Flood system wait goes on
A flood warning system that should have been installed once a Frome supermarket opened seven years ago is still no nearer completion.
When Asda applied for planning permission for a store on the Wallbridge site, Mendip District Council fought to obtain a legal requirement for a flood alleviation scheme.
In a subsequent High Court battle, judges overruled the council's request, but Asda instead agreed a flood defence warning system would be installed.
Mendip planning officer Les Kimberley told the Somerset Standard in December 2005: "The only outstanding issue is that of the electronic flood warning signs.
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"They haven't been installed yet as Somerset County Council Highways Department and Asda are awaiting a legal agreement."
Since then the supermarket giant and the two councils have been trying to negotiate a legal agreement on the installation – but seven years later it is still only at the discussion stage.
The Standard approached Asda for a comment at the end of November and asked when the company thought the system would be implemented after another flood occurred in Wallbridge. A short statement was received last week.
Oliver Jones, senior property communications manager for Asda, said: "We've been working closely with the local authority to try to resolve this issue. There have certainly been some delays but hopefully things will be progressing soon.
"While this shouldn't affect our current application, it's important to get this sorted and we continue to do our best to make progress."
The supermarket hopes to extend its store by 20,000 sq ft and submitted a planning application in March 2012.
The application had been delayed from going in front of the planning board as Mendip commissioned an independent analyst to study the retail assessment provided by Asda and, in particular, the likely impact of the store's extension on the vitality and viability of the town centre.
According to the district council, the report has been completed and is likely to be released in the next couple of weeks.
A Mendip spokeswoman said: "In granting planning permission for the original Asda store it was required that a flood warning and monitoring system be put in place.
"This warning and monitoring system would consist of warning signs on the roads leading to the supermarket.
"We are working with Asda to get these signs installed as soon as possible.
When approached, a Somerset spokesman said the council was committed to installing the system, despite the long delay.
He said: "We are involved in ongoing negotiations with Asda about the installation of a flood warning system on the A362 Warminster Road, in Frome. We remain committed to having this in place as soon as possible."