Mayday Saxonvale

by Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore

Mayday Saxonvale

by Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore
Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore
Case Owner
The Silk Mill has 22 studios & an event space for exhibitions, weddings, markets & concerts. In 2015, we won an AIA best reuse of a former industrial building award.
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Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore
Case Owner
The Silk Mill has 22 studios & an event space for exhibitions, weddings, markets & concerts. In 2015, we won an AIA best reuse of a former industrial building award.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: May 5, 2021


We are inviting you and the community of Frome to discuss our alternative plan for Saxonvale:

Friday 14th May, 2-7 pm

Saturday 15th May, 10-4 pm

Silk Mill, Merchants Barton, Frome BA11 1PT

Meet the archi…

Read more

Mayday Saxonvale is a group of Frome residents & creative businesses based at the Silk Mill.  We want to see the best possible outcome from the development of Saxonvale; a huge brownfield site in the centre of our lovely medieval market town.

The site belongs to Mendip District Council.  Our first CrowdJustice campaign produced evidence that the contract made with developers Acorn Properties was drawn up in breach of public procurement legislation. There was no transparent tendering & the appointment process has restricted the chance for truly innovative proposals to meet the needs & challenges of the 21st century.  

Now we are raising funds to oppose the revised contract with Acorn and the poor design, both of which put monetary profit before social profit. Our campaign is about:
- Responsive development to meet the needs of communities
- Improper use of public funds
- Transparency in planning appointments & decisions

This site is significant for future of Frome. It is the last remaining employment & commercial base including historic buildings that Acorn's application seeks to demolish. 

Plans on the table at the moment are dismal.  If enacted they could jeopardise the activities of the many businesses currently operating within the red line of the development at Silk Mill Studios & Gallery; a major restoration of one of Frome's many listed buildings & providing studios for 22 artists & makers as well as a key town centre event space.

Mayday Saxonvale needs to raise £30,000 but we have an initial target of £2,000 that is already in the fund from our earlier campaign.

Here are two of the many supportive comments from last year's appeal;

Thank you so much for reading this far.  Please pledge to help make a difference to the future of this very special town. Then tell others who you think might do the same.  

Recent contributions

  • Joel pledged £50
    Match Joel's pledge of £50
    I feel compelled to contribute in what ever small way I can. I cant stand silent and then complain if ACORNS plan comes to fruition if I didn't stand against in any way shape or form. Our town deserves better.
  • Emily pledged £25
    Match Emily's pledge of £25
    I have written strenuous objections to this plan to Mendip District Council. There is a planning meeting on 26th August when the Saxonvale case will be discussed. Meetings are supposed to be open to the public (not sure with Covid), so I intend to attend. Just to see how it is handled....
  • Someone pledged £10
    Match their pledge of £10
    I object to this plan. Frome needs a well thought out mixed-use plan that accommodates local artists and local businesses. The current plan does not meet these criteria.

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Update 6

Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore

May 5, 2021


We are inviting you and the community of Frome to discuss our alternative plan for Saxonvale:

Friday 14th May, 2-7 pm

Saturday 15th May, 10-4 pm

Silk Mill, Merchants Barton, Frome BA11 1PT

Meet the architects at our Public Consultation 14th & 15th May at the Silk Mill in Frome:

  • Meet the architects, Andrew Kirby Architects Ltd.
  • Learn about our Alternative Plan for Saxonvale
  • Share your views on the future of Frome Town Centre

Your feedback will help shape Mayday Saxonvale's Final Masterplan, which is scheduled for submission for outline planning approval in June 2021.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to have your say on the development of Saxonvale, which will define the future of our town forever.


See you soon!

The Mayday Team

Update 5

Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore

Jan. 26, 2021

Planning Board Meeting Alert

Acorn’s controversial Saxonvale application is due to be considered by Planning Board this Thursday at 6pm.

If you would like to watch this click here.

We say:

The Mayday Saxonvale Campaign is responding to this creatively barren scheme which - once again - is premature. If the planning committee vote to approve, Frome faces the imposition of a plan over-riding the objections of our statutory consultees; Frome Town Council, Frome Civic Society and Frome Chamber of Commerce. Fundamental problems expressed by members of the public have not been addressed, yet we see this plan already recommended by the Planning Officer. 

Why? What is a planning consent worth if it has not respected local democratic procedures? With not a single letter of support, more than 230 members of the public have written eloquent objections, so Mayday asks, by what right has this recommendation been given? Quoting from these contributions: - “Please listen to the residents of Frome and do not pass this proposal’” and “We need to see more ambition for our town, from our District Council and indeed would like to see you honour your own plans for the redevelopment of this site”.

If Acorn have failed to do their job, they should be asked to submit their proposal again. The development of Saxonvale should not be politically imposed like HS2, but done with the consent and approval of Frome’s legitimate representatives.  Public trust is not a luxury - it is vital for the delivery of public policy. Mayday asks all of our District Councillors to think very seriously before taking this step. 

This week, Mayday Saxonvale’s alternative plan begins its journey to live application status. In comparison with the Acorn proposal, our model will provide twice the amount of affordable housing, a substantial amount of live-work accommodation supporting people to set up their own businesses in an expanded, mixed commercial zone. It features sensitive and imaginative design throughout, demonstrating a proper duty of care and introducing green infrastructure solutions. An essential new site for St John’s School will be added alongside greatly increased community space. 

Despite all of the political arm-twisting, Frome can have the Saxonvale development our town has asked for, waited so long for and worked so hard to achieve. Frome doesn’t need Acorn - we can do this ourselves and we are not going to be held back.

Update 4

Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore

Nov. 18, 2020

Open Bundles submitted to First-Tier Tribunal

Dear Mayday Supporter,

Open Bundles were submitted last week in our case for the full disclosure of Mendip District Council’s contract with Acorn, (bundles are when all the case papers are collected, over 160 pages altogether!). There is a 14 day period in which additional documentation can be added after which the case will be heard. Because the First-Tier Tribunal is a court of law, evidence is much more central than with the Information Commissioner’s Office who found for the District Council in our appeal earlier this year, (March). As well as evidence relating to a breach of procurement regulations in Acorn’s appointment, a case is growing for mis-use of public funds spent on the Saxonvale project. Such cases have a £2m threshold and on current figures, it appears that the District Council have easily passed this threshold. Nonetheless cases like these are difficult to win. If we do not succeed with the First-Tier Tribunal appeal, we will continue to the Middle Tier believing local democracy cannot be suppressed indefinitely. New evidence, (such as the mis-use of public funds) is appearing all the time and we are delighted that much more willingness is being shown by our local press to carry the story, (if you want to read more please look at our Press Pages). Hopefully, more investigative journalism will lead to Frome's District Councillors deciding enough is enough!

Update 3

Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore

Sept. 7, 2020

Our District Councillors Need to Start Speaking Out

Dear Supporter,

Our case for full transparency of the developer's agreement between Mendip District Council and Acorn is moving towards a decision later this month by the First-Tier Tribunal. We have uncovered new evidence thanks to our solicitors Pre-Action Protocol submission and the CrowdJustice campaign so there is a good chance of successfully disclosing the contract and seeing for the first time, exactly what financial arrangements have been agreed. Our MP is helping but there are still many gaps in the evidence file and a lot we don't know. Our local democratic system has been completely impounded in Frome because of Acorn's application and the public and Town Councillors misled. It is time for all 11 of our elected District Councillors to start speaking out.

Update 2

Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore

July 3, 2020

GRC Accept Mayday Evidence

In our case for full disclosure of the developer's contract, the General Regulatory Chamber First-tier Tribunal have accepted evidence that Acorn's contract with Mendip District Council was unlawful. We now call upon the District Council to annul this contract and put the site out to tender in accordance with proper procurement procedure. Meanwhile Acorn, supported by the District Council are pushing ahead with their application in breach of Frome's local development plan for Saxonvale with no commitment that the Core Target for affordable housing will be met. Our appeal will be heard by the GRC at the end of August.

Update 1

Silk Mill - Damon & Kate Moore

May 18, 2020

New initiative pending...

Since we began our legal action, the District Council have barred any direct contact with the Silk Mill, yet another demonstration of the lack of democratic accountability and transparency over Acorn's scheme for Saxonvale. The Acorn contract has been confirmed by our solicitors to be a Public Works Contract and not the straightforward sale agreement that the District Council have always claimed. Meanwhile, the Council have re-written this document as a Deed of Variation to help avoid Mayday's procurement challenge. Full disclosure of the contract for our legal team is ongoing and currently being appealed to the First-Tier Tribunal. It could go all the way to the High Court. 

There are clear indications that Mendip District Council and Acorn's plan is to impose this very unpopular and unsympathetic scheme onto our wonderfully creative and special town.  We would like to assure all of our campaign supporters that during the Covid-19 lockdown we have been working on a new initiative to be announced shortly.

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