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Ambitious community plan unveiled for Saxonvale Alternative scheme includes Lido, riverside park, shops and new school

CAMPAIGNERS against the current plans to redevelop the Saxonvale site have revealed their own alternative ‘masterplan’ for the site.

The Mayday Saxonvale campaign’s emerging masterplan proposes a new lido, hamam (Turkish bath), green spaces, a riverside park, commercial/retail space, opportunities for pop-ups, small artisan and independent retailers, some housing, and a new school, relocating St John’s School to the site – which is currently on Christchurch Street East.

The campaign says that their design moves away from the current “housing-led scheme’ proposed by Mendip District Council, and instead offers a “community-focussed scheme”,  extending the town centre as a “cultural and commercial destination”.  

Designed by Andrew Kirby Architects the campaign’s emerging masterplan, divides the site into four areas – the Historic Merchants Barton, the Western Warehouse Quarter, the Commercial Zone, and the School Quarter.

On behalf of the campaign, director of the Silk Mill, Damon Moore said, “The Mayday Saxonvale scheme is a post-Acorn solution to this contested mixed-use site. 

“This is make or break for Frome and it is absolutely essential for the town’s future that Saxonvale be developed properly for all our economic, cultural and affordable housing priorities. 

“We understand the considerable level of frustration in the town, but Acorn’s scheme will bring traffic grid-lock, barrack-style housing and fall way, way below expectations in terms of delivering employment opportunities and a sustainable design Frome can stand by and be proud of. 

“Mayday sees the whole town involved in creating a community-focussed scheme and then showing it can work. If we succeed, it will become a model for other towns in the UK facing exploitative, uncaring development. The scheme intends to make much more use of the site’s natural resources which is why a hamam and a lido will feature as part of the community offer.”

The Mayday Saxonvale campaign was launched by the directors of the Silk Mill Studios and Gallery who called into question the contract between Mendip District Council and the developers of the Saxonvale site, Acorn Property Group and Nash Partnership Architects.

Earlier this year, the campaign described the current plans by Mendip District Council as ‘horrendous’ and ‘designed to make sizeable profitable returns back to the district council’.

A date for when Mendip District Council will give a decision on the planning application, which closed for public comments in July, is yet to be confirmed. 

For more information about Mayday Saxonvale’s emerging masterplan, visit the website: https://maydaysaxonvale.


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