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How safe is it to Swim in the River Frome at Freshford?

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Permit treated sewage for river Frome?

Freshford Mill is located in a conservation area, it is in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and a site of special scientific interest and there are colonies of protected bats.

Environment Agency:



NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN in accordance with Schedule 10 of the Water Resources Act 1991 that an application has been made to the Environment Agency by Ypres Rose Developments Limited for consent to discharge up to 20 cubic metres per day of secondary treated domestic sewage effluent containing no trade effluent to the River Frome at National Grid Reference ST 78651 59700 from Freshford Mill, Rosemary Lane, Freshford, Bath, BA2 7UD.



Freshford parish council has not received any notification of this application, according to the council minutes, although a phone call was made, reporting that a broken sewage pipe at Rosemary had been discharging raw sewage - possibly due to heavy plant damage or tree movement. The Environment Agency has also not published a link for the public to comment.

Unfortunately, there is some evidence to show that sewage effluent can affect the protected bat population.

I suppose there might be a reason why the Freshford Mill development could not be connected to the main sewer, other than the financial cost; perhaps its because it is located in the flood plain and would need a pumping station.

Once again Ypres Rose, the Freshford Mill developers, have not notified the village about an application or activity that could alarm local people. After all it may be perfectly safe to discharge this treated sewage so why alarm people by not taking an opportunity to inform locals? Unless there is someting to hide? 

Posted on 05 May 2010 by Geoff Edwards

Roads and road rage

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<H1>Roads and road rage and the economy</H1>
<P>With the failure of both Wiltshire and BANES to repair the damage to Staples Hill one might wonder how a proposal to spend over one million pounds on a foot bridge across the river Avon at Bradford on Avon can be justified. The damage to Staples Hill has been caused by heavy traffic including tracked vehicles weighing up to 28 tons. Most of that traffic is due to the development at Freshford Mill (but which has been much less than we feared as demolition waste was crushed and re-used on site). However there is an increase in heavy goods and other traffic due to being misguided by Satnav systems.</P>
<P>Staple Hill's road surface is so poor that local motorists will take a central position unless forced to do so by oncoming traffic. Poor cyclists have no choice but to go into the potholes, either stop or risk aggressive action by impatient if not ignorant motorists. At night the road is dangerous to cyclists. </P>
<P>One may question whether the financial crisis is real when one million pound is being seriously considered in the building of a footbridge over the river Avon at Bradford on Avon when basic road maintenance is being ignored.  And what is worse is that all that needs to be done at Bradford is to raise the pavement, which at present in some places is below the legal limit and add railings. There is no need for an additional bridge.  It seems to me that what we have to contend with is a bunch of crooks or ignoramuses. </P>
<P>As for the financial crisis the background to neglect of the roads due to money being gambled away. Who has been sacked in these National banks? I may be wrong but no one! One neighbour has been charged over £180 for being overdrawn (Lloyds bank) Hence my observation that these people are crooks. I'd sooner have government restored to the monarchy rather than this lot of either ignoramuses or at worst crooks.  <BR></P>
<P> </P>
Posted on 31 Oct 2009 by Geoff Edwards

Vandalised road sign: weak bridge 3 tons

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Update: vandalised road sign Freshford

It is now almost the end of April 2009. Nothing has been done to rectify this damage. And also the sign: "3 ton weight limit ahead" located at the junction of Crabtree lane and Mill lane  has been turned around so that motorists will not see it.

I have reported  a driver who ignored the advisory road signs and also the possible breaking of the law by that driver who is employed by A.S. Taylor. This driver drove his vehicle down Rosemary lane Freshford.  The vehicle was loaded with twenty reinforced concrete beams for delivery to Freshford Mill. As I understand the regulations the weight was overloaded.  Since taking the earlier photos, someone has vandalised the road sign: 

I do not know whether if the road sign is altered this absolves the driver from the law.

In relation to the lorry owned by A.S. Taylor which drove its Leyland Daf 75-300 vehicle down Rosemary lane with a load possibly exceeding 30 tons when it's gross load according to the Leyland Daf website should not have exceeded 18 tons. I understand that this vehicle was unable to brake properly on its descent down Rosemary lane. This means that a vehicle or other roas user coming up the hill would be killed or seriously injured by the vehicle or it would have have to have driven into the cottages or the wall.  A vehicle should be able to stop within the distance which the driver can see to be clear.

Posted on 10 Mar 2009 by Geoff Edwards

Thirty ton lorry goes down the steepest hill in Freshford

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Although YPres Rose the developers of the Freshford Mill private housing estate in the Frome valley were specifically requested to ensure that suppliers of materials to their building site should not go through the village of Freshford and the hamlet of Sharpstone but should access the site via Staples Hill from the Westwood direction their advice to their suppliers is either being ignored, or misunderstood.

Today Thursday 5th of March 2009 a lorry weighing possibly ten tons or over with a load of twenty reinforced beams of average weight of one ton each that is a gross weight of thirty tons travelled from the A36 down Abbey lane and turned into Rosemary Lane as instructed by the lorry's SATNAV system? There is not only a blue sign stating quite clearly the 3 TON WEIGHT LIMIT AHEAD but also "a Road Narrows Ahead" sign together with "an Unsuitable for Heavy Goods vehicles" sign.

unmistakeable road signs advise lorry drivers not to use Rosemary lane

So what went wrong? Ypres Rose have said that they have issued clear instructions to their suppliers that they should deliver goods to the Freshford Mill site via Staples Hill from the Westwood direction.

Furthermore, I have photographed every single road junction in Freshford and also produced video films of journeys from the A36 to Freshford Mill. These photographs and video films have been published on the Internet. As far as I know, there is no other villlage in the UK that has a photographic survey of every single road junction let alone videos in and out of the village. Yet the lorry owned by A.S.Taylor UK-Europe (that's what they print on their lorries) registration: R775 FHG has allowed their driver to drive down Rosemary Lane.

The photographs show that the lorry with its load is not only possibly overweight but obviously not allowed to cross the bridge, even if it is unloaded. Freshford Mill bridge is not only subject to a maximum load of three tons but is also an ancient monument.

HGV is unable to proceed across bridge without breaking the law


A couple of beams that are less than a ton.

reinforced concrete beams destined for Freshford Mill Block H

Twenty reinforced concrete beams: gross weight at least twenty tons?

HGV load of twenty reinforced concrete beams of at least twenty tons

A handsome Leyland Daf 75-300 rigid wheel base vehicle.

Leyland Daf 75-300 rigid based vehicle


Rosemary Lane is in the hamlet of Sharpstone which is close to Freshford, it is the steepest road in this area. It is a pity that it is not named as a hill, but then would that have made any difference to these ignorant people? Even a car driver would know that Rosemary lane is narrow and steep, a lorry driver has a better view of the road.  The dictionary definition of "lane" is a "narrow road in the country" Oxford Advanced learner's dictionary. If the driver was lost he could have telephoned.

Let's summarise this event. There was an earlier incident, last Autumn,  that lead to serious damage to the safety barriers of the bridge, The police were not prepared to take action against the owner of the lorry that caused that damage. I supppose that they won't take action against this lorry driver's owner either.  I understand that the fine for breaking a Maximum Weight Limit can be as little as £50. (Cheltenham Magistrates court) However, the fine for overloading ( vehicle being Overweight) is considerably more:

The Road Traffic Act 1988 requires “vehicle users” to ensure that vehicles are not overloaded.
If a vehicle is found to be overloaded both the driver and operator could be prosecuted or cautioned.
Legislation imposes fines of up to £5,000 for each offence. That means a fine for each overloaded axle
plus any overloading on the total weight. Also, if a vehicle is dangerously overloaded the driver could face
a charge of Dangerous Driving which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. Other offences
within the Road Traffic Act include refusal to allow the vehicle to be weighed and obstruction of an officer
which also carry a maximum fine of £5,000. If a vehicle is overloaded and results in someone being killed,
both driver and operator could face going to jail for Manslaughter or Death by Dangerous Driving.  VOSA Vehicle Safety Dangers of Overloading

The picture shows the regulation for rigid body vehicles.

three axled rigid based vehicle weight regulation diagram

The vehicle is a Leyland Daf 75-300 as far as I am aware the lorry was probably in breach of the law in relation to its load. Unfortunately, there is nothing to stop a vehicle ignoring:

1. an Unsuitable for Heavy Vehicles signpost
2. a Road Narrows sign
3. an advisory notice of a weight limit ahead of 3 tons

I don't know about whether the six foot six inches width restriction has been broken.

Shouldn't a British driver know that roads that are named "lane" mean that the road is a narrow country road which should not be used. 

Ypres Rose did not use a fork lift truck to try and unload the vehicle as they would have probably exceeded the weight limit for the mill bridge and apparently they said it wasn't their responsibilty.

Apparently, the vehicle need only be capable of exceeding 3 tons with a load (in this case) to break the law. This means that a vehicle of less than two tons but capable of carrying a load that would exceed three tons must not use the bridge, even if it has no load!

From what I have heard the lorry made its way back up rosemary lane aided by a local farmer's tractor - there are marks on the road surface of Rosemary lane.

There is earlier damage to the bridge (which is classified as an ancient monument) that has had to be repaired, at public expense. That damage was caused by a driver of a beer lorry who was guided to use Rosemary lane by  SATNAV.

Perhaps locals would be better off if the bridge collapsed. Preferably with a lorry on it!

Posted on 07 Mar 2009 by Geoff Edwards

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