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Decision on 325 Frome houses delayed

By local democracy reporter Daniel Mumby; additional reporting by Frome Times reporter, Ben Fenlon

A DECISION on plans for more than 300 new houses in Frome had to be pushed back after the relevant planning officer was unable to attend a public meeting. 

Three separate applications for a combined total of 325 houses have been put forward for three sites either side of the B3092 The Mount at the town’s southern edge. 

The plans have attracted criticism from local campaigners, who described them as providing houses that are ‘low-cost’, ‘high-profit’, and ‘environmentally-damaging’, and not the kind of sustainable housing Frome needs and deserves. 

Frome Town Council also agreed, objecting to the plans, demanding that the town deserves better. 

The town council raised concerns about vehicular access to the site, the lack of pavements and cycle routes, the development’s impact on the environment and local traffic, and called for more consideration to be made to make the site more “sustainable” and “carbon neutral”. 

Mendip District Council’s planning board was expected to make a decision on all three applications when it met in Shepton Mallet on 14th July. But the board has had to delay a decision for at least two weeks after the planning officer involved was unable to attend the meeting. 

Councillor Damon Hooton, who chairs the planning board, broke the news at the start of the meeting. He said, “The member of staff who was dealing with these applications, I’m afraid has had to go home, for reasons which I am not prepared to share with you online. They are sufficient enough to warrant her leaving us at the moment – and my best wishes to her. Therefore these plans will not be debated this evening.” 

Each planning application has a designated planning officer, who typically gives a presentation on a given application at public meetings and fields questions from councillors before any democratic decision is taken. 

The three parcels of land lie either side of The Mount, to the east of Little Keyford Lane. 

Under the proposals, Wainhomes will deliver 70 houses with access from Little Keyford Lane, with green space and an attenuation pond being provided at the south-eastern corner of the site. 

This development’s spine road will connect up to the David Wilson Homes site on the western side of The Mount, providing a route between the two main roads in and out of Frome for each housing estate. 

The site on the western site of The Mount will provide 131 houses, with a further attenuation pond and green space at its southern edge. 

The final parcel of land, on the eastern side of The Mount, will provide 124 houses, with the access road being staggered to the south of the western development to prevent congestion or crashes. 

The developers said delivering a new roundabout on the B3092 to connect these latter two sites would result in greater damage to the natural environment than a staggered junction.

A decision will now be made at a special planning board meeting on Monday 26th July at 6pm. 

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