At the Town Council’s recent Town Matters Committee, councillors considered the latest revisions to the plans for Saxonvale. These revisions were welcomed, particularly the more pedestrian friendly layout and improved landscaping around the proposed main thoroughfare and land adjacent to Fishers Brook. The Council also welcomes Acorn Property Group’s commitment to working with the Town Council to investigate the potential for an innovative Microgrid and Heat Network that if adopted would result in new properties being powered and heated by sustainable sources.
However, the amount of employment space proposed at 45,000 sq. ft. falls short of what the town needs in terms of employment space and the outline planning application remains silent about the percentage of affordable housing to be delivered and so the Town Council continues to object.
Cllr Paul Horton, lead councillor on Saxonvale said, ‘As a former employment site, with a prominent town centre location, we would like to see Saxonvale developed with a greater emphasis on employment space rather than dominated by large swathes of purely residential space. We accept that some housing here is necessary and welcomed but workspace and residential space should be combined in a truly mixed-use development which is diverse and dynamic as seen in the existing town centre and surrounding historical streets. The site should, at the very least, be providing enough work opportunities for the numbers of people who will be living there rather than creating yet more commuters who will have to travel elsewhere to work! In addition, where housing is provided, the development should provide 30% affordable housing, as required by Mendip’s Local Plan policy.
Whilst developers and landowners, Acorn and Mendip District Council have consulted widely on their plans for this site, we are frustrated that they have been resistant to alternative visions. I don’t think anyone in the town wants to see this site remain undeveloped for any longer than it already has. However, if the current plans are approved without further improvements, a huge opportunity will be missed to create a development that truly meets the needs of our community.’
Read the full text of the Town Council’s formal response to the outline planning application.
More information can be found on the Mendip District Council planning pages.