Adam Boyden

Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward and Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Somerton & Frome Learn more

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Improving planning and development

by adamboyden on 22 April, 2015

Over the last four years there have been several major planning applications which I have got stuck into to help local residents get better development in this area. These include:

Stonebridge shops and flats: Permission was granted by Mendip in January for the expansion of the shops at Forest Road, and for 3 new flats to be built above them. Adam successfully argued for revisions to the plans, to avoid a loss of car parking spaces, include more tree planting, and improve the design. The development should start in May or June. As Tesco is proposed to close during construction I am asking the developer to consider how to help local residents shop there or nearby for daily essentials. The trees which were cut down earlier in April around the car park and behind the shops will, we have been promised, be replaced after the main building work is finished, as part of the planning application requirements (see the approved Landscape Plan here). See also previous news of the planning application here.

Not another 107 houses at Packsaddle Way: In January, development proposals for 107 new homes in fields at the end of Packsaddle Way were withdrawn. The plans had over 130 objections from local residents and organisations, on landscape impact, flooding at Spring Gardens, the lack of ‘affordable housing’, and need (as enough housing sites are available elsewhere). I also objected strongly and asked the developers to withdraw their plans, which they did soon afterwards. Frome will need more houses to meet our needs, but this is not a suitable site, and for now, the threat has gone away.

Building out Bath Road Heights: Last year Latona Leisure proposed to build 8 houses to finish building out the old Mendip Lodge Hotel site. Mendip refused permission, Latona appealed and the Inspector’s hearing was in late March. After consulting residents, I wrote to the Inspector to argue that residents wanted the houses built as soon as possible (as the site is currently an eyesore), but that the large trees should be protected and arguing for a pedestrian crossing for Bath Road residents and College pupils to cross safely. I am also pushing for the improvement and adoption of the new road, and have contacted Mendip planners and Somerset Highways again on that. For full details please see here. Update 27 April 2015: The Planning Inspector has refused permission for the submitted planning application 2014/0981/FUL, on three grounds – protection of trees, the housing mix, and a lack of affordable housing. The applicants Latona had asked the Inspector to put aside application 2014/0981/FUL and instead consider amended plans (as an outline application with illustrative detail) which at least protected the TPO trees better, but the Inspector refused to do that. I argued that residents wanted the houses built as soon as possible (as the site is currently an eyesore), but that the large trees should be protected that we need a pedestrian crossing for Bath Road residents and College pupils to cross safely. I now hope that Latona can be persuaded to come back to Mendip with a fully revised planning application that fully protects the large TPO trees, has a housing mix more acceptable to Mendip planners, and a firm offer of affordable housing, on or off site, as that would surely be granted permission soon.

New Co-op shop at Fromefield: Permission was granted by Mendip last year for a new Co-op convenience store on the old Fromefield Surgery site. I applied to Mendip to have the application heard by councillors on the Planning Board, due to residents’ concerns about safety at the busy junction, and building in the historic Fromefield Conservation Area, but was overruled by Conservative councillors. Work has now started on site to build the shop. I had a meeting with the site manager, where I asked for disruption to be kept to a minimum. I will keep residents informed of progress. The shop should be ready to open in the autumn.

I am campaigning to devolve more powers and decisions to Frome, including planning, and make Mendip listen to local people in Area Forums once more, instead of hiding in Shepton.

Mendip Local Plan challenge withdrawn: Over the last few years I have attended meetings on Mendip’s Local Plan to represent Frome and guide policy. The Local Plan Part 1 was approved in December 2014 and the legal challenge to it (by Gladman Developments) has just been withdrawn. Mendip District Council will soon therefore start to prepare Part 2 of the Local Plan ‘Site Allocations’, and the Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations. This will decide the location of sites for housing and economic development, and the open spaces and recreational areas that should be protected and provided, in Frome and elsewhere in the district. See here for planning policy at Mendip.

Also, Frome’s Neighbourhood Plan will soon be examined by an Inspector. Mendip has objected to some aspects, and these will be heard in public.

If elected, I will fight to protect and improve this part of town and Frome as a whole, and will keep residents fully informed and involved.

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