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Chamber responds to out of town restaurant approval

Feb 7, 2017

We are disappointed that approval has been given by Mendip District Council (MDC) for an edge of the bypass ‘family restaurant’ outside Frome between Sainsbury’s and the Mason’s Arms.

Frome Town Council, Selwood Parish Council and Frome Civic Society all objected to this development outside the established development boundary and contrary to the Local Plan.

The Chamber objected to this because, although the application proposes some small industrial units, an existing planning consent for industrial units has not been implemented because ‘there is no demand’. We doubt they will be built – they only appeared after two previous applications for the ‘family restaurant’ had been rejected.

We asked MDC’s Planning Officers to require that they were built at the same time as the ‘family restaurant’ but that hasn’t been done – we will see if they are ever built.

We don’t know whether to be amazed or pleased that the planning officer, having accepted our arguments that the applicant’s ‘requirements’ were excessive and simply designed to rule out any town centre in favour of the ‘drive past’ they wanted to build, that she then wrote: “on its own [MDC’s] evidence there are no available sequentially preferable sites in Frome. There are no currently available sites in Saxonvale, especially given a comprehensive scheme is required for the regeneration of the whole site and no such application has been successful to date.”

The fragmentation of the Saxonvale is the consequence of MDC having failed as planning authority to lead the development of a comprehensive scheme and has permitted the piecemeal development of the site contrary to its own Development Brief. It would be nice if they will insist on comprehensive development for the remains of the site.