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Campaign to save ‘Frome’s last undeveloped green space’ continues

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A campaign to save the former Broadway allotment site is gathering pace, despite Mendip District Council’s plans to explore proposals for social housing on the site.

There was unanimous support to saving the allotments – described as ‘Frome’s last undeveloped green space’ – from members at a recent meeting of Broadway Allotment & Community Garden Association.

And a petition  – ‘Save Frome’s last undeveloped green space’ and fundraising campaign have been launched.

John Clarke, chair of the association said, “We are certainly not opposed to social housing. There is a desperate need for such housing. However, this site offers a unique opportunity to create a special place for all the community of Frome. We believe our proposal offers a strong case to protect what is now the last undeveloped green space in Frome. We are seeing more and more encroachment onto green fields around Frome for the building of homes. 

“We have a duty and responsibility to our community and future generations to fight against the tide of urbanisation of our town to fight against the risk of Frome becoming a concrete and tarmacked jungle. 

“I am convinced the district council will bring forward proposals for housing on the former allotment site and they are currently preparing such a proposal. We have now launched a national petition on www.change.org ‘Save Frome’s last undeveloped green space’. You can also donate to the campaign fund through our website – ​www. broadwayallottments.com​

“Most importantly, we need people to be part of our campaign, part of ensuring the space is protected for ever. Contact us through our website or facebook page ‘Friends of Broadway Allotment and Community Garden Association’. This site is an asset for all the community and should remain so. We have a fight on our hands, a fight we must win. With the support of the community we can!

The association report, “Many individuals and organisations have voiced their support of the group’s aims. Over 500 people have signed a petition, local schools and organisations are all in support, as well as local politicians and Frome Town Council.” 

The leader of the council cllr Richard Ackroyd has said, “At the February meeting of the Council Matters committee, councillors agreed to support the community group with their plans. The council continues to support the group.” 

Helen Sprawson-White, district councillor for Oakfield Ward, has strongly supported the aims and aspirations of the group saying, “I feel that both FTC and BA&CGA have demonstrated to me that they have the expertise to develop this area into a valuable community resource, whilst managing the delicate ecological impact that many others would not have. 

“I do believe that due to the heavy wildlife and ecological presence, it would be difficult to justify using the land for housing and their proposal meets much more readily the council’s objectives for green and sustainable impact for our communities, valuing the importance of community resilience and safeguarding the ecological and biodiversity of such spaces. 

“I would implore my colleagues who sit on the Phoenix Board (who will be making the decision about the future of the site) to fully support the formal adoption of this hugely valuable community space by FTC.”

John Clarke told Frome Times, “All Frome district councillors have been invited to support our proposals and to date we have received letters of support from Adam Boydon, Michael Dunk, Drew Gardner and Helen Kay. Michael Dunk acknowledged the “urgent need for housing,” adding “but there is also a need for open and productive spaces”. Drew Gardner in his letter spoke of retaining the site “and preserve and enhance its diversity for generations to come.”

Amanda Seagar, headteacher of Trinity School, in her letter of support said, “I believe a project such as this could have an enormously positive impact on the cohesion of the local community. At a time when there is increasing concern about fragmented societies, inactive, unfit children and an increasing damaged natural world, this proposal represents a fantastic opportunity to do something really positive about all of these issues,”

Zac Mathergratton who runs Wild Memories a nature group for people living with dementia and their carers, said in their letter of support, “Every week we meet to do a variety of relaxing activities, from wildlife gardening, arts and crafts, learning about nature and whatever else we think will help people living with dementia. It’s been hard to find good spaces to run our sessions in Frome as there is a real lack of suitable accessible green spaces. The former allotments and plans the group have for the site would make it a perfect space for us to meet.”

Ally Nelson secretary and local resident said, “The site has the potential to support Frome residents; a place to reconnect with nature, to learn about wildlife and food growing, an opportunity for people to come together to share and care for the land. A place for all generations to enjoy and treasure.”

Julian Wilkinson treasurer and local resident said, ​”The community allotments will provide a focal point, bringing together people locally and across Frome to enjoy the natural beauty of the space and the opportunity to meet and work with others, fostering real community​.”

John Clarke added,  “Look out for forthcoming events: Spot The Badger in shops during half term, a fun activity for children and Apple Day Saturday 31st October (following Covid-19 restrictions) on the site entrance Oakfield Road 10-2pm. Come and say hello (we are having a stall in Westway on Saturday 24th October) and learn about our plans for the site, as well as pick up entry forms for Spot The Badger.”

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