Somerset East Planning Board refused an application for a 6m x 3m illuminated billboard on Portway, Frome at their meeting on Tuesday 5th September.

In January 2023, Mendip Planning officers using delegated powers passed an application to allow a Digital Billboard on Portway.  This was  despite massive public objections, a large petition, no letters of notification and a Sunday morning demonstration with 70 local residents. The developer, Wildstone Estates, decided to listen to the public opinion and shelved that application.

Wildstones then submitted an alternative application for an illuminated paper and paste board, which also had objections, this was taken to the new Somerset East (old Mendip) planning board and debated in public and duly turned down on grounds of amenity and road safety.

This would have been the second 6m x 3m billboard in Frome - the other is an unlicensed and vandalised billboard in Vicarage Street.

Jerry Cripps, local resident who who set up the No Billboard in Portway Facebook group, said: "It's amazing to see what can be achieved when people get together to get their voice heard. Thank you to everyone who got involved and showed your support, especially Councillor Shane Collins, which was essential to achieving this victory for the people of Frome".

Cllr Shane Collins, Green Councillor for Frome East added: "It is great to see that good sense has, at last, prevailed.  These corporate billboard selling points have no place in rural towns with a four road crossing, a cost of living crisis, right opposite a conservation area and part of the eastern entrance to Frome from the train station. This is a big victory for the people of Portway and Wallbridge who campaigned against this commercial eyesore on their doorstep, as well as the 300-plus people who signed the petition, the vociferous residents and town Councillors who demonstrated on a Sunday morning, and, in particular, local resident Jerry Cripps, who provided the backbone for this successful campaign. This is part of a growing UK movement against using public space for corporate profit."