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World-leading eco plans in Frome rejected in favour of affordable housing

A DEVELOPER has slammed local planners for concentrating on affordable housing alone, after his own plans were rejected to build ecological housing in Frome, which he says would have been to the highest specification in the world.  

Humayun Khan hoped to build ten four-storey high, large terraced homes, with a further three commercial units on the Eastgate Buildings site, Christchurch Street East. However,  Mendip District Council rejected the proposal, citing a need for more affordable housing as per a new local plan.

Humayun Khan said that the homes would have been built to a world-leading ecological standard with all the homes planned generating up to three times more energy than they consume. This would mean instead of energy bills each of the homeowners would have had an income from generating green energy of about £1,500 per year.

Further to that, he explained that it was proposed to have a car pool of electric cars on-site, which cost nothing to drive, by using energy generated on site. Each home would have a battery assisted bicycle with a design system to grow herbs, salads and vegetables in homes, gardens and a community greenhouse.

It took the developers approximately three years to obtain outline planning permission for their site and until recently the proposal would have passed planning policy. Previously, up to 14 homes could be built without affordable housing but under a new local plan that has been  reduced to six or less homes, with 30% affordable housing sold at a discount to a Housing Association. According to developers this makes the unique site unviable.

Humayun Khan said, “I was attracted to Frome because I have designed the highest specification ecological housing in the world and I thought that Frome would be the ideal place in the UK for it.

“Our proposal is to build to a new world eco standard – carbon negative lifestyle. No developer has ever built to such a specification. This would give Frome international status for being at the forefront of ecology and achieving what no government has achieved regarding reducing carbon emissions. All homes would be built beyond the highest UK code of sustainability and   standards.

“There will be co-housing principles – a community area where homeowners can cook and eat together if they want. Also free to pick – vegetables and fruit trees will be planted in every nook and cranny on site. All homes would be self-build, which would enable people to have homes that are worth at least 25% more than they cost, possibly more. This will mean that all the homeowners together would make more profit than myself as the developer!

“This is a community development, incorporating co-housing principles. We would like to build large, multi-generational family homes, where families could live together, with their own separate entrance areas – including grandparents, parents, children and grown up children. This creates an environment where families can support each other – especially the elderly.

“It is my opinion the new planning policy is designed to turn Frome into a dumping ground for the Mendip area to house people on benefits, limiting the size of homes and limiting the type of homes. Ecology is irrelevant, even though there are a lot of people in Frome who would like to live in an ecological house. Mine set a new world standard – they cost less to build than the average low cost, low building specification Housing Association homes.

“This policy will make it impossible to have multi-generational homes – the planner did not care about this as it is not in their new policy. I believe their thinking is, if they have not thought it up then they will oppose it.

“Our planning application to turn outline planning permission into detail planning permission will take 21 weeks to go to a planning committee. This is probably the longest time in the UK that I have ever heard of. On top of that, I have been warned to expect the planners to do delaying tactics to make it even longer. The normal time elsewhere is eight weeks.

“My development proposal has been so popular in Frome that I had people wanting to buy a home before I had exchanged contracts to purchase the land”

For more information on the company wishing to build the world leading eco-homes in Frome visit