FROME residents are being asked to give their thoughts on amended proposals for more than 1,700 new homes at the southern edge of their town.

Outline plans were submitted in August 2021 for the Selwood Garden Community (SGC), which would see green fields between the A361 and the southern edge of Frome transformed into a substantial new community.

A decision on the initial plans – which also promised to deliver new employment sites, a primary school and other facilities – was delayed in April 2022 after National Highways raised concerns about how the development would affect the capacity of the A36 between Frome and Bath.

Revised proposals put forward by Land Value Alliances in September 2022, relocating the homes planned on the southern side of the A361 – proposals which were branded “all sizzle and no steak” by campaigners.

The developer has now put forward further changes aiming to improve the site’s environmental impact – with Somerset Council expected to make a decision on the plans by the end of the year.

Of the 1,700 homes proposed for the site, 30 per cent will be affordable – the equivalent of 510 homes, which will be a mixture of social rented, shared ownership and other low-cost options.

The development will also include a local centre and community hub (which will include shops, restaurants and offices), more than 25,000 sq m of employment space, two residential care homes (providing a combined total of 105 beds), a 420-place primary school, playing fields, allotments, orchards and new pedestrian and cycle routes.

As part of the development, improvements will also be made to the Beckington and White Post roundabouts, widening several lanes and installing new high-friction surfacing  to slow traffic down on the approach to both junctions.

The amended plans make numerous changes to the planned ‘green infrastructure’ within the site – including:

  • Relocating the planned orchards and allotments within the site to prevent bat commuter corridors from being disrupted
  • Planting more woodland to encourage bats further and extending a planned bat corridor to the new primary school
  • Removing an all-weather pitch near the primary school and a grass pitch within the riverside park following feedback from Sports England
  • Potentially reducing the heights of residential buildings near the school
  • Delivering the new nature reserve south of the A361 sooner within the phasing of the development

A spokesman for Grassroots Planning (representing the developer said): “While there has been a small reduction in the quantum of mitigating habitat for horseshoe bats, the area still represents a significant net gain over the existing conditions on the application site, such that the proposed development should be judged as having a beneficial effect on local populations.

“The removal of the proposed all-weather pitch will be replaced with off-site contributions, which will fund improvements to pitch facilities at Frome Rugby Football Club and Frome Town United Football Academy.

“These mitigation measures have been agreed with Sport England and have been calculated to provide the same benefit in respect of pitch provision as the all-weather pitch and grass pitch that has been removed.”

Andrew Edwards, who lives in Frome, said there had been a “blatant disregard” by the applicant of expert advice regarding the archaeological impact of these homes, and questioned whether any of the new community benefits would actually be delivered.

He said: “It is time to name and shame the chartered archaeologists that work for these property developers since nothing else works.

“The professional archaeologists, such as Robert Croft at Somerset Council, are not listened to – neither are the representatives of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society (of which I am a member).

“The references to the primary school, care homes and other infrastructure needs to be removed because the property developers never complete these infrastructure projects in Frome.

“At the site where the Persimmon Homes estate was built above Asda, Frome was supposed to have a primary school and a new bridge; neither of these were ever attempted and neither will be built.”

To have your views on the plans, visit and search for planning reference number 2021/1675/EOUT before March 31

Somerset Council is expected to make a decision on the plans later in the year. Given the scale of the application, it is expected this decision will be taken in public by its planning committee east (which handles major applications within the former Mendip area).