Group’s plans for homes and lido in Somerset approved – but it still needs to buy the land

Group’s plans for homes and lido in Somerset approved #Frome via ITV News

Residents in Frome are celebrating after plans for a lido, a community space and new homes were approved.

A group of people living in the Somerset town put forward alternative plans for the Saxonvale brownfield site because they were unhappy with a private developer’s proposals for the space.

The residents – who have now set up development firm The Mayday Saxonvale group – hope to build 182 homes, a hotel and spa, a music and performance space and a lido.

Its plans also include the relocation of a primary school.

Mendip District Council had previously granted approval to Acorn Property Group to build 300 new homes on the site.

Both plans now have planning consent – but neither owns the plot of land.

Resident Tina Gaisford said: “We’ve got a chance here to do something interesting that could inspire other towns, not just turn a profit for developers and people out of town.

“For me, it’s another example of community power, people coming together to make the changes the changes they want to see happen for their town.”

Mayday Saxonvale director Paul Oster said: “This is the last chance to develop, enhance and extend the town centre of Frome.

“The alternative plan is very much just dominated by residential high-density development.

“What the town needs, from an extension perspective, is employment space, community space and development that reflects the rest of the town.”

This is the biggest community-led development in the country and almost 1,400 residents wrote to the council to show their suppor.

Mayor of Frome, Sara Butler, said: “At the moment everything we see going on is developers making money, nothing for the local community.

“To have some of the assets Mayday Saxonvale are going to offer would be amazing.

“For all the young people that want to stay in the town, it’s going to offer a space for creative development and for some of the small businesses to grow. It’s going to be brilliant.”

The group now needs to hold talks with Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council about the purchasing of the land.