Watch Adam Grierson’s report
Campaigners in Frome are taking a stand against plans for a new housing development in the centre of the town which has been approved by the council.
The plans – designed by Acorn Property Developers – include offices, live-work units and other commercial spaces.
They have been approved by Mendip District Council twice.
But the Mayday Saxonvale group says the development is not right for the community and has too many homes, so they’ve worked with architects to produce an alternative plan for the site.
Paul Oster, Director of Mayday Saxonvale told ITV News the plans were “unanimously rejected” by the people of Frome.
“There have been over 500 well-reasoned rejections from the community, the Chamber of Commerce, the Civic Society and the Town Council, yet, despite that, it’s been approved twice”, he said.
But according to Paul, the alternative plans proposed by Mayday Saxonvale, which include homes, businesses spaces, a spa and a lido, have been welcomed by the community.
“We’ve now got our plan being processed through outline planning which currently has over 900 supportive comments on the planning portal and a supportive comment from the Chamber of Commerce.”
“So really, we’ve got one plan which is being entirely rejected by Frome and one plan which is being unanimously supported by Frome.”
Damon Moore is the Director of the Silk Mill, a heritage building housing studio space for artists and small businesses which sits beside the development site.
He said: “There’s enormous pressure for people relocating, wanting a lifestyle change, or wanting to set up their own businesses coming to Frome.
“These people need business spaces – packaging areas, delivery areas, footfall and manufacturing, office and they can’t get it in the town centre, that is what we’ve designed in our plan.”
Some of the businesses working next to the site shared the concerns of the campaign group.
Artist Amanda Bee said she felt the proposed site looks like “prison blocks” and did not take into account the needs of the town.
A spokesperson from Mendip District Council said: “We are in a contractual relationship with Acorn who will be pursuing with the development, as per the agreed planning permission.”
However, campaigners say they will continue to push their alternative plans, no matter how far the Acorn development progresses.