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Stop SGC campaign pleads to district council to reject ‘opportunistic’ plans for 1,700 houses

CAMPAIGNERS have appealed to Mendip District Council to reject plans for the Selwood Garden Community (SGC), which will bring 1,700 houses to the south of the town. 

In anticipation of the planning application being submitted, which is expected in early summer, the Stop SGC group have questioned how the development fits in with the district council’s five-year housing land supply, highlighting that the council’s own planning officers have not declared a need for housing on this scale. 

The community-led organisation, which aims to prevent overdevelopment in Frome, has also questioned how the plans fit in with the ‘climate emergency’, and Mendip’s plans to reduce carbon emissions in the district. 

They have also described the SGC development as a “huge – and opportunistic – land grab”. 

Speaking at a recent district council cabinet meeting, Stop SGC member Joe Hannam Maggs said, “This development has been proposed several times before. It was thrown out some 30 years ago and, more recently, had to change its name from Selwood Garden Village to Selwood Garden Community. 

“SGC, as it’s known, has never been wanted by the people of Frome and the surrounding area. It has never been wanted by Mendip Council. It does not feature in your Local Plan Part I or Part II. What it really is, is a huge – and opportunistic – land grab. 

“When the application comes, my colleagues and I urge you to look beyond the glossy presentations and ask yourselves and your fellow councillors five key questions: 

• Why should this application even be considered when it is a blatant attempt to profiteer from the delay to Mendip’s Local Plans? 

• How does this fit with Mendip’s five-year housing land supply when your own Planning Officers have not declared a need for housing on this scale in any single area? 

• How does the destruction of 200 acres of mature and productive countryside fit with Mendip – and Somerset’s – declaration of a Climate Emergency? 

• How a mass development on this scale (twice the size of Bruton) – with up to 1,700 houses, potentially 7,500 additional residents, thousands more cars on already-congested roads and no new infrastructure – can simply be bolted on to a historic Mendip town simply because land financiers want it? 

• What kind of legacy will this leave at a time when Mendip is undergoing a huge political transition? 

“Residents are concerned that the Cabinet expects most of the housing allocation for Mendip in the next few years to be very much concentrated in and around Frome. 

“If this is not the case – and we hope it is not as it would seem democratically hard to justify – then we ask the councillors present here today to agree to a public consultation on spatial distribution of new homes in Mendip and to reject SGC out of hand.” 

The campaign group say that with 4,400 parking spaces proposed, it could result in “a few thousand more” cars on the roads around Frome. They say, “This would add to the already terrible congestion along the Butts and Rossiter’s Road for instance.  

The group adds, “LVA, the development agency responsible for SGC is offering nothing to benefit the local area, no investment into Frome’s infrastructure, very few new employment opportunities – save the temporary work to build the homes – and nowhere near an adequate number of social rented homes that we really need.” 

To find out more about the efforts of Stop SGC, and what they describe as “the threat of overdevelopment in and around Frome”, visit the website: stopsgc.org; or request more information by emailing: stopsgc@gmail.com 

 

 

2 Responses to Stop SGC campaign pleads to district council to reject ‘opportunistic’ plans for 1,700 houses

  1. Joe Public

    June 22, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    No comments from FTC, planning authority, county council or developers.. one sided rhetoric. DEFRA data indicates the land is of ‘average’ agri productivity (3/5), not worth protecting with no SSSI in place and slightly better than wasteland. Frome’s property selection is old and under pressure, why are angry nimby’s getting this level of coverage just because the paper is unwilling to do the most basic checking on their claims.

  2. Issac Jacobs

    June 23, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    This is purely not in my backyard. Many who are objecting
    are probably living in houses built in green fields I played in 40 years ago.
    Life goes on and the young people need housing!Until the plans are published this is just scare tactics.
    Who knows what the final plans will be. Certainly not those shouting wolf just to scare the people of Frome (many of whom would like a new home).
    As for social housing I see there is land for sale in Great Elm which Mendip should Look at.

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