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ASDA’s ‘bland box extension’ comes under fire

GROUPS across Frome are adding their views to the proposed ASDA extension, with one group calling the extension a “bland box stuck on the side of the existing store.”

ASDA’s proposed extension to its current store has sparked controversy throughout the town, with interested groups calling for a meeting with Mendip District Council’s planning team as soon as possible.

Frome Civic Society were to present their concerns to ASDA at a public meeting that was due to take place on Thursday 31st of May. However, the meeting was cancelled because a representative from ASDA was ill.
Frome Chamber of Commerce claim they are unable to form an opinion as the plans “lack consultation” and they say, “Design? What design? It is difficult to imagine a less imaginative design.”

Longer public consultation needed.
The Civic Society say that given the scope of the application, it should have gone to public consultation for six weeks, not three weeks, and treated as a major application. John Peverley, from Frome Civic Society, said, “I understand ASDA is trying to organise another public meeting where we will all hopefully be able to have our say, “

Our primary concerns are that the design of the of the extension has no merit. It is a bland box stuck on the side of the existing store. It eliminates an attractive colonnade with an oversailing roof. The extension will be very visible at one of the main entrances to the town and needs to be much better designed. “

At 3.5sq ft  sales area per person, Frome already has the highest level of supermarket net floor space than anywhere else in the country, and does not require anymore.  “There will be a significant loss of trees and landscaping which the proposals do not adequately replace.  “The expansion in trading will generate the need for more parking which the proposed loss of parking has not addressed.” Paperwork is unreliable and inaccurate. Frome’s Chamber of Commerce has submitted a response to the ASDA extension.

The chamber says that they are unable to form any view of the application because of “a lack of consultation.” Furthermore, the Chamber say that “the quality of paperwork surrounding the application is not reliable and contains factual inaccuracies and is not coherent.” The Chamber’s report continues, “Design? What design? It is difficult to imagine a less imaginative design. “This building sits at one of the gateways and is the first significant building encountered by visitors.”

If planning is granted for the ASDA extension, the Chamber advise that measures are taken to mitigate ASDA’s effect on the town centre. These include, “A notice board or visual display unit at the entrance/exit of the store showing the management to be with Frome Town Council and the provision to be agreed with Frome Town Council. “An Undertaking from ASDA not to put up banners on the roadside and at the roundabout. “An agreement by ASDA to fund and provide land for the erection of Tourist Information signs.” ASDA has yet to organise another public meeting following the cancellation of the first meeting on Thursday 31st of May.