Fair Housing for Frome and Frome Area Community Land Trust United!

We are very please to announce that Frome Area Community Land Trust (FACLT) and Fair Housing for Frome (FHfF) have officially united the two organisations, so that everything related to fair and affordable housing in Frome is managed by one organisation. The two boards found that increasingly they shared very similar aims and objectives, were working together on similar issues, and several directors were on both boards.

The united organisation will retain the organisational structure of a Community Land Trust and will still be called Frome Area CLT, but with a new strap line ‘Creating fair housing for Frome’.

The new rules of the united organisation which is a Community Benefit Society will be available to view on the www.fromeareaclt.org website once updated.

‘FACLT exists to create fair housing for Frome. We want a town in which all sections of our community, in all housing tenures, have access to decent homes that meet their needs. We recognise, however, that there is currently a housing crisis in our town. Our vision is that FACLT will lead the way, in partnership with others, in tackling this crisis over the coming years. We aim to make a real contribution to the provision of genuinely affordable homes for local people in housing need. We will continually draw attention to the need for fairer housing in Frome and work with our community to realise all possibilities for creating it, ensuring that those at the sharp end of the housing crisis have their voices heard and opportunities to engage.’

FACLT will continue to identify opportunities and support the creation of community led housing in Frome, and will oversee the Frome Renting Alliance (making a difference for renters, landlords and lettings agents), the Frome Housing Noticeboard (an online forum to make it easier for anyone who is searching for, or advertising a place to rent, lodge or house-sit in Frome), and the developing Legacy Scheme (a legal structure by which residents may bequeath properties to be used for local people in housing need).

Frome Town Council and FACLT will co-host public meeting to explore the Frome Housing Crisis
Tuesday July 18th 7pm – 8.30pm

Frome Town Council and Frome Area Community Land Trust (FACLT) are hosting a meeting on Tuesday 18thJuly at the Town Hall (and online via Zoom) to discuss the current housing issues in Frome and to raise awareness across the board.

Taking place from 7pm – 8:30pm, the session will start with a presentation from FACLT, who will give an overview of the current state of housing in Frome. It will include facts and figures including real-life examples and stories of housing difficulties that are faced in the town.

A panel discussion facilitated by Sophie Docker will follow. Confirmed panellists so far include Ali Barclay (a founder of Fair Housing for Frome and member of FACLT board), Steve Watson (Director of Middlemarch Community Led Housing CIC), Cllr Polly Lamb (previously ran a lettings company in Frome and is a town councillor), and Stephen Fowler (who has extensive experience in landlord and tenant law, led a property management business and provides in house consultancy for agents, housing charities, local authorities and associations).

For more info visit https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/fromes-housing-crisis-share-your-stories

Ahead of the meeting we are gathering real life examples to help assess the current housing needs and the obstacles that those wanting to remain or live in Frome are facing.

As a community, we must have a wider conversation about social and genuinely affordable housing in Frome. There are many voices not being heard. It’s time to address this crisis and find solutions. That’s why we are encouraging those who are experiencing housing difficulties or on the Homefinder register, to share their stories with us.

Please share your stories with us by Monday 10th July….
By filling out the form here: bit.ly/fromehousing
OR you can email info@fromeareaclt.org (we won’t give your name if you’d prefer not).
OR boxes have been distributed around town giving you the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.
Housing Crisis boxes can be found at
Frome Town Hall
Bridge Café
Frome Library
The Good Heart
Fair Frome Bank Building & Pantry (behind the Town Hall)

Your voice matters, and your story can help us advocate for change.
Together, we can work towards a better future for all in our community.

Packsaddle Way Planning Application

FACLT attended the Frome Town Council planning committee meeting on the 29th June to share our position on the Packsaddle Way application. See below for details.

The council objected unanimously, and a full response will be available on their website next week and to view the full discussion, head to their YouTube channel to watch the meeting www.youtube.com/@FromeCouncil/streams
FACLT Response to Planning Application – Packsaddle Way – Ref. 2023/0864/FUL
The Frome Area Community Land Trust (FACLT) is a Community Benefit Society, with a board of directors, all volunteers, elected by our members. Our aim is to help tackle the housing crisis in our town by providing, and enabling the provision of, genuinely affordable homes for local people in housing need.
While we consider that the provision of new genuinely affordable homes is urgently needed in Frome, we are opposed to the planning application for Packsaddle Way in its current form for the following reasons:
1. The application is exclusively for market housing – 74 homes in total. We understand that the developer, LiveWest, is promising to apply to Homes England in order to make 22 of these homes ‘affordable’. However, there is no guarantee that LiveWest would be successful in its grant application, and they are not proposing to come back with a revised application if their bid to HE is unsuccessful. This means that there is a danger this site could end up with 100% market housing. In our view such a development would be totally unacceptable and contrary to the needs of our town.
2. Even if 22 of the homes – 30% of the total – were to be let or sold on an ‘affordable’ basis, we would consider this a totally inadequate response to housing need in our town. At present over 600 households are recognised by Homefinder Somerset as being in need of affordable housing in Frome, and this number is likely to be a fraction of those actually in housing need. We understand that LiveWest has already received a large grant allocation from Homes England, as one of HE’s strategic partners. Consideration should be given to delivering exclusively affordable homes on this site. In addition, LiveWest and Somerset Council should ensure that all are accessible to people with a local connection and that the homes remain affordable in perpetuity.
3. The housing mix of the proposed development consists of 70% 3- and 4-bedroom homes. These would be unaffordable to those in serious housing need locally, the majority of whom require 1- and 2- bedroom homes, and would only exacerbate Frome’s existing housing crisis. We would also point out that only one of the proposed 4-bed properties is for Respite Care, and would provide a home for only two young people at any one time – a token response to the desperate shortage of such accommodation locally.
4. While we recognise that some market housing often has to be provided in some developments in order to cross-subsidise affordable housing, it is by no means necessary that every development should be dominated by profitable 3- and 4- bedroom market homes, particularly when the landowner is a local authority and the developer a not for profit Registered Social Landlord. If LiveWest are proposing to marginalise the needs of local people for genuinely affordable homes, it may in part reflect the cost of the land, which is valued at the discretion of Somerset Council. There are many examples around the country of housing developments prioritising affordable housing, because the local authorities in question have been prepared to dispose of council-owned land at a lower-than-market cost.
We would also point out that LiveWest, a Registered Provider operating from Cornwall to Gloucestershire, would be able to use income from the sale of these unnecessary 3- and 4-bed homes to subsidise affordable housing throughout the South-West.
5. FACLT considers that some housing development in Frome will need to take place on greenfield sites, because adequate brownfield sites no longer exist to address the housing needs in our community. However, such development should be planned and carried out with sensitivity towards existing local residents and the wider Frome community, and the need for a green, nature-friendly environment – particularly where the development is on prime land that has been publicly funded. The current application proposes a high density development targeting larger units which have higher build cost but greater capital return.
The greatest need is for 2- and 1- bed affordable homes. The application fails to evidence consideration for creating community benefit reflective of a designated and valued green space. It has been made following minimal consultation with the local and wider Frome communities, despite a ‘strong recommendation’ from the Planning Officer for a ‘robust’ consultation and engagement process.
6. Our views on this application reflect the primary purpose and vision of the Frome Area Community Land Trust: to create, for community benefit, affordable housing balanced with protection of our green space and ecological habitats. This application, in its current form, does not sufficiently embrace this aspiration and vision. We strongly propose the need for a more considerate and sympathetic approach to this site, which has the potential to provide both affordable homes and protect our natural environment.
7. We strongly recommend that the Mendip East planning committee consider deferring the decision on Live West’s application to allow them the opportunity to carefully review and address the concerns we and others have raised in our comments. This would enable a more comprehensive assessment of the proposal in light of the Frome community’s concerns.

Thank you for reading this newsletter – It’s important for us to have regular contact with our members and the wider Frome community. We’d like to hear what you think of our ideas and what we’re trying to do. We would certainly like to have you on board as we work towards creating genuinely affordable housing for local people in the town. You can keep up with the latest from FACLT on Facebook, Twitter and on our website too. You can also write to us at info@fromeareaclt.org 

Find us on Twitter @FromeareaCLT
Find us on Facebook @fromeareacommunitylandtrust 
Take a look at our website  https://fromeareaclt.org