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Frome Town Centre Campaign Group warns of “traffic chaos”

 

Traffic proposal from Saxonvale developers

Traffic proposal from Saxonvale developers

Plans to build a new retail park on the Saxonvale site in Frome would cause major traffic problems on the town’s roads, and amount to “a recipe for disaster”.

That’s the view of town centre campaign group Keep Frome Local, who have launched the latest phase of their campaign against plans for a supermarket-based development on the eastern edge of the town centre.

In their latest campaign material, KFL warn of “oncoming traffic chaos”. Their move is in response to the latest traffic report submitted by Milton Keynes-based developers Frontier Estates to Mendip District Council, which insists on a drastic remodeling of the town’s roads, and acknowledges the huge difficulties that would arise from their proposals. The report demands a new double roundabout, and confirms the inevitability of long daily traffic jams through the town centre.

Frontier’s proposals have already been given the thumbs down from Somerset’s Highways Authority, who have recommended that Mendip reject them. In response, the developers’ new traffic report includes:

• A plan for a new double mini-roundabout at the top of Bath Street

• A recognition that their plans would cause a massive traffic jam on Bath Street between 4.00pm – 5.00pm each weekday, up to 90 cars long. This would reach down to Market Place and beyond

• The prospect of long queues on Christchurch Street East and Portway, especially on Saturday mornings

• No clear indication that Frontier’s projections take into account two looming developments: the new Steiner School on Park Road, and plans for 450 new homes at Southfield Farm

• Flawed claims about a huge “mileage saving” if people were to use a new supermarket that are based on ‘As the crow flies’ calculations, not real roads.

Keep Frome Local volunteer Janet Weeks said, “The big hold-ups currently affecting Badcox and Wallbridge and regular traffic jams throughout the town prove that Frome’s roads are already overloaded. These proposals are a recipe for disaster, which would have a drastic affect on local residents, businesses, and schools. That applies particularly to St John’s First school, which sits directly on a road likely to become congested.”

Alan Burgess, headteacher, says, “St John’s School sits on a narrow ‘A’ road with a 30mph limit and no pavement opposite. There is already a high level of congestion in the mornings and in late afternoon when children are released from clubs and the school is used by others for community activities.

“This ill-considered proposal takes no account of other already approved local developments such as the Steiner Academy: collectively these will all impact on the locality and will, without question, increase the danger to all our stakeholders.”

Landlord of The Cornerhouse, Martin Earley comments “Having the best vantage point in town of the existing roundabout opposite the pub, it is quite miraculous that there have only been three major incidents in the last three years when we see countless near misses every day, the majority caused by confusion and hesitation.

“The creation of a second roundabout that close to the existing one would only create further confusion with traffic feeds from even more directions, and for what purpose? The volume of traffic coming up Christchurch Street East won’t reduce with the vast majority, as it does already, turning right towards the town.”

75% of public submissions to Mendip Council on the Frontier plan are opposed to it. Those against the plan include Frome Town Council and the Chamber Of Commerce, which represents scores of local businesses. It is still unclear when the Frontier plan will be heard by Mendip’s planning authority, but in the meantime, KFL are suggesting that people email their views on the traffic issue to consultations@mendip.gov.uk, quoting reference 2013/ 2260/OTS (Land at Garsdale).keepfrome local.org.uk – keepfrome local@ gmail. com – face book.com/ groups/saxon vale.