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Acorn’s Saxonvale plan forced back to planning board – plan ‘did not consider Mendip District Council’s own policies’

ON 15th September, Mendip District Council’s (MDC) Planning Board will consider the Acorn scheme for Saxonvale again. This scheme was last approved on 28th January 2021, but consent has not yet been granted. 

This Planning Board return follows a Judicial Review Pre-Action protocol letter sent by Frome business owner Damon Moore.

Damon Moore, Director of Mayday Saxonvale said, “The Officer’s Report in January failed to consider, and misrepresented, key policies from MDC’s Local Plan for Frome. As a result of our legal challenge, these must now be considered by the Planning Board.

“With regards to MDC’s key employment policies (CP3, CP6, and DP20) the Acorn scheme does not meet these, so their plan is clearly in breach. In addition, the Acorn scheme is in breach of MDC’s affordable housing policy. This plan fundamentally fails to deliver the town centre employment space that Frome desperately needs.”

These policy breaches were outlined to MDC in a Pre-Action protocol letter dated August 6th. In response, MDC is taking Acorn’s Saxonvale plan back to the Planning Board to reconsider the previous approval on Wednesday, September 15th at 6 pm.

This planning meeting coincides with the scheduled submission of Mayday Saxonvale’s full outline planning on 17th September 2021, which is currently concluding its pre-application phase.

Paul Oster, Director of Mayday Saxonvale said, “We are asking members of the Planning Board to consider that a recommendation for a policy non-compliant scheme is premature, given a policy compliant alternative is available.

“The community-led Mayday Saxonvale scheme delivers on all of MDC’s employment policies, as confirmed by our MDC Planning Officer during our Pre-App planning application, which is about to conclude. We are then due to submit our full outline application on September 17th, which will provide MDC and Frome with a viable democratic alternative for the Saxonvale site.

“We are appealing to members of the Planning Board to give the Mayday Saxonvale scheme a fair hearing. We do not believe that such a critical development should be imposed on Frome, if there is a realistic, viable alternative that safeguards the social and economic priorities of our town.”

The Pre-Action Protocol letter was issued after all previous letters from Mayday Saxonvale to Ros Wyke, calling MDC to consider and compare Mayday’s policy compliant alternative plan were ignored, said the Mayday Saxonvale group. These letters included an Open Letter which was signed by 1,200 Frome residents.

For more information on the Mayday Saxonvale Plan visit: maydaysaxonvale.

Replying to the developments, Mendip District Council told Frome Times, “Mendip District Council can confirm there is a Planning Board on 15th September. For further information and an agenda, visit: www. mendip. Planning-Board-Wednesday-15-September-2021.”

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