Saturday, 26 March 2011

What we suggest people should include in their response to Mendip's consultation on their Core Strategy

At the meeting at the Cheese And Grain on Wednesday 23rd, Duncan Skene highlighted the 'Your Mendip' magazine that most of us have received and the form inside asking for responses for the so-called Core Strategy of the Local Development Framework. The deadline for submissions is Thursday March 31st; if you haven't got a form, they should be available in Frome library. We're urging people to press the council to:

·      Specify the maximum size of the foodstore at Saxonvale that is compatible with the current Saxonvale Development Brief and to delete the imprecise wording, “small/medium”. 15,000 square feet should be specified as an absolute maximum.

·      Determine what proportion of the 70,000sq ft non-food retail space relates to Saxonvale and what to the re-developed Westway Precinct. This is not clear in the wording of the Core Strategy.  The Saxonvale Development Brief allocation for non-food retail (40,000 sq ft) should be regarded as an absolute maximum. Over-burdening Saxonvale with non-food retail space would run a real risk of establishing competing town centres and this should be avoided at all costs.

·      Make good the omission of any reference in the Core Strategy to the redevelopment of the Kingsway Precinct, which is appreciably more ‘tired’ than the Westway Precinct and which provides the major town centre link to the Saxonvale site. This appears to be a significant oversight. Any development at Saxonvale should be contingent on improving links to the existing town centre.

·      Be consistent. MDC permitted the expansion of out of town retail provision at Wessex Fields as recently as 2009 (yet to be built). If the main thrust of retail policy henceforth is the re-vitalisation the town centre, the Core Strategy needs to state that further retail expansion elsewhere will not be permitted.

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