Chair Sara Butler formally welcomed everyone and prior to the Council meeting, the annual meetings of Theodora Ann Le Gros for an Open Space and the Mary Baily Playing Field Trust were held. Details can be found here.
Rich Ackroyd of Friends of the River Frome (FoRF) provided an update on the long-awaited footbridge between Edmund Park and Adderwell. The aim of the bridge is to bring residents closer to town, promoting active travel via walking and cycling rather than car journeys on the long way round via Warminster Road. FoRF have employed Jim Hallybone, Director of Roundfield Architects, to do a feasibility to look at the optimum route which would link the river walk, Edmund Park and the railway station.
The designs presented were created for costing purposes for the budget that is currently available and shows that that accessible options are needed and therefore further funding. Rich Ackroyd asked for Frome Town Council’s (FTC) backing to take this to Unitary and ask for further funding and also explore sponsorship in order to take this project forward.
During Questions, Cllr Nick Dove raised the issue of anti-social behaviour and how social media can ramp up fury. He reminded council that Frome is a low crime rate area and that incidents of violence are isolated, and FTC are working closely with the police and partners to ensure that young people are supported in light of tragic incidents elsewhere of late. Michelle Rossetto from UCET UK came and asked questions around how we can support the relationship between young people and the police. Kate Hellard FTC’s Community Manager explained that currently YMCA Brunel are doing a series of detached youth work in our parks and open spaces to support this alongside pop-up play opportunities all over the town run by Super Roots and Woodland Tribe.
Cllr Dove will remain in close contact with the police who continue to urge the public to report crime and anti-social behaviour directly to the police on 999 or 101 as appropriate.
The first report of the meeting was presented by Cllr Steve Tanner, encouraging the discussion about the stance that FTC takes over the next five years regarding new developments in the town. The housing crisis and stock shortage in Frome is well documented and there are various local support groups and initiatives that have looked into the problem. There is lack of brownfield sites in the town and FTC have been committed to protecting the town’s surroundings but are also conscious of the need for the town to grow. Cllr Tanner suggested, in particular with a view to working with the new unitary, that FTC should adopt a proactive strategy in regard to planning. He mentioned that there will always be an anti-development voice in any town, and that is right, but that they also never hear from those who are in desperate need of a roof over their head. This can lead to a very one-sided discussion with plenty of objection but very little support, even though they are certain it is out there, and numerous support agencies echo this feeling. The report was to begin the discussion and that FTC’s Planning and Development Manager will set up a panel including various agencies who will engage with the town to debate the issues addressed in the report, which you can read here.
FTC’s Resilience Manager, Nikki Brain provided an update on the Green and Healthy Futures lottery bid. Over the past 18 months FTC has partnered with Edventure and Frome Medical Practice to deliver a National Lottery Climate Action funded project focused on creating climate-health win wins in our community. The FTC projects include Healthy Homes, Cycle Together and Evaluation of the overall programme. There is now an opportunity to extend and increase funding for a further 3 years, to support FTC’s Resilience objectives. The G&HF team have produced a consultation document to gather feedback of the project so far which will inform the future funding application. You can read Nikki’s report here.
Next up Laura Flaherty, Executive Assistant to the Town Clerk and Mayor, presented the report asking for the ratification of the appointed Substantial and Community Grants that the Grants Advisory Panel (GAP) have recently approved. Recipients for the Community Grants include Songs for the Memory, YMCA Brunel, Frome Open Art Trail, the Black Swan Arts Emergence Festival to name a couple. Substantial Grants also awarded funds to Purple Elephant, Citizen Advice Mendip, The POD, Frome Powerchair Football among others. The GAP also recommended that the next substantial grant round made by FTC in the current financial year primarily supports the community in the current cost of living crisis. You can read the full report here.
FTC’s Business Manager, Sarah Williams, provided the meeting with a financial update for the first quarter of 2022-23. It includes the Income and Expenditure and Balance Sheet reports to 30 June 2022, a list of spending on items over £500 (April 2022 to June 2022) and concludes that FTC remains financially sound with adequate funds and assets. You can read the full report here.
Rachel Griffin, FTC’s Marketing and Communications Manager presented the Annual Report for 2021 -2022 to Cllrs. The Annual Town Council Report is a pictorial summary of the end of year financial return, some of the year’s highlights in numbers, a roll of grant recipients, a message from the Leader of the Council and the Mayor as presented in the Annual Town Meeting. The Cllrs duly adopted the report which can be found here and a copy can be found at the Town Hall for anyone to view.
Rachel continued with the presentation for the Civility and Respect Pledge and asking Cllrs to pass a resolution to sign up. The National Association of Local Councils (NALC), the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), and One Voice Wales (OVW), believe now is the time to put civility and respect at the top of the agenda and start a culture change for the local council sector. By FTC signing up to the civility and respect pledge they are demonstrating that FTC is committed to treating councillors, clerks, employees, members of the public, representatives of partner organisations, and volunteers, with civility and respect in their role. It also serves as a sign that we strive for good practice. Cllrs duly adopted the recommendation and Rachel will ensure FTC is signed up to the pledge. You can read the full criteria here.
The agenda and details of everything mentioned above can be found on the meetings page. For dates of future meetings visit the Council Committee and Meetings page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.