Last night’s Annual Council Meeting was packed full and all the newly elected councillors were well received. Current Mayor Rich Ackroyd, started the meeting by saying how much he had enjoyed his year and learnt about the town. It was then time to elect the new Mayor, Mark Dorrington, who thanked Rich for all he’s done as Mayor and welcomed Anita Collier as Deputy Mayor.
Emma Reynolds, Principal of Frome College then gave a short presentation about the College’s work, achievements and need for support from the community.
Mayor, Mark Dorrington thanked Emma and said that Cllr’s were keen to play a role in supporting local young people. One possibility might be working with the student led Eco committee to help address our climate emergency.
During comments and questions District Councillor’s Helen Sprawson-White and Adam Boyden wanted to highlight the strong relationship that they hope to have with FTC Cllr’s. Gill Fone asked about three new allocated car parking spaces on the coach park by Cork Street. MDC Cllr’s said they would look into it.
In quick succession Cllr’s then approved the adoptions of the Council’s Standing Orders, Cllr’s Code of Conduct and the Power of General Competence. A report on these can be found here. This was followed by the appointment of the Leader (Rich Ackroyd) and Deputy Leader (Anne Hill) of the Council and the calendar of meetings for the year ahead was also approved.
On behalf of the FTC Management Group, Resilience Manager, Anna Francis presented a review of the Work Programme for 2018-19. Highlights included; planting over 60 new trees and an orchard, increasing safety and air quality through the centre of town with the Market Place Improvements, the sale of FTC land at Saxonvale to ensure a comprehensive regeneration of the area and working with the local community at Trinity to create a more resilient neighbourhood and help decrease anti-social behaviour.
Also, projects such as School Active Travel Challenge that increased active travel by 20% and the Community Fridge and Larder saving 90,000 items a year from landfill and 140 tonnes of greenhouse gases. Alongside, the People’s Budget which engaged local residents in decisions about their town with over 1,000 people voting, supporting the five winners from last year to deliver their events including Fireworks and the Light the Night Lantern parade and finally the 2018/19 financial year being completed ‘within budget’ and able to set aside additional funds for future projects. Cllr’s commended the sheer amount of work FTC manages to deliver to such a high level and look forward to working with the staff in the years ahead. You can view the report here.
Next, Sarah Williams, Business Manager, presented the Annual Governance and Accountability Return for 2018/19 and the reserves earmarked for specific projects were approved. Details can be found here. Alongside this, it was decided to adopted the Council’s Financial Regulations, with potential revisions that may be made at meetings throughout the year.
Peter Wheelhouse, Economic Development & Regeneration Manager presented the next item on the agenda for Cllr’s to consider; whether to commission a study into the feasibility of turning the former Weston Warehouse at Saxonvale into a new cultural destination. This would build on interest from the Black Swan Arts and the Frome Museum, who are currently constrained by space, on the potential to provide new gallery facilities and space for the celebration of Frome’s heritage. The study would investigate how the building could be converted, how the acquisition and capital works could be funded and the scope for collaboration between local partners.
It was decided that supporting a building like this as part of the commercial and cultural quarter in Saxonvale would be a good addition and it was agreed for Peter to work with the Cllr Paul Horton, Black Swan Arts and Frome Museum to prepare a brief and commission the feasibility study. Mendip District Cllr’s also supported the suggestion and welcomed conversations around financial assistance. Find out more here.
Finally, Cllr’s approved the Council’s Risk Strategy, including the action plan for 2019/20. Read the report here.
The details of everything mentioned above can be found at www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk and the next meeting is Council Matters on 29 May. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.