June’s Council Matters began with a warm welcome from Cllr Mark Dorrington who chaired the meeting on behalf Cllr Lizzie Boyle, followed by questions and comments from those attending.
Bob Ashford joined the meeting and raised the issue regarding the recent instalment of parking meters on Weymouth Road. Bob mentioned this follows three years of consultation for an integrated scheme for parking controls across several streets, not just Weymouth Road. Bob continued to raise concerns that any parking decisions now will have an impact on adjoining roads and users of the park. Cllrs John Nelson and Maxine Crawley echoed the concerns raised and Paul Wynne, Frome Town Council’s (FTC) Town Clerk, agreed to write to the Chief Executive of Somerset County Council for clear information regarding the proposed overall scheme and will report back to council.
The first point on the agenda was an overview of the recent work of the Marketing & Communications team across all digital platforms. Beccy Byrne, Marketing & Communications Officer explained that the new FTC website continues to perform well, and the team are now concentrating on creating a positive user experience for FIND (Family Information Network Directory). Following the recent launch, FIND and has been one of the most viewed sections of the website indicating that it is very much meeting a need within the community. The lighter touch social media has also been well received with a strong interest in upcoming events and the reinstatement of Discover Frome social accounts has seen a 10% increase in followers. The digital newsletters reflect a similar story with FIND being the most clicked on item and open and click rates performing well compared to average peer performance. You can read the full report here.
Peter Wheelhouse, Economic Development & Regeneration Manager and Deputy Town Clerk, was next to talk about evaluation and why it’s important in the work of FTC. He highlighted that the Council want to be clear about the impact and value of the work being undertaken. It is planned to engage the community with the process of reviewing this evaluation strategy to find out how and where progress is being made, who is been helped and who may need further support with new projects or activities. Veronica Wignall, Climate Action Researcher & Evaluator led a discussion on taking this area forward covering outcomes of interest, the suggestion of evaluation trials, and what activities would be a priority. Read more here.
Next Paul Wynne, Town Clerk presented on behalf of FTC Environment Manager on the subject of using herbicides containing glyphosate to treat Japanese knotweed on two areas of council land on the riverbank near Welshmill woods and off Henley Way. Like all other landowners, FTC have a legal duty to manage and control Japanese knotweed to prevent its spread and as such, it was agreed in the circumstances to make an exception to the decision made in 2016 to ban the use of glyphosate-based products on FTC land. It was confirmed that it will only be applied by experienced and accredited technicians, and in line with Environment Agency permissions and guidance. Additionally, it will be limited to the two areas mentioned and only in this instance. Paul also gave a summary of what’s been happening in the town’s parks and green spaces, you can read both reports here.
Reports from the Sarah Williams, FTC’s Business Manager, were next with a discussion about Earmarked Reserves and an overall financial update including a summary of income and expenditure. The full details are listed on both reports here.
Rachel Griffin, Marketing & Communications Manager who oversees the Town Hall then provided an overview of the building and how it is now able to slowly return to a vibrant, busy venue with weddings and meetings being booked, all following strict safety measures. Special thanks were given to Sarah Williams and Sean Powell, the Town Hall Steward, for their extensive work with the audio-visual equipment to ensure that the hybrid meetings, incorporating in person and online for council meetings, can take place. Read the latest details here.
The meeting ended with a short Health & Safety Update followed by a staff news with a particular focus on training that has been recently undertaken by the team. Find out more about both these reports 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.