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Fair Homes Project begins community consultation on social housing plans for Frome

Members of the Fair Homes Project have been consulting and engaging with local residents in Frome about their plans for urgently-needed social housing provision. 

The project reports, “A number of potential plots have been identified across several sites in the popular Somerset town, and the project team are ensuring residents will be part of the conversation and help to shape the scheme.

“Some 500 households are currently seeking a social home in Frome. The Fair Homes Project – a partnership between Frome Area Community Land Trust (FACLT), Selwood Housing Group (a not-for-profit housing association), and Mendip District Council – aims to build up to 30 new high-quality, fair rent, family homes, for those in desperate housing need.

“A website was launched last week (week commencing 24th May) attracting more than 100 comments about the plans. The Fair Homes Project website provides full details and location maps, plus there’s an area where people can leave their feedback. Those seeking social housing in Frome are particularly encouraged to visit the website, where they will find details on how to register their interest online.

“Whilst the online consultation ends on June 11th, 2021, this deadline is for the initial, first responses only. The consultation will continue, with a public event pencilled in for July – details to follow.”

Chair of FACLT, Roger Saunders said, “These are very early days. This is about initial, community engagement, prior to any formal consultation or planning submissions.

“The online consultation ends on June 11th, but then we are planning in-person consultations with residents covering each of the small sites. There will be many opportunities for residents to have their say.

“With our partners at Mendip and Selwood, we want to deliver high-quality social rented homes to this community. To do that, we recognise we must be totally transparent about our potential plans. We must bring the community with us and we want them to help shape social housing in Frome.”

Paul Walsh, group development director at Selwood Housing said, “We’ve already received lots of feedback on our website with many constructive suggestions submitted. We thank people for taking the time to get in touch and will respond to everyone who contacts us after this first stage of the consultation closes.

“We will continue to engage with the community online until June 11th – but that’s not the end of it. The consultation continues, and as the pandemic restrictions are removed, we are planning public meetings this summer in Frome about these sites. 

“There’s been positivity about this project. People in Frome are naturally protective of their green spaces, but there is compromise and compassion there too. Many are thanking us for our attempts to tackle the urgent housing problem.”

Leader of Mendip District Council, cllr Ros Wyke said, “News of the end of a ban on evictions yesterday (May 31st), first introduced in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and extended several times, will put further pressure on the housing crisis.

“Projects like this are needed more than ever to help those local families seeking quality houses with fair rents. Everyone deserves the right to a place they can call home.”

Subject to further consultation and planning consent, it’s hoped the small-scale social housing plans proposed in the Fair Homes Project can be delivered within the next two years.

Visit the website – register your interest, and have your say: selwoodhousing. com/fairhomesproject

Don’t forget to complete the Housing Needs Survey!

The project team continues, “Please take the time to complete the independent survey as it will help inform future planning and give a realistic view of what housing difficulties residents of Frome are currently having. 

“It will collect vital information about those in housing need, including those who have not signed up to Homefinder Somerset.”

The Housing Needs Survey – as found in your Frome Times – will be available online for 3 weeks from June 7th. 

You’ll find the link on the Fair Homes Project website: selwoodhousing.com/fairhomesproject

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