Statement on Mendip District Council’s Response to Mayday Saxonvale Planning Consent

Mayday Saxonvale (Mayday) have now achieved consent for our community-led, alternative plan for the Saxonvale site in Frome’s town centre. The plan was approved 12 to three by the Planning Board. The result was reflected with overwhelming support from our local community who have made abundantly clear that the Mayday plan is the right plan for Frome. This means Mendip District Council (MDC) now have the enviable position of having two consented schemes for the Saxonvale site.

MDC can now initiate discussions with both Acorn and Mayday to establish which provides the best consideration for their land interest and which scheme offers the best outcome for the residents of Frome and the future of our town. The administration at MDC continues to have no contact whatsoever with Mayday.

The Acorn Plan is on the Agenda to be Signed

Instead, the current administration has put the approval of Acorn’s S106 agreement on the agenda of the MDC’s Asset Management Group at 4pm on the 24th of August. This agreement sets out the developer’s obligations, such as highways and education contributions, and gives the green light for works to commence. The group is composed of MDC Leader Ros Wyke and three other Cabinet members.

The draft S106 agreement has been published on the MDC planning portal since March 2021, so it is unclear why Mayday achieving planning consent on 17th August should trigger this.

The paper for the meeting suggests that after signing the S106 MDC will still be in a position to reevaluate the Acorn scheme and “pursue the best option for the taxpayer”, and that “other options would still remain open”. However, the details of how this would happen are not provided.

We are being forced to launch a Judicial Review

But most significantly, should the S106 be signed, then it would be the only opportunity to challenge Acorn’s planning permission, through what is called a Judicial Review (JR), and so we would be forced to launch such a challenge. This would be costly for the claimant and MDC, as well as further delaying the development of Saxonvale. It will damage, or possibly end, the chance of positive engagement with Mayday to ensure the right decision is taken for the Saxonvale site.

In addition, MDC are also currently contesting a JR challenge against a different planning permission to demolish a series of curtilage listed and heritage buildings within the Saxonvale site. These are all buildings that the Mayday plan retains and Acorn’s plan demolishes. A hearing for this challenge is set for September, and a request to delay this by eight weeks has been made, to allow time for MDC to discuss the Mayday plans, has been vigorously rejected by the MDC. The result is further cost to the public purse and further damaging background for discussions.

Mendip District Council are Blocking What the Community Wants

The approach of MDC in these matters appears directly designed to frustrate their own ability to assess their options as land owner of the Saxonvale site. It is an approach that appears designed to block any prospect of the Mayday plan being delivered, despite the clear desire of their constituents in Frome for this to happen.

We call on them to pause the approval of the Acorn S106 and engage in that assessment.

Paul Oster and Damon Moore

Mayday Saxonvale Directors

What can you do to help?

Share on Social

Tweet Lib Dem Leaders and News Outlets

Like our Tweet and RT

Email Lib Dem Ros Wyke NOW!

Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council:

Copy in:

MP Ed Davey,
Leader of the Liberal Democrats:

Cllr Bill Revans, Leader of the New Somerset Council:

Tell her to:

  • Stop the signing of the Acorn S106
  • Listen to your constituents and engage with Mayday Saxonvale 
  • Initiate discussions with both Acorn and Mayday, establish which provides the best consideration for your land interest and which scheme offers the best outcome for the residents of Frome and the future of our town
  • Don’t force us to engage in a Judicial Review
  • Don’t sign away the future of Frome!

Please share and forward with anyone who can also write and help spread the word.