The three proposals for FR2 (Sandy’s Hill Lane), FR3a and SGC are all physically linked and will result in more than 2,250 homes being crammed into a small yet beautiful area on the south side of Frome. This could mean a population increase for the town of as many as 7,000 inhabitants (25% of the town’s current total).
All this will, of course, come without the necessary infrastructure needed – schools, medical facilities, jobs, etc. It will increase traffic and pollution while destroying the biodiversity of the area. It will also alter the quiet lanes of Little Keyford – currently enjoyed by walkers, runners and cyclists – forever. It could turn Frome into one of the least sustainable places in Somerset.
More information on each of these developments can be found below the map.
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FR2 and FR3a
There are two sites that have been allocated in the draft Local Plan Part 2, they are FR2 and FR3a. Their location is shown on towards the bottom of this map, on the southern side of Frome. These two developments will add approximately 600 new houses in this area.
- FR2 (Sandy’s Hill Lane) – This site straddling a peaceful lane was granted outline planning permission in Summer 2020, during the first lockdown. It was sent away at its first Mendip Planning Board meeting but returned very quickly with only small tweaks to the developer’s original plans. Some of the Planning Board members present at the first meeting were not available for the second. At the latter meeting, consent was granted by the slimmest of margins (Chair’s vote). However, it has since come to light a number of key planning documents were not provided by the developer. Some of those that were contained notable omissions. Stop SGC are working with other interested parties to see what can be done about the ‘Saga of Sandy’s Hill Lane’. We hope to have news soon.
- FR3a (Area South of the Mount) – Against the guidance of the Planning Inspector for a masterplanned approach, this development site remains split into three plots by two different developers. As a result, key issues such as access and the impact on the local environment have not been adequately addressed. The quality of the housing proposed is poor and will require retrofitting (at the expense of the homeowner and the taxpayer) within the next 10 years if the UK is to meet or exceed its climate obligations. Stop SGC supporters helped to raise over 120 objections to each of the three separate planning applications. It is due before the Planning Board soon. Despite the objections of local residents, it is unlikely to see the improvements needed. Another case of profit before people and planet!
SGC – Selwood ‘Garden’ ‘Community’
South of these sites and occupying an enournous area (nearly 200 acres) of prime agricultural land and rich habitat is the SGC behemoth!
Selwood Garden Community has been around for a while and many remember when it was known as Selwood Garden Village. With the development having nothing to do with the concept of Garden Villages or Towns, the promoter has extracted their thesaurus and given it the evocative Garden Community title.
It represents neither Garden or Community. It is an audacious land grab by a profit-hungry promoter. There will be no plans to provide anything more than a road network and a range of plots to be sold off to the highest bidding developer. As such, the overall development will not be masterplanned but more just a rash of poorly designed housing bolted on to the outer edge of Frome. It will turn the area into a building site for over 10 years and when finished will not provide the right homes for the right people (a serious lack of social and affordable housing), in the right location or of the right quality. It will encourage car use and commuting to other towns and cities in the south of England.
In conclusion, these three development sites will alter Frome’s character forever. They are physically linked and should be seen as Phases 1 (FR2), 2 (FR3a) and 3 (SGC). It will unnecessarily sacrifice the nature of the SGC site and it’s important role in the wider ecology of the area. It will deny many residents the amenity it offers replacing the peace and tranquility of the area with bulldozers, excavators, tarmac and concrete.
Frome (and Mendip) Deserves Better!