A new business park on the outskirts of Frome has been given the green light by planners, despite opposition from several councillors.
The outline application, to build a business park consisting of six two-storey units for use as offices, research and development and light industry with associated landscaping and car and cycle parking on land at Marston Gate, was submitted by Somerset Agricultural Properties in December 2011.
The one-and-a-half hectare plot is situated to the rear of Sainsbury's.
Planning officer Oliver Marigold recommended approval for the scheme on the basis that there was a need for employment space in Frome.
Members had mixed opinions on the proposals.
Councillor Damon Hooton (Lib Dem, Frome Park) said: "I have concerns about this application being recommended for approval. There are a number of sites in Frome subject to planning applications – why are we ignoring sites that are already available?
"I think this application will foster a need for travel, as it is so far out of town and I cannot support this application."
Councillor Derek Tanswell (Lib Dem, Frome Market) said he believed the town council had a conflict of interest on refusing to back the application.
He told members: "I see Frome Town Council is recommending refusal of this application. Isn't it true that they are trying to borrow £300,000 to buy Saxondale?
"Now they are recommending people do not build on this land. There is a real conflict of interest. They want to make Saxondale the only place for businesses in town so their investment is worth more. They have a vested interest in stopping any development except for Saxondale.
"I am in favour of this site, it is next to Sainsbury's and a survey has shown that 80 per cent of people in Frome shop on the outskirts of town.
"I think Frome Town Council has done the wrong thing by not being honest. It is inappropriate they were asked for their opinion, and we should not give it any weight."
Mr Marigold disagreed and said the concerns raised by the town council were valid.
He said: "The concerns raised by are proper planning ones. They should be taken into account."
Councillor Terry Napper (Con, Street) said developers should be encouraged.
He said: "Are we to encourage developers to Frome? I think we should – a development like this would bring a large number of jobs to the area, and we should be doing whatever we can to get jobs into the district."
Outline planning application was approved with 11 votes for, six against.