February’s Council Matters began with a warm welcome from the Chair, Cllr Lizzie Boyle, followed by questions and comments from those attending.
The first point on the agenda was a financial update from Hannah Paniccia, Frome Town Council’s (FTC) Assistant Finance Officer. Hannah reported that FTC remains financially sound with adequate funds and assets. Being three quarters of the way through the financial year and there are no major variations to report other than that, so far, we have used little of the Covid-19 emergency budget for the year. We have forecast that the general reserves will be £209k at 1st April 2022 and will provide a year-end report at the May 2022 Council meeting. Hannah also discussed the purchase of 2 new ebikes to replace older broken versions and the creation of an ear marked reserve for the funds raised for the Community Fridge which will go towards paying for some shutters and further maintenance.
Peter Wheelhouse, Deputy Town Clerk, presented his report on the proposed fingerpost signage. The new fingerposts will provide consistency throughout the town. The names, font and colour of the text on some of the existing posts are inconsistent (e.g. Black Swan Arts is sometimes referred to as ‘Black Swan’ or ‘Black Swan Guild’). Some fingerposts require realignment, all need extensive restoration. Additional new signage will be provided for a “Scenic Route” to the Railway Station which follows Willow Vale and the National Cycle Route 24. We will also be installing 6 new fingerpost signs to provide directions for key pedestrian routes within the Town Centre. As this project has taken a while to come to fruition, costs have risen, and Cllrs were made aware of this in September 2021. The report recommended further funds be found to complete the project and Cllrs agreed.
Next up Rachel Griffin, Marketing and Communications Manager presented an overview of the recent work of the Marketing & Communications team. There has been a very packed calendar over the last three months promoting and delivering several events and initiatives. Fresh off the back of Glow in the Park the team also delivered the Walking Festival, which saw over 200 walkers over two days go on a series of walks, and the Christmas Light Switch which saw over 3500 celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree, with over 500 lantern kits being sold. The Frome Times Wraparound vision for 2030 represented an enormous body of work and went into every home in Frome and was well received.
From websites to social channels alongside events and Discover Frome, the team have a busy time ahead, projects to note include: the Green breather days where work has begun liaising with residents and stakeholders; Frome Photographic – a new photography festival that will run alongside of the Frome Festival; a new Green Film festival which will be delivered in May; the Kindness Festival – where the Town Hall will be hosting a number of events; Window Wanderland, and the welcome return of Frome Busks, this year in collaboration with Frome College.
Chris Stringer, FTC’s Environment Manager, provided an update on the town’s parks and green spaces. A pretty packed past few months has seen Frome’s first Tiny Forest planted at Egford Lane, plus lots of hedge planting at the Showfield. The town’s speed indicator device has been put up in locations around town, it moves every two weeks and is currently up on Culverhill. Projects looking after our town’s wildlife have been completed; the making of bird and bat boxes, making hedgehog homes and working together with Froglife and FROGS to create a wildlife pond next to the Roundhouse by Welshmill.
This month sees the construction of the tennis club’s new pavilion and FTC have agreed vehicle access across Mary Baily to help the club with the first part of the project. Chris told the meeting that following the adoption of the Play Strategy the team will start bringing updated management plans back to Council Matters for discussion and review from the next committee meeting on 4 May 2022. Chris also reviewed a proposed community engagement at the Showfield, an update on the Victoria Park toilets and The Boyle Cross fountain which is switched off at the moment but the Rangers plan to have this running again this month.
The meeting ended with updates on staff matters and health & safety and a review of the Town Hall.
The agenda and details of everything mentioned can be found on the meeting 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.