Stay connected

Acorn’s Saxonvale planning consent quashed by High Court judge

A HIGH court judge has quashed Acorn Property Group’s planning permission for the Saxonvale site in Frome town centre.

The rival Mayday Saxonvale group, who are bidding to have their alternative plans for the derelict site accepted, praised the decision. But Acorn Property Group say they are “disappointed” and will now re-submit their plans.

Mendip District Council previously approved Acorn Property Group’s outline planning application for Saxonvale, but a judicial review challenge was launched and at the High Court, the judge quashed the planning consent. It was ruled that Mendip District Council had not followed its own planning policies when approving Acorn’s plans, by allowing fewer affordable homes and lower than acceptable employment space.

Mendip District Council purchased the 12-acre Saxonvale site in 2018 and has worked with Acorn Property Group to deliver their vision. However, an alternative plan for the site, put forward by Mayday Saxonvale, a not-for-profit group based in Frome, has garnered strong support in the town.

Local business owner and Mayday Saxonvale director, Damon Moore, who lodged the challenge said, “We are incredibly happy with the outcome of this judicial review. The decision by the judge acknowledges the critical importance of Saxonvale in providing a genuine town centre extension.

“Judge Jay ruled that Acorn’s scheme for Saxonvale failed to provide the requirement of the council’s own local plan for much-needed employment space to be located on the Saxonvale site. Not only has our economic future as a town been protected, but I feel we are on the cusp of a momentous step forward, with Frome leading the way towards an alternative, community-led development model.

“We are now one step closer to realising the right plan for Saxonvale which meets Frome’s housing, social, environmental, cultural and employment priorities.  The only developer with planning consent for Saxonvale is Mayday Saxonvale. With the judicial review behind us, we look forward to sitting down with Somerset Council to progress our alternative plan in due course.”

Amy Proctor, strategic partnerships manager at Acorn Property Group said, “We are disappointed with the outcome of the judicial review, which ultimately centred on a procedural technicality. We have spent the last five years working hard to deliver a scheme that will completely transform this redundant site, with much-needed new homes, including 72 affordable homes for Frome, and over 45,000 sqft of office/retail and community space.

“For over two decades it has lain vacant, having faced ongoing challenges at the planning stage. The technical challenges for this site cannot be underestimated and events like this will only cause further delay. Like so many of the residents of Frome, we are all keen for development to commence.

“We remain positive and pleased to be in a contractual relationship with Somerset Council, who continue to be very supportive. We now look forward to bringing the scheme back through the planning system, and we will continue to work with stakeholders. Our scheme is sustainable and of benefit to the community of Frome.”

14 Responses to Acorn’s Saxonvale planning consent quashed by High Court judge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *