Town Centre Panel

Cllr Mel Usher is the Chair.

The Panel compromises of Cllrs Nick White, Pippa Goldfinger, Tricia Golinski, Colin Cobb, Sheila Gore, Cath Puddick. Jude Kelly from La Strada (representing the retail community), Mark Brierley of NVB Architects (representing the design community), Steve Macarthur (representing entertainment venues) and Cllr Des Harris (as District Councillor for Market Ward).

Staff contact: Peter Wheelhouse 01373 475573 or

The Panel met on 4 occasions between 11 August and 20 October 2015 to:

  • Identify the issues in the Town Centre
  • Evaluate evidence both locally and nationally around Town Centres and Frome in particular
  • Determine potential projects
  • Refine the projects
  • Agree a way forward

The recommendations from the Town Centre Panel were put forward to Council on 16 December 2015. The full report can be read here

Recommended Programmes & Projects
There are implications contained in this report for many actors in the Town Centre including the Chamber of Commerce, Mendip DC, the County Council, user groups and individual property owners. This part of the report refers particularly to the Town Council. Many of the recommendations will need to be the subject of separate more detailed reports but trying to get agreement and integrating some of them into Council processes will allow for better resource planning. The budget proposals are those suggested by the Panel but may be subject to adjustment as part of the Council’s own budget setting processes.

  1. To commission a specialist report setting out guidelines on future street furniture, signage, soft and hard landscaping, lighting and their maintenance in the town centre and to include a sum of £15k for consideration in the 2016/17 budget for the completion of this report. Implementation to be funded using the existing Earmarked Reserve for Market Place Improvements.
  2. As part of increasing awareness of facilities in the town and improving signage, secure the delivery of new town maps and signage and the removal of ambiguous or obsolete signage (refer to Signage Priorities list agreed between FTC, MDC and Chamber of Commerce – see above)
  3. To commit to engaging with The Great British High Street proposal for a High Street Digital Lab to share knowledge about e-commerce and town centres, with a view to Frome being an exemplar town. To be funded externally.
  4. To reconfirm the Council’s commitment to phases 1 and 2 of Market Place improvements to improve footfall and the quality of the environment for pedestrians.
  5. To promote a strategic review of parking provision in the town including location, number, management and pricing
  6. Develop an events programme that supports individuals who wish to put on events and that appeals to different sections of the community. Set aside a budget of £25k for this purpose.
  7. Coordinate and market/promote the town as a visitor destination, location for business and a place to live and work. Set aside a budget of £30k for this purpose.
  8. Investigate the provision of new employment space and residential accommodation utilising vacant space above shops
  9. To develop masterplans for key parts of the town centre including the Market Yard to deliver economic, social and environmental objectives. Meet with MDC to develop joint objectives linking the visions of the Mendip Local Plan, Mendip Economic Development Strategy and Frome Neighbourhood Plan. Set aside a budget of £10k for the Market Yard masterplan work.
  10. That the relevant recommendation referring to the Town Centre arising from the Keep Frome Clean Panel be adopted for 2016/17
  11. That the Council continues to play a leading role in the development of the Saxonvale site in an appropriate manner, it continues to commission the right level of skills to fulfil that role and suitable funding be included in the 2016/17 budget. The Panel strongly recommends that all public sector bodies involved in regeneration in the town, including the District and County Councils and potentially the Homes and Communities Agency treat this issue as urgent and of the highest priority.

The recommendations were agreed unanimously by Council.

Meeting of the 3 September:

Town Centre Discussion Paper

Town Centre Panel – note of meeting 1

Evolving High Streets v2

Frome Chamber Town Centre Manifesto 2015

Meeting of the 24 Septemebr:

Town Centre Panel – agenda 240915

Note of Frome Town Centre Panel Meeting – 3 September 2015

Keep Frome Clean October Watch

Meeting on the 21 October

Frome Town Centre Panel – Report of findings

Appendix 1 – Cattle Market Car Park (Frome Market Yard) – Proposed Masterplan Strategy