Bath City

Frome green space sold by county council for potential housing development Bath City News

A green space at the north end of Frome could be turned into a housing estate following the County Council’s decision to sell the land.

The land to the north of Packsaddle Way provides a green buffer zone between the existing houses and the surrounding small villages, with several public rights of way crossing it. Somerset County Council has publicly announced its intention to sell the land, with funds generated being reinvested to help provide frontline services for years to come.

Housing association LiveWest is set to enter into an option agreement to develop the site as part of its wider scheme to provide low-cost housing in Somerset. The site, comprising approximately 8.3 acres (3.35 hectares), was originally purchased by the council in 1973 with the intention that a new school be built there to serve nearby housing.

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Victoria Goscomb, head of governance and performance for the council, said the site was no longer needed to provide a new school for this area of ​​Frome, and its layout therefore offered the best value for ratepayers.

She said: “We are committed to reducing its real estate and land portfolio to the extent possible to reduce costs and realize capital inflows, where no other operational uses are identified.

“The asset is not required to support statutory operations (in this case it is no longer required as a school site). It is therefore considered that the most strategically advantageous use of this land is to dispose of it to generate a capital inflow, which can in turn be reinvested to achieve other priorities of the county council.”

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A small section of the site will be retained by the council to “address potential future strategic social care needs” – although the location of this section has yet to be confirmed. The council declined to release how much it expects to generate from the sale, citing commercial sensitivity and the lack of planning permission currently in place for the site.

Ms Goscomb said: “The exact price at which the site will be sold is currently uncertain. This is due to the fact that the developer has not yet obtained planning permission for the site. If permission is granted, a process of Formal valuation will be carried out to determine the market value, with the municipality and the purchaser carrying out their own valuation of the site, after which a final sum will be negotiated between the parties to the agreement.

“We are currently in negotiations with a housing provider who is looking to enter into an option agreement with us giving them the right to purchase the land if they are able to obtain planning permission in return for a down payment. .”

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LiveWest has pledged to deliver over 600 low-cost homes in rural Somerset by the end of 2024, and has already identified a number of sites in or near the Mendip district that it hopes to do progress rapidly.

These include the Charity Farm site in Ashcott near Street (where 25 homes are planned), Old Wells Road in Glastonbury (18 homes) and the Morrish site in Butleigh (ten properties). Speaking in July 2021, Development Director Gareth Jones said: “Housing associations have a key role to play in connecting local communities and providing homes people love to live in.

“Over the past year, we have delivered over 219 homes in rural areas of the South West and we are stepping up our deliveries. We must challenge the sector to increase the supply of affordable rural housing and contribute positively to ensuring a prosperous countryside.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-16 00:00:00

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