A Public Engagement Meeting was held by Frome Town Council on Thursday 2nd December at 7.00 pm. Nearly 40 people attended in person, with over 100 people attending via zoom.
You can watch the full presentation below, and questions that were not answered on the night are answered below.
Public Questions & Answers
The bridge from Willow Vale is a reinstatement of an arched bridge and access route across the river demolished following the tragic death of five children during an extreme flooding event in 1932.
Saxonvale has not flooded since 1975 when flood prevention measures were introduced at Welshmill.
Reinstating this bridge will have many benefits. It will connect Saxonvale to eastern destinations of the town centre, (Bridge Street, Market Street, Market Yard, and the Cheese & Grain) and bring this central green corridor back into the recreational life of the town.
The bridge will be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, not for traffic.
Routes currently from the town centre will remain open to car parks at the Irongates, although the M&S car park will be replaced by a two-deck stacked car park.
Drivers will be able to access Vicarage Street as they currently do, but a one-way system will operate. Therefore you will be able to only turn left at the end of Church Street.
Heavy delivery lorries and goods vehicles will redirect away from Vicarage Street, down Garsdale Road, and along Merchants Avenue.
Before any bridge reinstatement can be built, permission is required by the water authority which is a feasibility exercise. Mayday is fully committed to a new river crossing and to exploring a cantilevered walkway to the rear of the Blue Boar. This has been talked about for many years.
The location of these access points will be identified at the detailed planning stage and in consultation with landowners, and with river authorities.
Funds have been allocated for a new bridge to the riverside park and will form part of the s.106 Agreement.
Thank you for your support. Many new housing developments have restricted parking arrangements, leading to on-street parking at the perimeters.
Our plan is a mixed-use scheme and not a high density housing development, less traffic will be generated overall. Residents parking permits and parking schemes will operate from both
of the main site car-parks.
Through our outline application and the support it is receiving, it will become more and more difficult for Mendip to reject a scheme that Frome supports. It will also be difficult to continue with a scheme that Frome has overwhelmingly rejected.
The greater the support that Frome expresses, then the greater the chance that Mendip will be persuaded to change course. Please send in your comments of support via email to MDC (email: email@example.com quoting application number 2021/2373/OTA and state “I Support”).
Elections for the new unitary authority will take place in May next year and we hope that Councillors putting themselves forward will have a red and white parachute somewhere in their rosette.
Thank you for your support.
The applications to demolish existing heritage structures (see below) on the site have been subject to legal challenge and it is not likely that this programme will be commencing in the short term.
Historic and heritage buildings in Saxonvale still remain at risk.
* Demolition of buildings 2, 3, 4 and 5 at the former Silk Mill.
* Demolition of buildings 2, 3, 4, 5 and rubbish clearance and soft strip of buildings 9, 10 and 11 at the former Silk Mill.
* Works to trees in a conservation area and part under a TPO (M150):- – G1 – Crack Willow, Sycamore, Lomardy Poplar and Leyland Cypress – Fell.
In a mixed-use scheme, Saxonvale would increase the area of the existing town centre by approximately 25%.
Since the first silk mill arrived on the site in 1785, this has been Frome’s employment base with 100’s of workers streaming into the engineering and fuse making factories during the mid-twentieth century.
Our plan reopens these historic access routes into the site and once the redevelopment has been completed. The term ‘Saxonvale’ will no longer have the prominence it does now and it will be fully integrated into the town centre.
Different zones of the plan will all become destinations in their own right and as Stoney Street or Cheap Street are now, for example, Bow Exchange, Hill Village, or Merchants’ Avenue.
The range of community assets includes destinations for visitors. These include Merchant’s Barton Spa, lido, boutique hotel, and Riverside Park. These offer considerable new leisure and recreational facilities attracting people into the development.
Community participation is a priority as the process for the new Unitary Authority gets a head of steam.
Somerset County Council has launched and is launching extensive consultations throughout the region. This new authority has to show that amalgamating the functions and duties of the District Councils does not mean any overall diminishment of local representation.
We hope the objectives of community-led masterplanning are aligned with the aims of the new unitary structure.
We would estimate that it would take between five to seven years to complete.
Currently, the application has seen the support of over 700 people writing to the District Council’s planning portal.
Frome Chamber of Commerce, one of Fromes’ local consultee bodies has also recommended the scheme.
Frome Town Council and Frome Civic Society are still considering their response after which it will go to a full meeting of the Planning Board at Mendip early next year.
There is a standard 3-month period for planning applications to be considered, but there is a significant backlog in the system at the present time. This did not prevent Mendip from bringing back the Acorn scheme for a second determination at lightning speed, however.
Since the public event at the Town Council Chamber, we have received many offers of help and are creating a resource page for the Mayday website to provide updates and news for anyone who wants to get more involved. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help.
All aspects of the construction have been independently costed.
Rental rates for commercial space have been assessed in line with our viability model. We believe these would be affordable for businesses we expect to use the space available.
Through the commercial space owned as community assets, we will be able to set rates, terms, and flexibility to encourage the businesses that the community values, whilst operating within commercial viability.
Adopting and implementing the Sustainable Urban Drainage systems that we are planning, rainwater that flows from the streets and roofs of buildings will be directed to ‘soft planting beds’ and tree systems to infiltrate and hold water in the landscape.
With these systems where the water is inlet from the street, there are interceptor features that will ‘catch’ bits of plastic and cigarette butts. In some instances, the surface water may carry cigarette butts from the street into planting beds – this would be cleaned by horticultural practice/management. The soil and growing medium in these planting beds would act as a biological filter to prevent and intercept any finer particulate matter from entering the waterways further downstream.
The drainage strategy has had tight parameters to be worked within – contaminated land, flood zone, and attaining greenfield runoff rates.
The drainage engineers ran calculations to make sure this is viable. Furthermore, there are control valves on the drainage systems to make sure the ‘backing up’ effect is mitigated.