After over 80 years of public use, one of Frome’s most beautiful riverside paths has been abruptly closed off (6 May) by its new owner, an out-of town property developer.
The much-loved path between Wallbridge and Adderwell runs along an eight metre riverside corridor specified by Mendip Council. Protecting the path and ensuring access is enshrined in Frome Town Council’s official Neighbourhood Plan. It forms a crucial part of the River Trail in the Frome River Strategy. A formal application for the path to be designated a Right of Way was supported by over 700 people including many local organisations and submitted to Somerset County Council in 2018.
The new owner, Barney Sutton, has bought two adjoining plots of land that lie alongside the River Frome and include a pristine water meadow. He has submitted a planning application to develop one of the plots to provide four homes and some studios/offices. These will replace the glassworks and joinery that previously occupied the site, situated just off The Retreat.
The riverside path is not directly affected by this development, and it’s not necessary to close the path for the development to proceed if it secures planning permission.
Meanwhile Mr Sutton has put up a new barrier further along the path and informed Friends of the River Frome that “no one should be entering the site and if so will be illegally doing so.” It is understood that he wants exclusive access to the river along the entire stretch of land and to construct a private cricket pitch on the water meadow.
How you can help