Introduction Freshford Mill in 2007

This page has been added in order to update the website in relation to developments since its publication. The page provides an opportunity for those companies or individuals who have purchased or acquired an interest in the estate known as Freshford Mill to make their comments known.  Discussion can now take place on the Freshford Village Forum

Updates will be made as required and will be posted in chronological order

Freshford Mill Website Update: 10th March 2007

The former Peradins works site has been bought by a property development company based in London.  A director of the  company has suggested that although there are no errors on the Freshford Mill website there are several inaccuracies.  I have asked the company to supply a list of the inaccuracies so that I may consider whether there is a need to make alterations to the website. In the interim period the hosting company XYZWeb Limited suspended the website. (the website was reinstated when Ypres Rose Developments (YRD) submitted the following observations on the website which are published below.

The company (YRD) is also responding positively to observations made on this website about the poor security of the property in February and concern for the welfare of the resident colony of rare bats.  The company have assured me that the bats will be given all the protection that they deserve under the law.

Whether if this development is completed the residents will be under a restrictive covenant to only install dark skies lighting and that such lighting is only on in the early evening and off  during the night is another matter that the company maybe considering.

At the time of writing the company is not considering any changes to the proposal that was approved by BANES planning. They are not concerned with Dark Skies? Am I being selfish for wanting to see the stars at night? Am I the only one? (some reassurance from YRD have been made see below Website Update 30th April 2007)

Freshford Mill Website Update: 9th April 2007

The material below has been provided by YPres Rose Developments Ltd (YRD) in response to a request for that companies comments on its objections to views expressed on this website. Prior to this request the website was suspended under threat of litigation by the company.

My comments are added below underneath the response from the  company each response is headed with the text string "FM Response"

Important Note

Most of this website was published prior to YPres Rose Developments acquiring the Freshford Mill/Peradins property.  Those comments many of which are based on the Freshford Parish Council's submission are not meant to imply that YPres Rose Developments is anything other than a respectable property development company who are proud of their companies past achievements..  My comments written as advice to would be purchasers of dwellings at Freshford Mill, as yes not built, are made in good faith.

As far as I am aware, after extensive enquires I can find no advice on the Internet on whether such advice to would be purchasers of dwellings is anything other than fair comment.  If it can be shown that this type of advice is not fair comment then it will have to be removed.

It is also important to note that the date stamps on the bottom of each page do not accurately reflect the published date as just a minor edit to a  webpage (eg., correcting a typo) generates a page date stamp update. And accidentally I republished the whole website earlier today (9th April 2007) because an earlier setting was not altered. The web was actually created (published) on the 26th November 2005

 To facilitate comment the extracts referred to have been numbered.


Comments relating to the website Freshford Mill  20/3/2007 Posted 9th April 2007 There have been additions to remarks made here by Freshford Mill website (FM) YPres Rose Developments (YRD) extracts from the web include highlighting in yellow. The form of the discussion is uniform. Any alterations  including updated comment will be dated.

1. Extract

In fact, the existence of the Freshford Mill site, is itself, a threat to increased flooding elsewhere as the whole site has already been raised above the surrounding land. It would be good sense to remove not only the factory buildings but also the man made plateau on which the buildings exist. There are also problems in Freshford when there is a cold spell due to snow and ice.

YRD Response

The highlighted part of this statement in misleading. The buildings are existing, many of which date back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The consented scheme reduces the volume of buildings and provide flood mitigation measures.

FM Response

The property including its present and planned buildings  must prevent flood water from occupying the land. There should be no buildings in a flood plain and the ground should not be covered with concrete or other impervious surface. I can't understand how flood waters can be mitigated? Will water be pumped away, or do you mean the "lake"?

2. Extract

As an Area of High Ecological Value with especially rare bats that may not survive the noise and turmoil of the development there is even more reason not to allow this development to go ahead. Penalties for even disturbing bats is severe see:

YRD Response

This statement speculates on matters unrepresentative of our proposals.

FM Response

YRD is the speculator, not I.

3. Extract

No doubt it is in the interests of the owners of the former Peradins site to drive the bats out. A photographic survey of the site was undertaken at the end of December 2006 and is included here. (this does not mean that I or anyone else needs to enter private property to take these photographs or videos. Bats can be disturbed by excessive noise and light)

YRD Response

This statement pre-judges our company’s interests in a negative manner and as such is defamatory.

FM Response

This observation was made prior to YRD buying the property. Furthermore it was written whilst the property was poorly protected and was open to travellers and raves.  YRD to their credit, have taken appropriate steps to secure the site. The travellers and ravers would have to club together to buy or hire a tank to gain access to the site now with their vehicles! The relevant section has been removed

4. Extract

This is what the situation looks like: entice developers to barter money for environmental cleanup in exchange for planning approval for dwellings? Is this the only way we can have the mistakes of former planning decisions cleaned up? The reality is that the developers, will most likely, recoup their money and more from wealthy people who will buy these dwellings -they won't be welcome here. They will be isolated from the village geographically and socially. Whereas, the Freshford Mill site could be a recreational area for the village and an education centre for the area, this is what the village wants.

YRD Response

The highlighted part of this statement appears to represent the views of Freshford generally. We have no evidence that such alienation will emanate from anyone other than yourself. There is a world of difference between those who object to planning applications but accept the outcome and those that, instead of accepting the outcome, actively seek to alienate newcomers.

FM Response

If you knew me you would know that it is very difficult for me to take a dislike to anyone, in particular, newcomers.  I consider that to take such an attitude would be ill-mannered. In fact those parts of this website that you most object to are actually devoted to making sure that would be purchasers of a dwelling at Freshford Mill are fully aware of those factors that they need, to ensure that they will be happily housed there. . In addition, with respect, YRD doesn't seem to have carried out the necessary research for this development consider this extract from the Freshford village website statement made by the Freshford Association:

'The Association has for the last 36 years played a leading part in protecting and maintaining the character of our village and in safeguarding its amenities.

We have recently made significant donations to village organizations such as the Memorial Hall (£1,000) and Freshford Mill Association (£880). In previous years we have contributed to the cost of repairs to the Morris Lion in the High Street, to the provision of Millennium Stones around the parish boundary, to the cost of planting trees and bulbs and to the village school.

In addition, there has been a major contribution to the Parish Council towards the cost of representation at the appeal relating to the proposed development of the Freshford Mill site' Edit Jan 2011. This link is no longer available as Freshford has revamped their website and not used redirects. The cost of representation amounted to more than £5,000

Why does YRD NOT think that there is no universal resistance to its proposal to develop Freshford Mill? Why does it think that the Friends of Freshford donated £880 to the Freshford Mill Association? Well, I'll tell you why, it was to fight developments like those from Ypres Rose Developments..Since YRD have purchased the Freshford Mill estate it has been necessary to extend the Freshford Conservation Area to include Freshford Mill and the surrounding land, because of fears of what the company is trying to do with our beautiful environment. As I mentioned before in an email,  your company are not welcome here as you have nothing to offer other than the cash to remove the toxic waste and the eyesore of buildings that should never have been built except for World War II. .Link to new Freshford and Sharpstone Conservation area map  In addition on this website there is a reproduction of a document that includes the facts as to whether my views are unrepresentative or not. Democratic Consultation

 YRD may have some developments to be proud of, I don't know, but the Freshford Mill development is not wanted and will not add to the reputation of YRD. The Friends of Freshford have had to spend precious funds  on resisting development at Freshford Mill..Bearing this in mind, does YRD really believe that would be residents would be welcome here?

You have no evidence of "alienation" in relation to myself and your implication is potentially defamatory, especially as I have taken  so much time and trouble to develop this website, not for any reward but because of a love for this particular part of our countryside and to protect it from unwanted development. Whereas all YRD are interested in is profit! There is already talk of a "gated community" May 2007 refer to Freshford Parish Council minutes. Why? because the new residents of this settlement need to be protected against criminal elements that the county police cannot protect isolated settlements against? (June 25th 2007)

5. Extract

So does the root of the problem as to why the rejection of the application and then its approval! lie in the necessity to find funding to clean up the site where, I understand, there has been toxic? waste buried by Peradins, apparently not exactly? There is also a substantial amount of material that contains asbestos which is quite expensive to remove due to the necessity to protect workers. Certainly this means that the present or would be owner, as the site is for sale, needs to spend a considerable amount of money and that to be a viable investment there has to be more than 20 dwellings built. They have not been able to sell or lease the site for industrial use, even though it has permission for such use. Further information about the site Council's response to the 2002 Application by Suttons

Letter from a Former Employee at Peradins

I was not aware of Peradin deliberately burying waste while I was there, and being in the engineering and maintenance department I would have known about it going on. Most of the waste oils etc were stored in the upper compound (near the road left of entrance) and recovered by disposal &recovery companies, or other items were taken to the unit in Trowbridge. However I do remember seeing oil slicks bubbling up in the river, but this was not surprising due to the amount of hydraulic oil that used to leak out of the moulding presses into the ground. The ground in the lower right-hand part of the factory area must be full of oil, unless it has drained away by now. However with the factory moving there from Bath during the end of WW2 there is 40 years + of ground contamination to get rid of. There were plenty of what we term toxic materials today, like raw rubber, oils, paints, carbon black etc, but back in the 70s these were not seen as toxic or dangerous. Trichloroethylene and Cyanide were the materials we classed as toxic that were being used on site at the time. What happened after I left, I do not know, but I cannot think of a suitable area where they could have dumped waste within the site. If it was not closed off I would like to have a look around, but the buildings look unsafe so best stay out. It may be the fact that the factory just leaked the stuff in the ground over the years and the rumour about the toxic burial has grown from there. Either way the ground is contaminated. I am amazed that anybody would think of building houses here unless they were on stilts. I remember several floods, and in particular two big floods at the factory between 76 and 79. Both of these came up to just short of the toilet blocks, which is approx half way up the property toward the entrance gates. I lived in Bath and twice had to go home via Bradford-on-Avon because the bridge outside the pub was impassable. I presume this still happens today.

YRD Response

This statement and particularly the former employee’s letter is misleading and is not taken in the context of our proposals.

FM Response

This letter was written by someone with experience of working at the site and is most apt.

6. Extract

Historically, the only building that has taken place in the Frome valley, by the riverside, near Freshford has been the Freshford Mill. Local people are sensible and most vernacular buildings are located in places that are in harmony with the environment. The valley is not only subject to flooding but to mist, it is more likely to be misty in the valley than not. Low lying areas are not healthy areas to live in. These new dwellings will need more fuel to ensure that the people living there are living in comfort. The mist also affects safety on the roads, both for vehicles, and pedestrians.

YRD Response

Your statement regarding low lying areas is a sweeping generalisation and, in relation to the site, has no basis in fact. Your statement regarding fuel use is completely nebulous and has no basis in fact. It is totally unrepresentative of our proposals and as such is misleading.

FM Response

These observations show an ignorance of where dwellings are built and why they are built.  As for fuel, it will become even more expensive, and will be rationed in the not too distant future. It is obvious that anyone living in the valley will require more fuel to keep warm and for example to dry their clothes.

7. Extract

The war time authority made the mistake of building pillboxes in the flood plain. Here's a photograph of one taken recently! This flood didn't extend far into the fields but did threaten The Inn at Freshford where staff had sandbags ready. Unfortunately for this website, water that was in the fields had retreated by morning preventing recording the full extent of the flood. This photograph doesn't convey how strong the current was. However, photos taken down river at the bridge at Freshford show the full force of the river. The Flood risk information page including maps and photos would convince any reasonable person that what amounts to building a new settlement should NOT be undertaken at Freshford Mill. The Association of British Insurers have also stated that the risk of flooding is getting worse

YRD Response

This statement is totally misleading and completely unrepresentative of our proposals.

FM Response

I don't understand why these observations are misleading? Can't YRD be bothered to try to answer each objection. I just hope that when the flood comes, it comes when the company have just completed the development, and that it is severely damaged by the forces of nature an apt warning to those that would ignore the geophysical nature of the environment.

8. Extract

This is perhaps, the only proposed settlement where for emergency access boats will be needed!

YRD Response

This statement is simply untrue and has no basis in fact. Moreover, it is totally unrepresentative of our proposals.

FM Response

The statement is not untrue. It might not happen very frequently, but it will happen. Even the police own a boat for use on the Frome, some time ago it was torn from its moorings upstream and ended up close to Freshford Mill bridge. The reality is that the residents may even need a helicopter to escape!

9. Extract

But before the dwellings are built someone has to be prepared to take on the uncertainty of borrowing several million pounds to invest in the development that will surely, always cost more than anticipated. Of course these developers could try to bribe local officials.

YRD Response

This statement makes a sweeping generalisation as to costs and implies our company are incapable of anticipating the cost of such a project. This is defamatory and has no basis in fact. To mention an option of corruption is totally unacceptable, such a comment serves no valid purpose.

FM Response

These observations were written before YRD bought the property. Furthermore, the first sentence is nothing more than an observation that the project is likely to cost more than anticipated. (probably twice the initial estimate to be on the safe side) The second observation is nothing more than an expression that most people distrust companies and central and local government (with good reason). I might add that if I won the National Lottery I wouldn't invest my winnings in a development at Freshford Mill. Since the corruption observation was written before YRD bought the property it seems appropriate to remove it from the web.

10. Extract

If the proposed development goes ahead, there will be 21 new dwellings for sale. These dwellings are new, they did not exist before, never in a 1,000 years of history have dwellings been built on this site. The main reasons being: risk of flood and living in a damp environment. In the winter, for example, sunshine when it does shine, disappears after 12:00 noon in the valley bottom.

YRD Response

This statement is misleading and has no basis in fact.

FM Response

These observations are true. In fact, the sun will not be visible until 11.00am and -correction- till 1.00pm. (Midwinter data). And whilst the altitude of the sun in spring and autumn is higher, the sun will be setting progressively further West, and will be thus hidden by the steep wooded hillsides of the hamlet of Sharpstone; which are located just a stone's throw from the Mill riverside..  (do you want me to prove it?- I have used the  Sun Path Diagram Designer (no longer available) from Manchester School of Architecture and the latitude and longitude of Freshford as input data)  Photographic and mathematical evidence. The Sun Path Designer tool is an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and can be downloaded sun4a.xls to use it you will need Excel or Excel Reader (a free program)

11. Extract

The dwellings don't have their own gardens, and the communal gardens will most likely be ruined by flood waters regularly.

YRD Response

This statement is misleading and cannot be supported by empirical evidence when considered in the context of our proposals.

FM Response

Why are the fields, in the valley, only used for sheep and cattle and not for crops?

12. Extract

the river Frome although beautiful is dangerous, very dangerous, your children will be living close to it.

YRD Response

This statement is nothing short of scaremongering and is completely unrepresentative of our proposals.

FM Response

I hope that you are right. I don't even want to think about it. The estate itself, will naturally I presume, include secure fencing or other barriers to prevent children from falling into the river but they only need to step outside to be in danger.

13. Extract

This is an isolated settlement, it could easily be the target of thieves. or worse, vandalism (which is alive and kicking in the west country, there is an anti-cultural element!) police don't "exist". (response time London, 999, crime in operation: 90 seconds) this is not to blame the local police force, this is a large area!!

YRD Response

This statement is completely unrepresentative of our proposals and, once again, suggests scaremongering.

FM Response

These are hard facts. (and why are YRD considering a gated community, after all we don't have wolves?)

14. Extract

This is an isolated settlement, it could easily be the target of thieves. You will either have to spend an increasing amount of money on fuel or use the train - inconvenient and time consuming and the service could be withdrawn and the fares will go up!

YRD Response

Our comments relating security are as noted above. Your statement regarding transport is misleading and irrelevant.

FM Response

People are entitled to information about transport services and for some people transport costs and burning precious fossil fuel may be irrelevant.  Thus the need for fuel rationing rather than controlling fuel consumption by the price mechanism..

15. Extract

This is a damp, frosty area, being in a valley, it is not a healthy place to live.

YRD Response

Your statement regarding the health implications of living in a valley is a sweeping generalisation and, in relation to the site, has no basis in fact.

FM Response

The reasons why human settlements tend to avoid low lying areas not only here but throughout the world seems to have missed your attention. 

16. Extract

when there is a flood, which is certain, you will lose your car unless you decide to evacuate your home until the flood subsides. Or having planning approved the building of a platform, which is sure to be unsightly, to park cars on when there is a flood?

YRD Response

This statement is untrue, misleading and completely unrepresentative of our proposals.

FM Response

There will be a flood, it is self evident. I suppose the project could be redesigned to include a garage at first floor level

(we have received no response to our replies to YRD's objections to material presented on this website to date 16th February 2008)

Freshford Mill Website Update: April 30th 2007

Freshford Village Website

The village website includes the publication of the parish council minutes. These minutes include reports on the current concerns over the Freshford Mill development. The website also includes village news and local information.

Minutes of a meeting with YRD and Freshford Parish Council on the 16th May 2007  can be read here: Search Parish Council Minutes pages

Post Offices near Freshford

The post codes have links to Multimap

Lower Westwood
Lower Westwood
BA15 2BY
This sub-post office and shop is open 8:00am to 8:00pm every day of the week.
Tyning Road Stores
69 Tyning Road
Bradford On Avon
BA15 2JN
Hinton Charterhouse
The Post Office
Hinton Charterhouse

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