The Latest from the Council Chamber – 9 May

Wednesday’s Council Matters meeting began with a warm welcome to all from Councillor Mel Usher and an introduction to the Council’s new Marketing and Communications Assistant – Laura Hales.

Councillor Mark Dorrington kick started the evening by addressing the pressing issue of Mendip’s proposed car parking strategy which includes season ticket increases and Sunday charging. He updated the room on his conversation with Mendip District Councillor’s Nigel Taylor and Philip Ham, who plan to press on with this deeply unpopular proposal when Mendip’s cabinet meets on 21 May. Please sign our petition urging Mendip to rethink and share far and wide.

Environment Manager Chris Stringer presented the management plan for Victoria Park & the Mary Baily Playing Field, highlighting that the most important part of our outdoor spaces is that they are welcoming, accessible and that as many people as possible are able to explore and enjoy them. Plans include a new toilet and café, new seating, tree planting, hedges around the tennis court and the addition of more vibrancy and colour with lots of lovely planting.

Alongside the essential safety repairs to the current skate park we will also be looking at ideas for a new skate park giving local young people more opportunities to get outdoors. Lottie Evans, owner of the Café in the Park thanked the Council for giving the café a face lift. The issue of anti-social behaviour was also raised, and Chris explained that we have very few official reports, but our Rangers continue to work with Police to make sure any incidents are logged and encourage members of the public to do the same. You can read the plan here.

The Town Hall update from Marketing Manager Rachel Griffin showed that the Hall is a real asset for the town, with meeting rooms being used 150 times by the Council alone in the last six months. We also have four tenants (Active and in Touch, Frome FM, Fair Frome, Volunteer Frome and WHY– soon to be joined by Fair Housing for Frome) using office space. We’re looking to increase the use of hot desk space in the café which currently also hosts Frome’s Baby Café on Friday’s. We’re working hard to get the right licences in place to make sure we can make the most of this beautiful space and meet the demand from local couples wanting to get married (25 couples are already on the waiting list!). You can read the full report here.

Responsible Finance Officer Jackie Wheeler was delighted to announce that the Internal Auditors have confirmed we’re meeting all requirements and are in good financial health – well done Jackie! A general update of the Council’s finances was given noting in particular that the general reserves stand at £30,000 above the agreed minimum. You can cast your eye over the report here. At the end of the update Mel made a point of noting Jackie’s hard work and their confidence in the accounts. He also presented Jackie with a present and wished her well with her retirement starting at the end of the month.

Next Mel congratulated the staff on an interesting and well-presented report on the Work Programme for 2017/18.

The details of everything mentioned above can be found at www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk and the next meeting is taking place on 18th July. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.