Calibro expertise crucial to unlocking important urban renewal project for Frome, Somerset

Calibro’s senior-led, collaborative approach to transport planning has helped to unlock a derelict urban renewal site for a landmark residential development in the heart of Frome, Somerset.

Several planning applications to redevelop the site were submitted over the past decade but all were unsuccessful. But outline planning permission has finally been granted by Mendip District Council to allow up to 300 homes on the Saxonvale site, thanks in a large part to our accurate and independently audited solutions.

In addition to much needed new homes – more than a fifth of them affordable – the site will deliver more than 4,000m2 (45,000sq ft) of commercial space to accommodate new shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as green space and a public square for local markets and entertainment.

Together with a separate proposal to turn the former Western Warehouse into a significant arts and heritage centre, the developer, Acorn Property Group, expects the scheme to create some 350 local jobs. Development in this part of Frome has been stifled for years by chronic traffic congestion, so when Acorn called on our transport planning expertise, we jumped at the opportunity to support the shared goal of restoring value to this underused but important part of Frome’s town centre.

Luke Cleary, Development Manager at Acorn said:

“Calibro’s support was crucial in getting this historically challenging project over the line. By breaking down complex issues and communicating intricate data in an easy-to-understand way, they were able to provide reassurance to council members.”

Our Managing Director, Stuart Choak, was the senior lead on this particular scheme and spent considerable time with the team to understand the root cause of the congestion problems around the main bottleneck in the town. That would be the starting point to identify a proportionate and deliverable solution, to complement road layout, parking and transport strategy, that took into account the constraints of lying within a conservation area surrounded by historically important buildings.

By taking this time, Calibro’s transport experts were able to identify a relatively simple but targeted upgrade to the junction that hadn’t previously been considered by earlier planning applications. Our solution was evidenced by the outputs of the meticulous modelling undertaken by our transport experts, which was independently audited and approved by the Highway Authority and their Consultants.

Despite traffic conditions proving a bone of contention on previous schemes, and indeed during the consultation to this application, our efforts were rewarded with a 10-1 vote to grant planning permission; there was little reference to transport matters in the debate – a comforting sign that we had done our job well!

“Calibro were always on hand to provide guidance on issues as they arose. Ultimately, their sensitive approach and steadfast commitment allowed us to unlock the development potential of this urban renewal project.”
– Luke Cleary Acorn Property Group