SOMERSET: Frome beauty firm expansion
A Somerset beauty firm will be able to expand after plans were approved by district councillors.
Acheson & Acheson has been designing and supplying “premium beauty products to highly respected international retailers and global brands” since it was founded in 1992.
The company, which has bases in Somerset and Wiltshire, applied to expand its Frome operation by building extensions to its existing base within the town’s Commerce Park.
Mendip District Council’s planning board gave the plans its blessing when it met in Shepton Mallet on Wednesday evening (October 13), with the company expected to complete construction in the coming months.
Under the approved proposals, the existing Acheson & Acheson building on Cornbrash will be extended to the rear to provide more space for manufacturing and logistical operations.
Two new loading bays will be added along Imperial Way, not far from the expanded premises of Watsons Gym.
The changes would also create a further 27 car parking spaces for staff and visitors, along with 20 cycle spaces and two spaces for motorcycles.
Tom Hill from the Coalway Lane Residents’ Association said he supported the company’s expansion but was dismayed at how residents had been treated as the Commerce Park had been built out.
He said: “We’re not trying to prevent the extension going ahead – we’d just like it done in a way that also helps to protect the residents.
“So far the business park has been developed in completely the opposed way to the outline planning conditions – we have the large, heavily industrial buildings right next to the residents, and the small, resident-friendly is the other side of the business park a long way away.
“The existing noise conditions will not control any noise disturbance from deliveries, so we’d ask you to maintain the conditions around delivery restrictions.”
Since the business park was given planning permission in 2004, the council has had a policy that all decisions over its future should only be made at its public meetings, rather than by its planning officers behind closed doors.
Officers tried to overturn this in October 2019, arguing that asking councillors to make decisions could cause delays and put off businesses from coming to the town – but this requested was vetoed by board members.
Joe Patrick, Acheson & Acheson’s operations director, said the expansion would allow the company to continue its recent rapid growth, helping to create new jobs.
He said: “We are one of the largest employers in the local area – we’ve currently got 715 employees, and that’s up from 350 in 2018. We hope for that significant growth to continue.
“Our proposed extension, along with the new loading bays, will allow us to continue to expand our operations in a sustainable and responsible way.”
Councillor Nigel Woollcombe-Adams added: “I’m totally delighted there’s a business succeeding and wanting to expand their numbers of employees, their products and all the rest of it.
“It’s something we should be proud of – and certainly they’re not going to be extending their building if they’re suddenly going to push off, aren’t they?”
The board voted unanimously to approve the plans after less than half an hour’s debate.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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