NEW HYPERMARKET FOR FROME ON YOUR DOORSTEP? We think that a giant new supermarket is being planned for Saxon Vale in Frome  (the site between Lidl and M & S, bounded by the River Frome. It could be a Tesco Extra. The plan that was agreed with Mendip District Council for Saxon Vale has fallen through. St James Investments (who work with Tesco) have stepped into the vacuum. 550 car parking spaces are possible (twice the size of the Market Yard car park). Garsdale will be the main access and exit so huge traffic increase is predicted through Wallbridge, Portway and Christchuch Street. 24 hour lighting and deliveries will affect other residential areas. A Tesco Extra is the size of store that many blame for Shepton Mallet’s High St. decline. Supermarkets tend to have a negative impact on independent local shops. Frome has only recently recovered from having many boarded up shops. If you are concerned about this prospect and the many other issues associated with a giant supermarket arriving in the heart of our town you can act early rather than waiting for a fully formed planning application. Find out more and let your voice be heard. Come to the first public meeting ~ The Cheese & Grain, Wednesday 1st December at 7.30pm



Before moving to the beautiful town of Frome, I lived in Northampton and popped into Tesco one morning for a few basics, nothing special, just some essentials. I was stunned by the cost and will never grace their isles again! Not if they move in next door! I live here now on a low income and eat wonderfully well. I don't drive, I walk everywhere but it's all within a stone's throw and I get to chat with some very nice people along the way. There is much progress being made in this lovely town but it will all be much more effective going our own individual way. Tesco is bog standard and can be found everywhere and anywhere. Frome is not. We should be (and people are) going out of our way to give it even more of the X Factor.

more information on the topic

Another Side

Report from discussion groups with marginalised people Vision for Frome report INTRODUCTION Discussion groups and interviews were carried out with disabled people, older people, people with learning difficulties, recent immigrants and ethnic minorities. There was an interview with a gypsy who lives nearby, is a member of several gypsy representative bodies, and is well-known among gypsies in Frome. There was remarkable similarity between the comments of all these participants and remarkable contrast with the broad thrust of the draft Vision for Frome report. The over-riding conclusion from this work is that there is a massive divide in Frome between those who took part in these groups and those who make their opinions readily known – or as one participant put it ‘those with the gift of the gab’, that he thought had come from outside of Frome, and came from more privileged backgrounds. The draft report states that, ‘Residents think Frome is a special place.  We like its character, its quirkiness, its old buildings, its independent shops, its diversity, its tolerance, its music and art, its green spaces and its friendly people.’  Meanwhile a focus group of disabled people was unanimous that the best thing that could happen to Frome would be to ‘bulldoze it’ and start again. This opinion was reiterated many times by different people in this group.  Another participant was equally dismissive; ‘a future for Frome? I don't want a future for Frome'.  Or as a 17-year-old put it, ‘no-one would choose to live here. It’s just rubbish’. A youth worker commented on a level of desperation among young people in Frome that he has not witnessed in nearby towns. He described the situation as ‘heartbreaking’. There was a pervasive view that Frome is set up for non-disabled, adult, white people from privileged backgrounds. A member of staff of a take-away said ‘This town is only good for people with money’. An older person had similar sentiments when she said, of the new clothes shops in town, ‘they’re too dear for the likes of us’.  Other participants put it more succinctly – ‘Frome is shit’ said one person; ‘Frome is crap’ said a person in a different group. A younger participant said, ‘what needs to change in Frome, where do you start?’…. ‘Everyone I know wants to leave.' A take-away worker echoed this experience, 'Lots of people I know moved away from Frome' The draft report describes Frome as a ‘diverse and tolerant place’. Polish residents and Turkish people spoke of the racism in Frome, ‘the trouble with Frome is they don’t like foreigners’. Another participant bore this out ‘I don’t like foreigners’, when pressed as to what it was he didn’t like, ‘I don’t like their accents’.

Tesco - Poster child of consumerist society

Am I alone in feeling a sense of deep unease at reading of Tesco’s plan for a superstore in the centre of Frome and your paper’s uncritical welcome of it? I’ll seek to express my unease. Tesco is the poster child of the consumerist society. We may not wish to admit it, but we know that we cannot go on consuming the earth resources at the rate which Tesco would like us to, and their business model requires us to. We urgently need to evolve a new way of living, a low carbon low impact society, a society that values quality over quantity. The seeds of which are sprouting in Frome: in the local economy of individual shops and entrepreneurs, the varied initiatives being taken by Sustainable Frome and others, and the sense of place, local ownership and citizen action. We should be justly proud of this, we are a beacon of hope in what even a cursory glance shows to be a pretty bleak planetary future. So I believe Frome is at a crossroads. What future do we want for ourselves and our children? A town centre dominated by a single retailer. A soul-less edifice that does not encourage people to linger in the town. Providing jobs at the minimum wage but distributing profits it to distant city shareholders? Providing carbon intensive products from far afield, rather than produce from our local farmers? Or do we want a local community comprised of colourful, creative, entrepreneurs? That recycles its profits within its local community and buys from local sources. That breathes life into the beautiful streets of our old town and engenders a sense of place and authenticity? That is the choice we are now presented with. I know there are some who believe that Tesco always gets their way. To them I tell the story of the people of the Scottish island of Harris, and their successful campaign against a superquarry planned by the cement company Lafarge. It may well be the case that our local politicians and planning officials fear Tesco’s legal machine and feel they cannot put the councils resources at risk however, it is time to remind them who they are appointed to represent! And to Mr Cameron we should be saying ‘Your big idea – the big society - depends on capable and committed citizens feeling a sense of ownership and taking initiative in their communities. Landing an out-sized Tesco in our community without our say so, disempowers us and undermines your Big Society. Mr Cameron our commitment does not come for free, we want a say in the future of our town’. Luke Wilde Director TwentyFifty Limited

New contact for information

A flyer outlining the topic was put through the letterbox this morning. In addition to writing letters etc you can go to or e-mail for more information.

create letter-writing groups

The suggestion of using the planning process is genuine, legally correct and tried and tested. The reason GroTesco often wins is that people don't think they have a say and we all give up before we've started. Of course the process isn't responsive to public opinion alone unless that public opinion is evidenced by public action. It is the planning committee councillors (that's the people who we all vote for at both District and County level)of the relevant authority who actually make the decision,  depending on who's jurisdicton the ultimate decision rests with. The district planning committee, even if they aren'y making the final decision, do have their opinion taken into account(supposedly) along with the officers of the relevant department within council who make recommendations to the councillors. If we all throw our hands up and say there's nothing we can do, we're not using our democratic power/our vote and are giving up our responsibility in the process.   It all makes a difference, even the humble petition, if well placed and well publicised. I suggest one thing we can constructively do : we urgently create letter-writing groups to spend some evenings writing letters to all councillors/officers concerned with copies sent to MP/press/national campaign groups etc etc etc. They will not ignore public opinion if they get hundreds of well-aimed letters , especially if they are part of a well-planned, energetic campaign that uses the public's rights under the planning process. It all depend on how much Frome DOESN'T want  another blooming supermarket, especially a GroTesco. I believe that Castle Cary fended off a supermarket application a few years ago, but don't remember when/how/who.Does anyone else know?Would be useful to know. If anyone sets up a group, let me know and i'll come and write a letter or ten. Ba


I Suggest that we all re-name this blight on communities, GROTESCO  or GROTESQUO  and start spreading that around the planet ............lets get that more acurate name into all the press as headlines. That might help to take the shiney smiles off their pesky wallets!! The only way they can be stopped is for everyone to mount a campaign against them via the planning process at every level, district/parish and county councillors. Please pass this on... Ba

Coherent Arguments

I agree that it is not desirable to have another large foodstore in Frome - although it has to be admitted that they are better in the centre than on the outskirts. But if we want to stop this, we must be realistic about the planning process. The previous posting makes a common error. The planning process is very legalistic, and is NOT responsive to public opinion. Lobbying, protests, campaigns or huge lists of names, all have no effect on it. A planning application can only be turned down by the local planning authority if it is contrary to the published policy of that authority. Otherwise the applicant will simply appeal against the refusal. And the appeals process is even less responsive to public opinion, if possible. So if we want to stop this we need coherent arguments, as well as a better proposal for the site, which must be realistically costed. This proposal is not obviously unviable, like the previous one - which was an obvious joke from the start - and I am not at all complacent about it. This time it is serious. I don't think we can assume that a Tesco store is unlikely to see the light of day in the centre of Frome. So we need to be pro-active about stopping it. We need to produce something better. If anyone wants to contact me about this, please do so. I am very interested in putting something together. Roger Roger Barnes Architects Ltd The Reading Rooms Witham Friary Frome Somerset BA11 5HF T 01749 850185 E

Tesco's - NO, NO, No!

I think this is terrible news and I've spoken to quite a few people who agree.  However, it was pointed out to me by a single mum friend (3 kids), on low income and no car that to have a major supermarket in the centre of town would be of great benefit to her as she walks everywhere and I think this would apply to some of the much older generation as well.  As she said Lidl is fairly low quality in general and M&S are too expensive for her.  And there is that point of view, which has it's own validity, to consider and help resolve.  Perhaps the other supermarkets can help with this one if they don't want this competition on their doorstep. However, my own personal opinion is that this would be the death toll for Frome Town centre which is already struggling, we need to fill the empty units first and keep Frome's uniqueness alive.  Please don't let Frome become like every other deserted and tatty town centre.

please send your letters

One hint - if writing to the Somerset Standard ( include full name and postal address or they won't publish. Keep to two or three main points. Keep it short, passionate and don't use difficult words. Don't put it off - do it today. Copy deadline Tuesday midday.

Tesco's - Yuk!

I agree, terrible news, I've written a stinker to the Somerset Standard on the subject, it would ruin Frome's unique atmosphere. I'll try and make the meeting - when is it?

Tescos - Yes Please!

I welcome Tescos. I'm fed up with the self centered self opinionated nimbys of this town who protest against any developement.