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Frome comes together to save Whatcombe Fields

Locals celebrate at Whatcombe

Locals celebrate at Whatcombe

Town raise over £330,000 to make field a community asset

THE community project to save Frome’s Whatcombe Fields reached its mammoth target last week, meaning that the land is close to being rescued from development. 

Save Our Open Spaces who ran the campaign, announced on Saturday 21st February that they had raised £346,000 to surpass their £330,000 target. This means that, subject to contracts with the current landowners being completed, the fields will be bought and owned by the people of Frome.

The group is celebrating having raised over £146,000 from their community share scheme, on top of the £200,000 donated by an anonymous educational trust.

Campaign organiser Ruth Knagg said, “We’re really thrilled to have raised such a large sum in such a short time. The campaign has gone so much better than expected. You always talk up things like this and hope they will succeed, but honestly we did get nervous at Christmas when we had another £200,000 to raise.

“The educational trust’s help was a huge stroke of luck for us and we’re so happy they’ve helped. I think all successful fundraisers must have a stroke of luck of some sort.

“Once we knew about the donation more people did get involved, which was the opposite of what I had expected!

“We’re hoping to keep raising the amount from the community – we will be allowed up to £200,000 from the trust, but hope we can take less.

“The deal isn’t finalised until the landowner agrees and the money is in the bank, so I continue to retain a knot of anxiety in my stomach!”

The campaign to save the land between Whatcombe Road and Jack’s Lane began in the summer last year, when the greenfield site was put up for auction and sign-posted as having ‘development potential’.

It is hoped that by buying the fields the community can stop potential developers buying and building on the land, and can secure its use as a dog-walking, sledging, and playing field for generations to come.