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Latest from the Chamber – Council Meeting, Wednesday 16th November

November’s Council meeting began with a warm welcome from Chair Cllr Sara Butler.

The first question of the evening was from Cllr Nick Dove who enquired about the progress of Mayday Saxonvale, asking specifically: Can Mendip District Council (MDC) confirm why they won’t participate in s106 agreement with Mayday? Can MDC confirm because of delays and refusal to participate, the December deadline won’t rescind permission to Mayday? And can they confirm that they won’t proceed until there can be fair evaluation of both schemes? Mendip Planning Board were not in attendance and so Paul Wynne the Town Clerk will take the questions raised and send through to MDC Chief Executive.

Steve Deakin, the Parking Services Manager at Somerset County Council, presented on the residents’ parking schemes in Frome.  Steve told the meeting that vehicle ownership in Frome has jumped from 20.5k in early 2020 to the latest figures of 24.2k which is an increase of 18%. This has led to an increase in demand for parking. After a lively discussion with many points raised both for and against the parking on Weymouth Road. Not all points could be discussed in the time allowed so residents are invited to write their questions and concerns to Steve who has assured The Mayor that he will reply.

Moving forward Steve’s team will review the impact of Weymouth Road and identify a way forward for Weymouth Road and Trinity Road areas. There will be a Frome wide review including car parks once the new unitary authority is in place. You can follow the full discussion by viewing the recording of the meeting on FTC’s YouTube.

Next on the agenda Clare Hein provided an overview of the enormous amount of work the Frome Welcome Refugees group has undertaken since March in support for the refugee community in Frome.  They applauded the community response whether donating money, providing host accommodation, sharing expertise etc.  in partnership with Frome Town Council and CHARIS they started the process of establishing a hub in the town for all local refugees regardless of nationality.

FTC’s Community Project Officer Nikki Cox Nikki explained that Dmytro Romaniuk and Iryna Ladyzhenska have now been employed by Frome Town Council for one year to support the refugee community in Frome and the surrounding areas. The pair joined in October and will be working part time as the role of Hub Co-ordinator and Social Facilitator and will work in partnership with local refugees to assess what is working well, and what needs developing in order to shape a service that positively engages with those already living in the area and supports those who newly arrive. Both Dmytro and Iryna are Ukrainian citizens and will take over from the support work that has so far been done by volunteers at Frome Welcomes Refugees. 

They will host a weekly ‘hub’ space at the Town Hall café to enable all refugees to find out information, be signposted to relevant services or connect with other refugees. And will create links with key providers such as CAB, Fair Frome, Job Centre, Somerset Resettlement Team, Mendip Housing Team, Purple Elephant, Local Schools, Frome Community Transport, Trowbridge College. Plus, they will support cultural and social opportunities too. You can read the full report here.

Next on the agenda Cllr Max Wide presented Frome Town Council’s Plan for 2022 – 2024. This strategy has been developed by Cllrs in consultation with staff and partners over the first six months of the new administration. The strategy provides a high level workplan to drive the work of the Council, and the actions will be kept under constant review, to ensure FTC not only do what has been committed, but that it is helping to deliver the outcomes identified for the people of Frome.

The plan itself falls into two clear areas of work: to avert the crises presented, and to shape the future.  To avert the crises the council will work to reduce poverty, protect community assets and respond to the climate emergency. To shape the future the council will improve planning and deliver affordable housing, agree a unitary deal, revitalise our town centre, and nurture our open spaces.

Councillor Max wide said: “We want this plan to be a gateway to participation – our unique selling point is our desire to involve all of the talent in the town, all of the capacity and capability in the town, and enable these ideas to be put into practice. This is an ambitious plan so everyone’s involvement across the town is very much welcome in the endeavor”

 The Council Plan was approved by Cllrs, and they instructed the Town Clerk to amend the work programme for the remainder of this year and plan for 2023-2024. You can read the full report here.

Next up Cllr Fiona Barrows and Cllr Carla Collenette introduced the next report regarding the Broadway Community Gardens, they introduced members of the group that have been campaigning to save this space for the past 5 years and turn it into a community asset. It was recommended that FTC purchase the land from MDC for the sum of £25,000, with a view to this purchase taking place by January 2023 (allowing sufficient time for any final matters to be clarified well in advance of the winding up of MDC).

Once the land is transferred to FTC, the Ranger team will undertake basic ground clearing works to provide good access routes and open communal spaces. When good access is established on the land, the land will be transferred to Save Open Spaces (SOS) Frome for the sum of £12,500 excluding legal costs. Then moving forward FTC will support SOS Frome with future community engagement work such as consultations on the management plans and for occasional Ranger input with advice and support for larger scale projects.  Cllrs approved this recommendation, you can read the full report here.

The ratification of the Community Grant was next on the agenda. The Grants Advisory Panel (GAP) met in October to consider eleven applications for the second round of the Community Grants for 2022/23. Nine applications were proposed for approval including: Foodage 4 Thought – a cooking and nutrition wellbeing project, F4: Frome Female Football Futures, the Frome Shed – to provide a warm space during the economic and energy crisis, plus LED lighting upgrades at the Merlin Theatre among other projects. Cllrs agreed to ratify the grants and a third round of Community Grants will now take place and applications will close on 20th February 2023. You can read the full report here.

Next membership of the Planning Committee was discussed, with Cllr Fiona Barrows and Cllr Lisa Merryweather joining the committee and confirming that the new start time of 6:30pm with the option of later starts of 7pm for larger meetings. All start times will be published on the agenda in advance of the upcoming meeting. You can read the report here.

The meeting ended with an update on the finances of the Town Council for the period 1 July to 31 October 2022 which the Cllrs approved. You can read the full report here.

The agenda and details of everything mentioned above can be found on the meetings page. And the film of the meeting can be found on our YouTube channel. For dates of future meetings visit the Council Committee and Meetings page. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.

18 November 2022
Last Updated
18 November 2022
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