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Latest from the Chamber – 15th May

Frome Town Council’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday 15th May opened with the selection of Frome’s new Mayor. Cllr Andy Jones was a unanimous choice from council colleagues and takes the reins from Cllr Philip Campagna until May 2025. There is no deputy mayor for 2024/25, as no single councillor had capacity to take on the role, but the IfF councillors pledged to support Andy as required throughout his tenure. He is joined as Mayor’s Consort by Anne Jones, his wife of 46 years.


The next item on the agenda came from Bob Ashford of Frome Neighbourhood Parking Group, who reported the group’s dissatisfaction with the residents’ parking scheme in operation on Weymouth Road. Mr Ashford said the consultation about the scheme was flawed and didn’t meet the district council’s own criteria for 60% approval overall. He shared the concerns of residents from surrounding areas, notably the Trinity and Badcox  areas, which have a lower level of off-street parking and garages than Weymouth Road. FTC Cllr Mark Dorrington and Somerset Council’s Martin Dimery voiced agreement that the communication with Parking Officer Steve Deakin had not been good enough, as far back as 2018 and Cllr Dorrington’s first election to FTC. They echoed the group’s call for the promised holistic traffic survey for Frome, and a review of the situation at Weymouth Road.

Somerset Council Access Point

Next, Fair Frome Coordinator Lenka Grimes updated council about the Somerset Council access point at Frome library, one of the routes to referral to Fair Frome for those in need of its services. Lenka confirmed the forthcoming closure of the access point in the library and expressed disappointment at the lack of a consultation or sufficient warning, with the loss of the service likely to affect the most vulnerable. Lenka thanked Somerset Councillors Michael Dunk and Martin Dimery and FTC for their help.

There was praise for the new 24 bus service from resident Gill Fone, with thanks to FAVBUG’s Tracey Harding and others who had made it happen, plus a plea for better enforcement of the 20mph limit on Bath Street and to remedy the appearance of the land around Henley Way, which Somerset Council have pledged to look at during May.


Cllr Steve Tanner raised the subject of the Weston Vinyls site at Vallis Road, currently owned by a pensions company based in Melksham, and formerly by Sustainable Frome, but so far undeveloped. Cllr Tanner asked Somerset Council to help apply pressure to develop or sell the land so that it can be used for affordable housing. Planning Officer Jane Llewellyn confirmed that the site has live planning permission for 75 homes, but that this was unknown to the pensions company at purchase and appeared to be used as a ‘land bank’ rather than as an option for. Martin Dimery agreed to work with FTC and thanked Cllr Tanner for drawing his attention to it.

Cllr Martin Dimery spoke about the recent briefing about Selwood Garden Community, which was not as well attended as he’s have liked, but praised the quality and balance of the information shared. Cllr Dimery commented on the volume of messages received from constituents on the subject of SGC, and reminded the meeting that Somerset councillors can’t share personal views on planning applications if they are to vote on them. He also confirmed that the bids for the land at Saxonvale had been submitted to Somerset Council. The bids were being handled by an external contractor, rather than within the county council, which was a matter of concern. There was better news that Asham Wood will not be used as a depository for the new Westdown Quarry, which Heidelberg have applied to reopen, as a result of pressure groups. However, the quarry will go ahead.

The next agenda item saw Cllr Steve Tanner elected as Leader of the Council 2024/25, with outgoing leader Lisa Merryweather as deputy leader.

The Annual Governance and Accountability Return was signed at this meeting and will be detailed separately once signed off.

The next FTC meeting will take place on Wednesday 12th June. Watch the full 15th May council meeting at https://bit.ly/FTC-council-meeting-15th-may.

20 May 2024
Last Updated
20 May 2024
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