Untouched meadow was surely worth saving
By Somerset Standard | Thursday, October 03, 2013, 03:00
AFTER aiding Elaine Ewens in attempting to save the beautiful meadow around Rodden Road from being sold I was bitterly disappointed to find out Mendip District Council couldn't see fit to help our appeal.
For the council to decide that the land is not "of community value" when the fact that it is used and enjoyed by many Frome residents, schools, etc, is beyond me. How did they make this decision?
Unlike many other Frome "green spaces" it is one of the few that is virtually untouched by progress. It is never covered with slurry, fertilised, etc, and therefore includes many plants and features that you won't find in many other areas. I know as I regularly walk my dog there.
While I understand the need for progress surely some things in life are worth preserving.
Park Hill Drive, Frome
HI, my name is Jaya and I am writing to you to let you know how upset I am that the Rodden Lake Stream Meadows have been sold.
Me, my dog and my friends love to play together in the long grass and I really hope that we can still go over there because there are lots of different people who use the fields and I think it would be a shame if that changed.
It made me sad when my mum told me some people in the council decided not to make the fields a community asset – I really think that all the people that love those fields so much would have been able to raise the money to buy them.
I really hope that the new land owner will let it stay as a pretty meadow with all the flowers and he will let the people of Frome use it still.
Jaya, aged 11
Pupil at Selwood Academy
JOINT statement from Mendip District Councillors Richard Pinnock and Adam Boyden on the application to Mendip to designate land at Styles Hill/Rodden Lake Stream meadows as an Asset of Community Value:
We are members of Mendip District Council's Corporate Asset Management Group which held an emergency meeting recently to decide on the application by Frome Town Council (with a group of local residents led by Elaine Ewens) to register 29.5 acres of meadow land between Styles Hill and New Road/Rodden Road as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011.
We were told at the meeting that, whatever the outcome, legal issues surrounding the sale meant that the auction to sell the land would still go ahead the following evening, and we see that this has now happened. If the application had been approved, this would have delayed any further sale in the future, to allow the local community and town council to put together a bid to buy the land.
The evidence presented in the application was considered in detail. We both supported the application. We both considered that enough evidence had been put forward to demonstrate that there was sufficient recreational use by local people that added to the community's social well-being, which meant that the site should be registered as an Asset of Community Value. Sadly we were not able to convince the other three councillors who voted to refuse.
We know that this decision is disappointing to the group of local residents campaigning to conserve the meadows, and Frome Town Council who applied. However, we think that if the local community can come back with further evidence that shows the full extent of how local people use the land as an open space, and a plan can be drafted to show how the site can be managed as a community asset in future, then a new application to register the site could be successful in future.
As we also strongly believe in open government, we were pleased to hear recently that Mendip will soon be considering making meetings of the CAMG open to the public. We would support this and hope that the council makes this change, to make Mendip's decisions more transparent and accountable to local people.
Lib Dem, Frome College ward, Shadow Portfolio Holder for Governance, Assets and Public Spaces
Lib Dem, Frome Keyford ward