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Commerce Park: planning application submitted for industrial and business development

by adamboyden on 20 April, 2021

A planning application has been submitted to develop all but one of the last remaining vacant plots on the south side of the Commerce Park. The application is for 61 small business units (B2/B8 units with ancillary office space, in nine buildings), and a single industrial building in two 15,000 sq.ft. units (use class B8 and E(G)(i) (formerly B1a)) with a height to eaves up to 7m and ridge 8.82m – please see the planning application documents and comments here.

The site is on the other side of the noise bund and fence along the boundary with Priddy Close, Blagdon Walk and Compton Gardens. The consultation period has been extended by the case officer until 12th March. I and the Coalway Lane Residents Association are looking through the documents and I would encourage people living near the site to have a good look. Residents commenting here already have expressed concerns about the B2/B8 units being proposed within a zone previously restricted in the former outline planning permission to the former use class B1 Business, and about potential noise and visual impacts. The potential job creation is discussed on SomersetLive.

The comments here show that objections have been submitted by some 27 local residents and Frome Civic Society, the ward councillor (Cllr Brooke) and Berkley Parish Council.

The application was also discussed at Frome Town Council’s Planning Committee on 11th March. I and other councillors spoke and raised issues of potential noise disturbance, the change in proposed use classes, and measures to reduce impacts on climate and promote active travel. I also asked about the type of businesses the applicants wanted to attract (answer: online retail). The draft minutes here include FTC’s response to the application at the end of the document. FTC welcomed the proposed employment units, but ‘are concerned about the potential noise impacts to residents on Coalway Lane, the MDC Environmental Health response to the noise assessment will be key and we would expect that the views on the noise assessment from the Coalway Lane Residents Association will be taken into account’.

FTC also ‘would support real commitment to encouraging active travel, measures such as a more ambitious travel plan,…’, and the installation of solar panels as part of the scheme. (not left to others). FTC requested that the footpath between Pensford Way and the site be resurfaced and lit with bat-friendly solar powered lights, to promote active travel to the Commerce Park, which is a major employment centre without any bus route.

My initial response requested clarifications of the visual impact of the large warehouse, and the potential planning conditions and measures that could be used to avoid potential nuisance to residents. The response of the MDC Environmental Health team to the Noise Impact Assessment report could be crucial.

My response will be added below.

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