Please read through our FAQS or feel free to contact us via the Contact Page.
Who are Acorn?
Acorn is an independent development and regeneration group of companies that has for over 20 years successfully created a range of residential led refurbishment and new build schemes.
With offices in London, Cornwall, Exeter, Bristol and Cardiff, Acorn specialise in bespoke developments to meet the local community’s needs. Acorn works flexibly with Landowners, Introducers, local authorities, public bodies, Housing Associations and Charities.
Following Acorn’s ‘Different by Design’ ethos, their experienced imaginative management and construction and sales teams have led to Acorn being one of the country’s most successful property developers and partners.
Established in 1995, Acorn has a strong focus on the provision of interesting, complementary and sustainable architecture that adds quality and a sense of purpose to its immediate environment. Their in-house team includes architects, interior designers, town planners, surveyors and construction managers who can be trusted to make the most of every opportunity. Together with their brand and sales and marketing teams, specialise in creating and delivering the best scheme for every individual site and community.
With a countrywide portfolio including urban and rural locations, brownfield and Greenfield sites, new build or conversions including listed buildings and numerous residential and commercial mixed-use sites. www.acornpropertygroup.org
Why did Mendip choose Acorn as the developer? / Did Mendip District Council consider / speak to other developers?
The Council were keen to ensure that Saxonvale, a derelict and underused town centre site is developed as soon as possible. The Council reviewed all options in relation to a prospective commercial development purchaser and conducted due diligence on a number of developers. Acorn were appointed as the chosen development purchaser as it was felt they had the qualities needed to deliver a comprehensive and high quality complex multi-use development in Frome.
Mendip exchanged on a Sales and Overage Agreement with Acorn Property Group.
What is a Sale and Overage Agreement (SOA)?
A sale and overage agreement is an agreement between the Council and the buyer under which:
- The Council agrees to sell its land to the Buyer subject to the satisfaction of a number of pre-conditions;
- When the land is sold by the Council it is developed by the Buyer in accordance with planning permission; and
- When the units comprised in the development are sold by the Buyer the Council may receive additional monies if the sale proceeds exceed an agreed threshold.
How much did it cost Mendip District Council to buy the site?
The Council were advised by Cushman & Wakefield, an expert firm of property advisers, in the acquisition of the site. Cushman & Wakefield advised that the terms and conditions were in line with the market, and reflected the opportunity that the site presents.
Will the Council make profits from Saxonvale?
The profit issue relates to the Sales and Overage Agreement, which has an overage provision. This ensures that the Council will be entitled to a share of the sale proceeds received by Acorn if they exceed the development value used in calculating the sale price to Acorn. In the event of any such overage the fund will go back into the public purse.
What is the Vision?
The shared vision for Saxonvale is: A generational opportunity to deliver an exemplar development on the banks of the River Frome. High quality design taking the historic grain of Frome as its starting point, and delivering a vibrant, mixed use neighborhood, with flexible commercial/ employment space, high quality public realm, and homes for all ages.
What are the aims?
The Council and Acorn would like to see a high quality scheme that Frome can be proud of and adds to the vitality of the Town.
Are you in contact with Frome Town Council and Somerset County Council?
Yes, there is ongoing engagement Frome Town Council and Somerset County Council. The Frome Town Council land is included within the development proposals.
What is going to be built on the site?
The intent is to deliver a high quality commercial and urban living development, which will provide mixed uses, and flexible accommodation to help satisfy current housing demand.
When will the building work commence?
The building work will commence once detailed planning consent for the site has been obtained with a targeted commencement date of 2021. Enabling works, to include demolition, is targeted to start in Summer / Autumn 2020.
How many houses are planned?
The exact number of homes will be determined with the detailed planning application. The Outline Application seeks to provide circa 300 new homes, of which will include accommodation for retirement and care.
How much affordable housing will there be?
The Council and Acorn would like to see affordable housing provided and this will be addressed as part of the planning process.
Will this affect Merchants Barton car park?
The application seeks to re-provide the Merchants Barton car park within the scheme.
Is the site secure?
We have secured the site and have a contractor who monitors the site 24/7.
What green space will we have?
The proposals seek to retain and enhance the riverside park including a children’s play area, in addition to new landscaped public realm and new cycling and walking routes.
What about congestion in Frome?
This has been taken account and engagement will take place with Somerset County Council Highways as part of the planning process.
Have the road layouts and footpaths been agreed?
No, this will be considered in consultation with Somerset County Council Highways as part of the planning process.
How will the development link with the town centre to contribute to its vitality?
The proposals seeks to link seamlessly with the town centre, with easy permeability through the site.
Will you use compulsory purchase?
There are no plans to use compulsory purchase.
What progress has been made so far?
The Council purchased the land in August 2018 and subsequently exchanged a conditional contract on the additional land with FTC in March 2019. Extensive consultation has been undertaken with a variety of key stakeholders including the Chamber of Commerce, Civic Society, Ward Members, Somerset County Council Highways and key landowners.
An outline application has been submitted and is currently being consulted on, with a target planning committee date of Spring 2020. Amendments to the masterplan were last submitted on 22/01/2020 and it will be subject to 21 days of consultation where local authority consultees and members of the public will be able to comment on the updated information.
What changes have been made to the resubmitted masterplan?
Amendments were submitted in response to consultee comments and the comments and advice received from the South West Design Review Panel (SWDRP) following their consideration of the application proposals in August and December 2019.
The Public Realm Parameter Plan has been amended to show retention of the full width of the planted strip adjacent to Fishers Brook after concerns were raised by residents for trees on the boundary adjacent to Fisher’s Brook to be retained. Parking has also been removed along Garsdale Avenue to improve quality of street scene.
What was fed into the resubmission – and what did Acorn agree to?
A bolder expression of the vision underpinned by the principle of delivering the creation of a sustainable new urban neighbourhood, centred on wellbeing for people, the community and the natural environment – Acorn will produced a sustainable neighbourhood strategy as part of a holistic approach that focuses on sustainability throughout the various stages of delivering the project. A contribution to delivery of the junction improvements to Gore Hedge and the Norway Maple in the riverside corridor is to be retained.
What are the next steps?
An outline application has been submitted and is currently being consulted on with a target planning committee date of Spring 2020. A detailed design will then be submitted (reserved matters application) post outline approval, late 2020. Following approval, enabling works will commence with a target start on site for Summer / Autumn 2020.
When and where will I be able to view the application?
The application documents can be found on the Mendip District Council Planning website.
Am I able to comment on the Application?
Comments can be made via the Mendip District Council Planning website.
Who are Nash Partnership?
Nash Partnership is the firm of architects employed by Acorn Property Group. They have developed the masterplan and planning application for the site.
I am interested in a commercial space, how do I register my interest?
As part of the redevelopment, 45,000sqft of commercial space is proposed. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Cushman and Wakefield, our commercial advisors, or leave a comment on this website.
Cushman and Wakefield contact details are; firstname.lastname@example.org