Last night’s planning meeting saw a packed Chamber where councillors and members of the planning board led a town wide discussion on Selwood Garden Community.
A lively but very respectful meeting followed with Matthew Kendrick – Director of Grassroots Planning talking about their planning application and addressing some of the comments that had previously be made on social media. This was followed by presentations and statements from groups including Frome Civic Society, Friend of Little Keyford, Frome Area Community Land Trust, Stop SGC, The Chamber of Commerce, CPRE Somerset and Selwood Parish Council.
Councillor Steve Tanner, Chair of the planning board said: “We heard impassioned comments regarding Traffic, Education, Ecology but also the desperate need for social and affordable housing and the desire to avoid piecemeal development within the town. The debate then opened with excellent comments and questions from members of the public. Lots of data, some contradictory, was provided and I was really impressed by the level of detail. This really is local democracy at its best. The planning team will analyse everything and publish the status of some of the key points to all who attended and on our website in due course.”
New member of the Planning Committee councillor Fiona Barrows said: “We are concerned about the number of people on the social housing wait list, and the shortage of social houses to rent in Frome, as well as rising house prices excluding many people who have grown up in this town out of the market. We are also wary of piecemeal development that will not bring anything to the town. However, we share residents’ concerns that SGC is too big for Frome, will overwhelm our infrastructure including roads, and will not deliver on the promises it is making.”
The planning committee will deliberate over the next few weeks and prepare a paper to be discussed and voted on at a Council meeting (date to be confirmed).
A recording of the meeting can be viewed on the Frome Town Council YouTube channel on the Planning playlist.