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Co-op planning approved despite Frome councillor objecting

Mendip District Council has granted planning permission for the revised plans for a Co-op convenience store at Fromefield.

The development wil see the demolition of the former surgery building on the corner of Rodden Road/Bath Road, after the planning officer recommended approval and the Chair and Vice Chair of the Planning Board waived it through, despite local objections.

Frome town councillor and Mendip District Councillor, Adam Boyden is against the proposals and has criticised the planning application process. He said, “I am one of the ward councillors and I asked for the case to be referred to the Planning Board for a public debate and decision by councillors, due to the concerns about road and pedestrian safety, design and building conservation that were raised by local residents and Frome Town Council.

“However, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Planning Board, both Conservatives, and not from Frome, refused my request, and it was granted permission as a result.

“This is frustrating as it is a ward councillor’s job to represent local residents, review all the evidence and try and get the Council to make the right decisions. I saw that there was a disagreement between Mendip’s officers and people in Frome about whether a new modern commercial building of this design was appropriate in a conservation area and next to listed buildings. I also saw that there was a disagreement between Somerset Highways and a local resident expert highways consultant, about road safety and pedestrian safety, which again I wanted to be examined in public. Somerset Highways insisted that a safety assessment was not required now but recommended a planning condition on visibility so the proposals are likely to change anyway, but I wanted this issue to be resolved before permission was granted.

“Mendip’s current system means that distant councillors who do not know a site can over-rule local councillors and local residents concerns. They make these decisions largely in order to save time and money by reducing the numbers of applications going to Planning Board.

“This does not do the reputation of Mendip District Council any favours, and I think they made the wrong decision in this case. I have asked for their reasons, and I’m still waiting.”

For more information visit cllr Boyden’s website