Sunday, 11 March 2012

We're back! A report on Saxonvale Question Time

If you were unable to attend the Frome Question Time on Wednesday evening, we thought that you might like to know what happened at the event – and the surprising development announced.
John Harris spoke on behalf of KFL with his usual clarity and conviction.  He articulated again why we feel that a large supermarket on the Saxonvale site would adversely affect the rest of the town, and that the site should be developed in accordance with the Mendip Planning Brief. 

Also on the panel were representatives from the Civic Society, the Chamber of Commerce, Frome For All and the Town Council.  John admirably held his own and the debate was lively, at times noisy, and always passionate, which seems to indicate just how much residents enjoy our town. One theme which did emerge and on which all seemed to agree, was a desire to increase footfall into the town centre through a sympathetic re-development of Saxonvale and help our independent shops and businesses thrive. How to achieve this sharply divided the panel and audience. 

Then, in the final minutes of the debate there came an announcement which had many of us stunned. In the audience there was a representative from Frontier Estates, a property developer which had signed a contract with Notts Industries at 6pm that evening. We gleaned little about Frontier’s plans from what the representative said.  It is a diverse developer with business including retail, offices, hotels.  Those who check out Frontier’s website will quickly notice that Tesco is one of its featured clients.  It’s rather too early too say whether this developer’s appointment heralds better news for the town.  See Frome People for further information on Frontier and its selected consultants. There's also an interview with Frontier Estates Development Director Damian Wood on Frome TV's website.

KFL will continue to monitor events, updating you whenever possible, and as soon as we have more information on what Frontier Estates have planned will inform you and make sure everyone is aware of any consultation that may occur.

If you would like to make any comments about these and other events, have any ideas about the campaign, or would like to give us feedback about the value, or not, of these newsletters, then please post them below!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Campaign update

Summer's over, but the campaign continues. After a knife-edge poll of supporters and activists, we're now called Keep Frome Local, a name likely to usually come with the strap-line No Big Supermarket! There's been yet another flurry of debate in the local media, and we've called for the two supermarket/Saxonvale-related groups to work together in the interests of the town, as well as asking the newly-formed "Frome For All" to make their position on Mendip District Council's long-standing development brief more clear. It's all here.

An illustrative excerpt:

'Luke Wilde said the general consensus of various public meetings was that hundreds of Frome people support the district council's brief on how it wants the site to look. He said: "The brief document involved massive local input, and a lot of hard work. It has been regularly re-approved by the district and town councils since it was first published.

'It meets most of the requirements that Councillor Nick White and Michael Rhodes seem to want; a good range of shops, and the kind of new town centre development they say local people are in favour of." Mr Wilde said the brief does allow for a supermarket, but one of about 16,000sq ft – not the 40,000sq ft proposed by St James Investments.
'He said: "We believe a bigger supermarket would have a catastrophic effect on traders in the centre of Frome, and bring massive problems with traffic. The brief is supported by Independents for Frome councillors such as deputy mayor Pippa Goldfinger, Peter Macfadyen and Graham Burgess. This position also seems shared by Liberal Democrats district councillors, including Sam Phripp."'
Regular updates will now return.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Article in The Guardian's Weekend magazine

On the power of the Big Four supermarkets, and local campaigns aimed at bringing them down to earth. There's a sizeable chunk about Frome:
"...We want the land in question redeveloped, and we'd be all right with a modest-sized foodstore, but we believe that a huge supermarket that also sold books, CDs, clothes, toys and all the other staples of modern big-box retailing would be very bad news indeed. Among its other wonders, our town has a brilliant record shop and book shop, a fabulous independent toy shop and a lot of locally run cafes. We'd rather it stayed like that.
"...While all this has been going on, I have been introduced to a fizzing culture of protest and a ragged army of people, from anarchists to those partly worried about local house prices. What unites us is simple enough: the conviction that if we're not careful, we will sleepwalk into a future where the Big Four represent the only choice we have."
The whole thing is here.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Vote on our name - the run off

We're now down to two options for the campaign's name. Please vote! You can do it here.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Our campaign needs a name!

We've gone for months without one, but now seems the time. You can vote for some existing suggestions or make your own here.

Friday, 1 July 2011

The Saxonvale Manifesto

It's here, and you can read and download it if you click here. Please post comments below, and with any luck, a lively conversation will ensue: we'll  be back into the thread at regular intervals (if you have any trouble posting, involving the appearance of red dots, fear not: keep pressing 'post comment', and it'll be fine). You can also email us at

Last night's meeting

A great meeting last night. Kevin McCloud led a lively, in-depth discussion of issues surrounding Saxonvale, taking in everything from social housing to the workings of food markets. There was a very high turnout, and the Saxonvale Manifesto (see above) was received very well. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy; you can also download it from this blogsite. A transcript of Kevin's interview/comments on the platform will follow.