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Action group launched to stop controversial shipping containers plans

A group of local businesses and residents have formed an action group to campaign for Mendip District Council to reconsider the location of the proposed  office block made from steel shipping containers in the centre of Frome.

The Frome Market Yard Action Group, says that the council’s plan to put shipping containers in the Cattle Market car park and the subsequent loss of around 30 car parking spaces, will have a negative impact on businesses in the town, and the town’s economy.

The first planning application for the office block made from shipping containers was made in September last year, but this was shelved after strong objections from the public. A second application was made in June this year, but was quickly withdrawn by the council. However, at the time, Mendip said that they were ‘considering revisions to the scheme before re-submitting’, and that they ‘still intend to retain the use of containers.’

In anticipation of the third planning application, the group has launched an online petition, asking the council to consider alternative locations in the town, including the newly-acquired Saxonvale site. 

Member of the group, Andy Taylor said, “Where Mendip District Council want to put the containers makes no sense – it will mean the loss of around 30 car parking spaces, which is bound to have an impact on existing businesses, such as the Westway retailers and the Cheese & Grain. 

“Introducing a whole load of new people working in the area will mean a higher demand for parking –  and there is no provision for parking for ‘boxworks’ in the plans we have seen so far. This is a dangerous plan that could impact the economy of the town.

“The idea is crazy, Mendip are pursuing this as a revenue activity at the cost of available parking in Frome. In their Local Plan and the Frome Neighbourhood Plan, parking is identified as a key issue that needs to be addressed – so they’ve ignored this and paid no attention to their own plan.

“As a group we felt concerned and organised a meeting with the deputy chief executive of Mendip District Council, Tracy Aaron. Shortly before the meeting the news broke that the district council had procured Saxonvale – we thought that this would be the ideal place to put the containers, but at the meeting Tracy Aaron told us that would not be the case. She said that the Saxonvale and the ‘boxworks’ were separate and that the council will be continuing with their plan to put the containers on the Cattle Market car park. She was adamant that they wouldn’t consider Saxonvale as an alternative.

“The best place for this plan is on a brownfield site like Saxonvale – it won’t impact the site, in fact it will enhance it and bring people into an area that is dead.

“We don’t want to wait around for the third application – we want to raise awareness of this revenue pursuit by the council and rally people to support the campaign – the council are riding roughshod and ignoring their own local plan.”

To pledge your support to the campaign and to sign the group’s petition, visit: www.change.org/p/mendip-district-council-no-shipping-containers-on-frome-s-cattle-market-car-park

2 Responses to Action group launched to stop controversial shipping containers plans

  1. Reg Ling

    October 13, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    I am appalled that industrial containers should be sited in the car park area since they are extreemly ugly and never designed for such proposed uses. The plan should be thrown out altogether. Frome is a historic Town and it is unforgivable that such a scheme emanates from MDC.

  2. William Lowe

    October 15, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Saxonvale is not a realistic option for this proposal because the District Council have paid £6.3 million for the site [as disclosed in the Cabinet Meeting minutes], so there is every likelihood that Saxonvale will be a series of relatively high density housing developments.

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