‘Saxonvale’ is a 9-acre brownfield site in Frome town centre. Its future has been uncertain for many years, and a series of planning applications has never resulted in a development. In 2018 the site was acquired by Mendip District Council, who appointed Acorn Property Group as the developer.

1. Planning Application 2019/1180/OTS

Acorn’s planning application was submitted in 2019 and comprises a development of up to 300 houses with a much smaller allocation of land to commercial use. Frome Civic Society believes that this conflicts with Local Plan policies, which designated this area for mixed use, including a substantial amount of much-needed employment space. In our view, the Acorn proposalsquanders this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to extend and enhance Frome’s town centre. We were involved in pre-application stakeholder meetings with MDC, Acorn and Nash from the start of 2019, but ultimately it proved impossible to dissuade Acorn from its unbalanced allocation of land use, or the architect Nash Partnership from its high-density housing scheme.

The application has been submitted to MDC Planning Board twice. In both cases the resolution was to delegate to approve the application, subject to conditions and completion of a Section 106 Agreement, although at the second meeting, the majority in favour was only one vote. The Civic Society has objected to the application at every stage, making formal consultation responses and representations to MDC Planning Board Meetings. Copies of our objections can be found here.

2. Planning Application 2021/2373/OTA (Mayday Saxonvale)

A campaign against the Acorn scheme, known as ‘Mayday Saxonvale’, was begun in 2019 and was subsequently formalised into a not-for-profit social enterprise which has submitted an alternative planning application for the site. Frome Civic Society has given its support in principle, albeit with certain reservations. Our consultation response can be found here.