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Saxonvale campaign hits ITV

SUNDAY’S demonstration in Frome’s Victoria Park was featured on ITV West Country’s 6 o’clock news yesterday.  Scan to 09:20 to see the coverage (this link will work until 6pm on 1st March.

More than 50 people came to Frome’s Victoria Park on Sunday 27 February, to help map out a 40,000 square foot plot.  This is the scale of the supermarket proposed for Frome’s town centre and Duncan Skene, Frome resident and organiser behind the recent Saxonvale public meetings was keen to demonstrate the true size.

The sun shone for the How Big? event and residents linked arms around the edge of the mapped area.  The development planned for the Saxonvale area by St James Investments also includes a further 40,000 square feet of retail space, plus a significant area dedicated for car parking.

John Harris, Guardian journalist, author and member of the Saxonvale campaign group commented:

“Sunday’s event did pretty much what we wanted: pointing out what a huge presence a supermarket of this size would be in the town, and the really harmful effect it would have on Frome’s independent businesses and streetlife.   Until we actually mapped out 40,000 square feet, it felt like an abstract concept, but in the park, it was there for all to see.   It’s also worth bearing in mind that we didn’t map out a surrounding car park, or delivery and service areas, which swell the plans even more.

“A consensus is developing among people who are uneasy about St James’s Investments’ plans for the Saxonvale site.   Most of us aren’t opposed to a supermarket per se: a lot of us would be perfectly happy with a modest-sized store that sold food and the usual lines, but we’re opposed to a vast hypermarket that would also sell everything from toys to CDs, and thereby take much-needed trade away from the town, and suck money out of Frome.  We also dispute the idea that a supermarket of this size would be good news in terms of jobs: supermarkets always provide part-time, low-wage work that adds relatively little to an area’s prospects or prosperity.”

The next public meeting will take place in the Cheese and Grain on Wednesday 23rd March. For updates and more information on the plans for redevelopment site in the centre of Frome visit the blog, saxonvalesupermarket.blogspot.com, join the ‘No more big supermarkets in Frome’ Facebook group, or follow @Saxonvale on Twitter.