Town Matters Round-Up – 7th February 2018

Last night’s meeting was chaired by Cllr Peter Macfadyen, who welcomed everybody, including residents from Innox Hill area to the Town Hall.

What does Frome Town Council do? We asked the Open Story Tellers to produce an easy-read booklet to explain this in an accessible and sensory way, to make it easy for everyone to understand.

Cllr Peter Macfadyen commented “This booklet is so valuable, clearly it’s accessible to people young and old, with varying levels of reading ability, but it really answers questions that anyone might have. Everyone will find it useful.”

Cllr Pippa Goldfinger presented the next item, the Local Plan Part II.  Pippa referred to the complexity of the subject and joked “I wish the Open Story Tellers had done a guide to this, it would have made it a lot easier to understand”. The plan, created by Mendip District Council, covers allocating employment land, housing, designation of local green spaces, self and custom builds, and sport and recreation.  FTC is a statutory consultee, and as such we can make a recommendation in response but we do not decide. That is down to Mendip.

As part of the plan, several areas were listed as possible sites for housing, including Saxonvale and land at Innox Hill.  Councillors agreed that a proper parking review of the Town Centre should be conducted before development decisions were made for Saxonvale, and that the retail opportunities should be held in higher regard, considering it’s the only opportunity to extend the Town Centre.

The residents from the Innox Hill area questioned why the site even appeared on the plan, as it had previously been deemed unsuitable by MDC.  One said “the FTC planning group have done a fantastic job and listened to us. This town is known for being sustainable. The site is unsuitable, it is sloping and prone to flooding, I would urge FTC to be as clear as you can in your response to MDC.” MDC Cllr Des Harris echoed this and added, “I’m convinced of the unsuitability of this site.” The recommendation from FTC was strengthened  to reflect the level of concern.

FTC would like to see more recognition of smaller businesses in the Employment section of the plan.

Pippa Goldfinger said that FTC was pleased to see 23 green spaces in Frome proposed for designation as Local Green Spaces, however, there are several more open spaces in the town that needed to be similarly protected. These included St Johns Churchyard and Egford Lane Playing Field . Councillors are concerned that Local Plan Part II is being consulted on without a play and sporting provision strategy being in place.

Cllrs found the plan to lack detail. There were calls to make it more strategic and proactive and to consider future needs for employments, retail and open space. Cllrs voted in agreement that the recommendations and our response to MDC will reflect this common opinion.

The meeting ended with some updates on community projects in Frome. Malcom Westgate from Harry’s Hyrdo spoke about its success to date, and how valuable the grant was from FTC to enable Critchill School pupils to use the pool. It was agreed that FTC and Malcom would explore jointly how to  promote the pool’s use during school holidays.