Views on Frontier's vision for Saxonvale
FRONTIER Estates' plan for the development of Saxonvale emphasises its pedestrian-friendly aspects as a bonus for the expansion of Frome's town centre.
However, from the point of view of the traffic generated by this scheme, the proposed expansion is a cul-de-sac and will be at the expense of the established network of major roads through the town. The extra traffic will increase the load on Christchurch Street East and the A362, travelling east or west.
For those wishing to go by car to Bath and the north, the route through the town centre via Bath Street is actually preferable to the alternative via Portway and Rodden Road, which has four more sets of traffic lights and is 0.2 miles longer.
This strengthens the case for creating a major road through Saxonvale and extending this over a new river bridge that links the proposed development directly with North Parade.
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The benefits of pedestrian-friendly development would then spread to the old town centre by providing an alternative route for through traffic.
The Saxonvale development would then bear the cost of the extra traffic that it will generate and add to the attraction of Frome more generally.
Gentle Street, Frome
THE Keep Frome Local (KFL) meeting at the Cheese and Grain, about the new Saxonvale proposal by Frontier Estates, was well supported.
The details of the proposal were outlined and discussed with the overwhelming majority of people rejecting the new proposal. Reasons for the rejection included the size of the planned supermarket, lack of infrastructure development to service the site adequately and lack of links to the current town centre.
Although described by Frontier as a medium-sized supermarket in their literature, the proposal was shown to fit the size of the Frome Football Club site, or the same floor space as Asda is now (prior to its expansion). In no way can this be described as a "medium" scale development.
Although Frontier Estates were invited to the meeting, they declined this invitation from KFL. They also failed to provide information boards which they had originally agreed to supply for the meeting and were notably slow in their responses to the group.
The Frontier Estates proposal is not in keeping with the brief which has been developed and adopted by the district council and the four separate landowners. The elements of the brief include a seamless extension to Frome town centre, which complements existing accommodation and facilities; a mixed-use, high-density scheme, including housing, retail accommodation, employment and open spaces; continuous, mixed-used frontages at ground floor along focal streets and new urban squares; ensure all streets are faced by the fronts of buildings and all backs of properties are contained within the inside of the block.
In the Frontier proposal the site starts with the backs of the non-food retail units facing towards the Marks & Spencer site. The riverside development is a car park and then a large supermarket dominates the site which would become the tunnel vision destination for shoppers visiting the site.
Frontier is consulting about its proposals and then aiming to submit an outline planning application to the district council which the Keep Frome Local group have described as a "watershed" moment.
All that time that people have put into the consultations about the area, which has helped to produce a decent outline in the shape of the Saxonvale planning brief, may come to very little if a plan like this is adopted. However there are no other proposals on the table and the decision that is taken, may be seen to be politically expedient to "do something".
It is important to the town that this area is redeveloped but it is equally important how it is going to be developed.
Locks Hill, Frome
HAVING twice studied the drawing of the new urban sprawl that is to be called Saxonvale, created by those artisans of grey concrete Frontier Estates – the archetype grand design of blockwork Lego.
I did notice someone had put some trees in the drawings, maybe as an illusion to fool the viewer into thinking shaded green walkways. In reality it was just three trees all seen from different angles.
Of course with the Carry On team at Mendip, their record on putting the chain saw to anything in the town that showed one green leaf, and their skills at planting a tree in the car park and letting it die, I hold no hope for anything but grey lifeless concrete in Saxonvale, and the rolling tumbleweed of plastic bags.
Of course Frontier Estates, who come from Milton Keynes, a city built around a Californian urban grid system for the personal motor car, now seem to have mislaid, along with the two-dimensional thinking Mendip District Council, the plan for the extra traffic.
As I commented in a letter to this paper almost a year ago, concerning the access into Saxonvale, I would like to reiterate once again, especially at school times, welcome to Mad Max 2 and Hellfire Roundabout.
Meadow Road, Frome
THE Saxonvale development – it's utterly uninspiring, rather like a 1950s bomb site rebuild.
The company is presenting to the town a really second-rate design, a tired layout, mere lip service to "squares". How many of the present trees will be left and what will new ones look like or grow into?
Very dull plans for housing. What about a few squares and crescents for them? Once built the town is stuck with this for 50 years at least.
Not another huge supermarket. I don't want Marks & Spencer to be forced out, they really are an asset to Frome.
Reject this plan, it's just not good enough.
High Street, Rode