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£290,000 appeal is launched to buy Whatcombe Meadow

CAMPAIGNING is under way in Frome to stop the meadow at Whatcombe being bought by property developers.

The 54 acres of open land, currently used for grazing, stretch from Whatcombe Road to Jack’s Lane. The area was up for auction in June, and  marked as having ‘development potential’.

However, one group of residents objected and have had the auction postponed for six months, in which time they hope to raise enough money to buy the land.

The group is an extension of Save Our Spaces,  a movement which campaigns to protect green spaces in the Frome area. They have so far raised over £65,000, but say they need £290,000 by February 2015 in order to safeguard the meadowland.

The group plans to set up a community share scheme that will allow campaigners to invest money and retain  the ability to withdraw it in future.

Group member Anna Francis said, “This is an amazing opportunity for the community to ensure we can enjoy the fields now and for future generations.

“It’s an investment too; a local estate agent estimated that my house would lose 10% of its value if the fields were lost.”

Save Open Spaces are looking for photographs of Whatcombe fields in all seasons, which will be displayed at the Frome Town Council offices in September. They are also launching a photo competition of photos taken in the fields this summer. Email your photos to: savefromemeadow@ outlook.com or post to Frome Town Council, 5 Palmer Street, Frome, BA11 1DS.

Go to www.save-open-spaces.blogspot.co.uk for more information.

Over 60 people attended the first Whatcombe Field public meeting on  31st July.

Co-organiser Ruth explained, “Over £65,000 has been raised in pledges from the local community so far to buy the fields – more are needed over the next six months to meet the £290,000 target. Ideas to do this ranged from leafleting to benefit concerts to Zumba classes.

“We only need 300 homes to pledge £1,000 and we’re there!”

Anna Francis added, “Protecting the fields through community ownership is vital to ensure future generations and wildlife can continue to enjoy the space.

“Living close to such wonderful green space was definitely one of the reasons we moved here.”

To get involved or make a pledge email: savefromemeadow@outlook.com