This open letter was paid for by Mayday Saxonvale: An Open Letter To Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Saxonvale still has the potential to be developed as an important extension of Frome’s town centre (Image: Mayday Saxonvale)
The future of our town, Frome, is in your hands. We need you to listen.
We are near a make or break moment for Frome. Saxonvale is the last opportunity for development in the town centre. It’s a development that will change the character of Frome forever.
All previous commercial sites including Singers, Butler & Tanner, Vallis Mills, Culprinol, Coloroll and Matbrow have been demolished to make way for housing developments. Frome has businesses that want to grow, and new businesses that want to move here, but can’t because there are no premises for them.
And you agree. Mendip District Council’s (MDC) Local Plan states, ‘the biggest challenge the town faces in the next 20 years is to reduce the outflow of workers from the town, by providing jobs locally’. The plan sets specific commercial space requirements for the town centre and Saxonvale*.
The Mayday Masterplan is made up of a variety of residential, self/custom build, a new school, business incubation/start-up units, mixed-use live/work units, heritage, and public/cultural uses (Image: Mayday Saxonvale)
Why then Ros, are you actively pursuing a plan in Frome’s last central brownfield site that does not come close to meeting these requirements? Meaning your own policy for employment in Frome will never be delivered. This decision will set Frome’s future as a dormitory town.
Frome does not need 300 high density apartments in its town centre, with barely any commercial space. It does not need a plan that was described as ‘far from perfect’ ten times over in the planning meeting that approved it. It does not need a plan that was rejected by all of its statutory consultees and received over 280 individual objections, with none in support. It does not need a plan which does not meet MDC’s own Local Plan policy requirements for affordable housing and town centre commercial space.
Frome does not need the Acorn Property Group’s plan for Saxonvale.
Acorn’s plan was approved on the basis that it was the best that could be delivered in Saxonvale at that time. It was the only plan on the table, but the situation has changed.
Do you agree? Add your name to this letter at maydaysaxonvale.co.uk/addmyname
There are now two plans for the development of Saxonvale.
Mayday Saxonvale has joined with Stories, a socially responsible development company, to deliver a plan that is viable, funded, and deliverable. The Mayday Plan will deliver a vibrant, mixed, characterful, ambitious development that is a real extension of Frome’s town centre:
- Over 10,000 sqm of varied commercial space delivering MDC Policy (Acorn, 2,161 – 4,181 sqm – MDC Policy not delivered*)
- 40% affordable housing, exceeding MDC Policy of 30% (Acorn, 21.5-24% – MDC Policy not delivered)
- Space for St John’s School to create a new, larger school, away from heavy traffic
- Retention of all historic buildings, features and walls
- Parking hidden at the edge of the site – with pedestrians, cyclists, and public space given priority
- A wide range of community buildings and space for Frome to enjoy for generations, including a riverside public lido
Our plan will be proceeding through outline planning during the summer, despite MDC refusing to allow our technical consultants on site.
Mayday Saxonvale Retrofit Commercial Zone will use existing buildings to deliver a transformative level of new commercial space in Frome’s town centre (Image: Mayday Saxonvale)
Ros, we are asking for you to engage with Mayday Saxonvale, so you can evaluate which plan delivers for your constituents, which we hope, remains your overriding priority.
We are also asking for you to stop the destruction of Frome’s historical buildings, heritage fabric and surviving walls within the Saxonvale site.
We want to work collaboratively with you to deliver a positive future for Frome, which allows it’s entrepreneurial and community spirit to flourish. To continue with the Acorn Property Group plan without fully considering and comparing the Mayday alternative plan would be an active choice by you and MDC.
We look forward to your response.
Paul Oster and Damon Moore
Directors, Mayday Saxonvale