Awful” —-“Plans” put forward by MDC and Co, like to put forward a suggestion of making use of the flood area not to be ???? built on of excavating a loop in the river forming an island with a bridge over plus there,s talk of another bridge over into Willow Vale replacing the foot bridge that was there I remember as a kid. (thick –ear for “Accidentally” dropping my shoe in the river —last seen going over the weir at Welchmill)
Easy enough to excavating (being a retired build could probably scrounge a digger somewhere) down to the mean average river level so there is a constant movement of water —–small weir on the end of the loop to form a deeper area —-platform for river dipping catching minnows and the like.
As for the rest of the site I reckon you’re pretty well there.
Congratulations and THANK YOU from the people of Frome on all you’re hard work.
Tony H.

These new proposed plans over MDC and Acorn I feel are far more balanced and all in keeping with a variety of demands. I appreciate the level of thought and consideration that has gone into the new masterplan scheme offered here. I love the idea of a lido, spring and Hammam however if they had to be dropped to make it more likely to be picked I feel that would would be a price worth paying. If it made no difference however I’d love to retain them and also love to include new Cockey lamp street lighting to tie the existing iconic street lighting in with the new masterplan however this is far from essential and more of a wish list. I have noted that in some previous people show concern that this new masterplan doesn’t offer the needed affordable housing compared with MDC and Acorns plans however we need to be realistic. Frome house prices have been steadily increasing over the last several years as it a wonderful place to live. As a result I believe that nearly all the housing offered by MDC’s plans by definitional cannot be affordable as housing adjacent to the heart of a thriving desirable town will have a higher ceiling price than similar houses in other parts of the town. For this reason I support this new masterplan as it includes a reasonable number of new properties whilst trying to ensure they can be as affordable as possible in the location they are. The variety of uses in this new masterplan I negates the risk of failure. By throwing all your eggs into the housing and traffic and housing plan offered by MDC’s plan fail to work as desired the entire site will be a failure (which undoubtedly will be the case if they bulldoze their horrendous plan through). With the variety that this new masterplan offers I feel if one quarter was weaker than the others at least the entire plan will not be compromised however I don’t feel this will be the case with such care and thought that can be seen throughout.

I’d like to congratulate you in managing to bring together such an inclusive, coherent plan that is what our town deserves. I appreciate it is difficult to please everyone and no plan will ever be perfect and with that in mind I am so very impressed how brilliant this plan is.

What a huge relief that someone has come up with a well thought out, innovative plan.
I hope it gets the backing of the locals and that Mendip will approve it.

I am just reading the article in the Frome Times (3/9/20) the plans put forward for Saxonvale are very innovative, exciting and feel that they encourage a really vibrant community focused area for Frome. Love the idea of a Lido and Hamam, green spaces and a school, I think this would be a definite positive step for Frome.

Having seen these ideas from Andrew Kirby Architects & Jonny Buckland, I breathe a sigh of relief. This is more like it.

I still think a closure of Vicarage Street to through traffic should be included in the deal with the councils (Mendip & Somerset). A green bank at the roundabout would soften the views from each direction, while allowing pedestrians and cyclists a route through. The pavements could be widened, including shared space in the narrowest bits and it would reduce risk of accidents at the Gardsale Roundabout. Road access would be through the stub of the site leading into the north side Vicarage Street by No.11.

At the west end of Vicarage Street, it could be blocked at the Bennet Centre, either before their entrance or after it. This allows for the (lowered) car park to be accessed from Merchants Barton and also access for loading/unloading around the Auction House.

At the West end of the site, shared route for traffic and pedestrians could be along King Street, through Kingsway to the new development and then return for some (with suitable width/height warnings) down Church Street into Eagle Lane! The bit of King Street between the Kingsway and Eagle Lane would then become fully pedestrianised, with an unloading/loading bay at the Kingsway end.

As Co-Chair of the School Of Governors at St John’s we are delighted to be considered in these plans for Saxonvale.
We are concerned about the proposed rising level of transport (heading past the School) that Acorn’s plans have revealed and quite rightly have been criticised by various bodies.
The new school plan gives us a new greener School, better facilities and a greater space for the pupils to thrive in.
The subject of Saxonvale stirs many views and emotions and perhaps some might be against a school being included. However, considering the times we now see ourselves in, it is so important to be investing in our future and that is in the education of the younger generation.
I think these small voices should be heard, giving them a good start in life, a safer, greener environment to learn in is essential.

An addition to my earlier comment. I would like to see much more attention paid specifically to local artists. Lovely as it is to see the next new thing I think locals should be the priority we have so many really great artists here who struggle to get seen even in their own town, perhaps there should always be a percentage of local artists featured say 70/30.

I think Mendip are desparately trying to fulfill their housing quota and in many ways I’d prefer to see housing on already built upon sites rather than the proposed hideous green field plans to erect zillions of identical rabbit hutches to the South of Frome. However it needs to be sensitively done. Whilst it would be good to see some retail opportunities there I wouldn’t want that to detract from the existing retail space in the centre of town now, retail is struggling hard enough as it is without adding to the competition. Personally I think a new modern leisure centre would be a great thing to include, the current one is horribly outdated in my personal opinion and there is not enough space to cater for the variety of modern day sports requirements plus one thing the pandemic has taught us is that we need to encourage people to be more active. Perhaps space for the college to expand and have perhaps a business annex there as it would be close to local offices and make work experience easier to organise? As Frome is such an artistic town artists studios with retail attached, as an artist that’s a very personal want. I would like to see decent sized artists studio where artists can actually work with exhibition and SELLING space included all in one space, would be great for a large ground floor area. Black Swan is great don’t get me wrong but artists could do with more affordable practical places to create and show their work. Affordable exhibition space in Frome is almost non-existent, many of the spaces locally are just too expensive to hire for a lot of artists. And it needs to be green, tree planting, grass, flowers, benches, local artists commissioned to erect great sculpture and actually making the place a pleasant place to be and for Frome to be proud of. These are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. One or even two main stream shops would help encourage people into the space but I do feel for Frome it should be mainly artisan and independant shop based. A lot of housing can be mainly flats on upper floors leaving ground space for retail and leisure. Leave the houses for places where there is space to breath rather than cramming it all into tiny plots with not enough parking. AND finally, partly pedestrianised. This could be a great opportunity for something lovely. AND finally, finally please can I be one of the commissioned artists! A girl’s gotta try. Good luck.

Public buildings? I’d like a swimming pool. An advice centre, even a law centre. Adult education? Meeting spaces in public ownership. Shared workspaces (like Impacthub in Athens). Employment, including light industrial/crafts such as traditional building methods. Pedestrian walks, including riverside, although it would be good to take the opportunity to reconsider road configuration: could we take that sweep of traffic out of the town centre? Nothing without a plan for public transport to serve it. Local business/marketplaces. No chains. No more places to eat. Carbon neutral. Not sure low cost housing to buy works- just gets sold and becomes high cost. May be low cost rental housing, e.g. for key workers, is needed? Beautiful architecture, in local materials. Follow existing roads or build straight: no housing estate mazes.

As a local resident living very near to the development site, I’m very keen to see the land put to good use and enhance Frome in the longterm for all stakeholders. As a brownfield site its development is a must, given the current need for new housing. However, there is only one chance to get this right! A proposal such as ACORNS sets to maximise profit from the first sale of property with no regard to the future. We need a proposal that will prioritise long-term value to the town over a quick buck – in time, this will pay for itself many times over.

The new development should enhance Frome in the long-term for:

– The residents who move into the in new homes on Saxonvale (and those who move into these houses after the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc sale of the property)
– Existing residents of Frome
– Local commerce
– The environment

The ACORN proposals do not satisfy any of the above. The focus on high density housing and a quick profit totally ignores the needs of existing residents, local commerce and the environment. The sub-standard, cramped housing estate will not provide dwellings conducive to long-term wellbeing for those living in them, creating an ‘unloved’ area in such a prominent location.

The key points I would love to see addressed in the alternative proposals are:

– A focus on high quality housing, environmentally friendly housing in which people are happy and proud to live in. This should include ample garden space (the recent pandemic has shown us how important this is), privacy, desirable architecture and eco-friendly building materials

– A fair percentage of affordable housing. This MUST be build to the same standards as the other housing, rather than stuffed into high rise blocks of flats as per the ACORN proposal

– A density in-keeping with the surroundings. Maximum 2 storeys on the Eastern Edge as per Fishers Brook and Rivers Reach, with potential for 3 or 4 storeys as the site moves to the West and closer to the town centre

– Communal spaces for free of charge use by Frome’s residents, away from traffic but with low maintenance leisure facilities which can be easily looked after by the community projects and social enterprise (the set-up of which should be part of development process). These spaces should encourage community events and physical exercise

– Retail and food and beverage units are needed, but in proportion to the requirements within the town. The days of ‘build the shops and they will come’ are gone. Commerce provision must not compete with the vibrant town centre areas, but should complement it. GAP analysis should be conducted to identify the exact requirement,

– Office and workshop space is a must. This is severely lacking in Frome town centre.

– Public services (doctors, dentists, post office) should be explored. To keep the town centre vibrant we need more reasons to visit than commerce alone.

– Provision of areas for street food vendors to rotate, with ample communal seating and tables to help with this

– Retention of as many trees as is possible, particularly at the boundary of the development

– Schemes to assist wildlife with adapting to the new development (bird boxes, additional wildlife corridors etc)

– Use of the beautiful riverside location to enhance the look and feel of the entire development. The river should be embraced as a positive feature, rather than an inconvenience to be tolerated by the developers. The footbridge linking the site to Willow Vale, one of the most positive aspect of ACORNS proposal, should be retained

– A viable solution to the traffic issues that would be caused by the ACORN proposal (there was another serious RTA at the roundabout at the top of Vicarage Street last week)

– Ample parking provision. Whilst encouraging the use of public transport, walking and cycling is very important, this should be achieved by positive means (cycle lanes, cycle parking, pedestrian space, public transport provision) rather than the negative means of not providing adequate parking space.

– Community spaces available for affordable hire (‘village hall’ type spaces, to serve the community in a variety of ways), both internal and external

– Inclusion of Frome’s many social enterprises, sports clubs and arts institutions from the outside to find out which of their requirements are not currently met within the town and provide as appropriate

My thoughts are with all these Housing estates there has not been any thought how St John’s it Nearest school which would love to be part of the new development due to the building being so old and needing a lot done, which has been rather over looked by all other planning previously submitted by Acorn/ Mendip District Council, also we were always told we would have a lovely shopping centre which has never been added, the arguments have been going on for so long!!!
Give people of Frome what they are asking for not another over crowded housing estate, and please sort the dangerous round about we’ve just had another nasty Accident with a car and Lorry, maybe traffic lights would help?

A mere detail, but the junction of Vicarage Street, Christchurch Street East and Garsdale is a nightmare. Might I suggest that the new development would give us a chance to make Vicarage street a double cul-de-sac? By creating a modest route through to the west of No.11, Vicarage Street, the Garsdale end of Vicarage Street could be blocked to vehicles, with a green bank (trees, etc) and the opposite end, south of Church Street, could also be sealed (possibly with an emergency access bollard or two).
Further, if a land swap was arranged with Lidl, then a circular route could be devised in the new development for delivery traffic – down into the site via Garsdale and return up north of Vicarage Street and through the current access route to Lidl.
Finally, if King Street were extended through the precinct, it would allow a link to Saxonvale.

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