The construction of more than 200 new homes on Frome’s southern edge could begin in a matter of months after revised plans were approved by planning officers.

David Wilson Homes put forward plans in early-2020 to build 249 homes across two sites either side of the B3092 The Mount in the Little Keyford area of the town.

These plans were approved by Mendip District Council’s planning board in February 2022, with councillors approving Wain Homes’ plans for a further 70 homes near Little Keyford Lane in July the same year.

The developer submitted amended proposals in April 2023 which reduced the number of homes in the western portion of what has been dubbed the ‘Francis Fields’ development.

Somerset Council (which replaced the district council in April 2023) has now signed off on the amended proposals, meaning work could soon get under way on site.

The land west of The Mount was originally granted approval for 131 homes – with the land on the opposite side of the road providing a further 118 properties.

The revised proposals originally reduced this to 104, but following negotiations with planning officers this was revised upwards to 108 – bringing the total number of properties to 226.

Of these homes, 30 per cent will be affordable across both sites – the equivalent of 68 properties, meeting the council’s target for 30 per cent affordable housing on any new development of ten homes or more within the former Mendip area.

Rather than linking the Francis Fields sites directly via a roundabout, the two access roads from the sites will be staggered, with traffic calming measures being put in place to “create an entrance gateway for Frome” and encourage motorists to slow down.

The development will include walking and cycling links to Little Keyford Lane and into the town centre, linking up with route 24 on the National Cycle Network.

Planned site of 104 homes on the B3092 The Mount in Frome.
(Daniel Mumby)

The revised plans were approved through the delegated powers of the council’s planning officers, rather than a public decision by its planning committee east (which handles major applications in the former Mendip area).

Planning officer Ed Winter said: “The layout, appearance, landscaping and scale of the proposed development is considered to respond positively to policy requirements.

“In the context of the housing supply shortfall that currently exists in the eastern area of Somerset… any residual harms are considered to be outweighed by the benefits.”

The southern edge of Frome has seen significant interest from developers in recent years, with numerous sites being allocated for housing within the Mendip Local Plan Part II.

To the west of the Francis Fields sites, Curo is currently constructing the Keyford Meadows development of 198 homes either side of Sandys Hill Lane – with a further application expected shortly for the commercial element of the site.

Gleeson Strategic Land Ltd attempted to secure permission for a further 150 homes to the west of Marston Lane – but this was shot down in flames by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2023 following a public inquiry.

A decision is currently pending on plans for the new Selwood Garden Community (SGC) – comprising around 1,700 new homes along with employments, a school and other facilities – which is earmarked for the land between the town’s southern edge and the busy A361.

LDRS, Daniel Mumby