The Council Meeting started with a welcome from Chair, Cllr Andy Wrintmore.
First on the agenda was Rachel Griffin, Marketing and Communications Manager, who provided the meeting with an update on Frome Town Council (FTC) events. The events are an excellent way to engage with the community and to provide information, and the recent Picnic in the Meadow event demonstrated this with successful engagement across many FTC projects including FIND, the play strategy and Neighbourhood Networks. The whole event proved very popular and feedback from residents was very positive. Rachel also gave a brief overview of some upcoming events, including the Great Big Green Week in September, Apple Day celebrations, a potential Criterium bike race for summer 2022 and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022.
Nikki Brain, FTC’s Resilience Officer, was next to recommend that FTC declares an Ecological Emergency alongside the existing Climate Emergency declaration and, due to the strong links, will address the two together in a Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy. FTC is already doing a lot to support biodiversity and ecology in the town’s parks and open spaces but by declaring and an Ecological Emergency would bring FTC in line with other Local Authorities and give the Council an opportunity to ensure FTC are doing all they can to protect and enhance biodiversity in the town. Cllrs unanimously approved the recommendation, you can read more about what the strategy involves here.
Following this, it was agreed that an Environmental Resilience steering group will be set up and meet quarterly. It will comprise of relevant staff and Cllrs plus other members in the community. The steering group will report back to Town Matters Committee twice yearly. You can read the full report here.
Continuing the environmental agenda, Jane Llewellyn, FTC’s Planning and Development Manager, presented her report on the adoption of FTC’s Climate Emergency Planning Guide 2021. Jane explained that the Planning Committee has seen an increase in planning applications for new developments come forward in the last few years and that FTC are aware of more on the horizon. One of the main concerns and reason for objection to planning, is the poor environmental sustainability standards of the developments. The FTC Climate Emergency Planning Guide 2021 clearly sets out why building standards must improve, and the measures that need to be taken. The guide includes chapters covering Building Design and Renewable Energy, Building Materials and Resources, Active & Green Travel, Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure.
The adoption of the Climate Emergency Planning Guide as a policy document, will enable the planning committee to publish and refer to the guidance when responding to planning applications and pre-application enquiries. It will provide a clear message to both developers and Mendip Council, setting out FTC expectations for sustainable developments and will in turn help raise standards. Cllrs unanimously agreed to the recommendation. You can read Jane’s report here.
Last on the agenda, Peter Wheelhouse, FTC’s Economic Development & Regeneration Manager, let the meeting know that a £127k bid has been submitted for Government funding under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF). If successful, this grant would pay for research including working with the community to explore the feasibility of bringing forward three community centred projects in the town centre. This in turn would provide evidence to support future capital funding bids under the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. The outcome of the CRF bid is expected in late July. If successful, the grant will be conditions on FTC providing £10k match funding which Cllrs approved. Peter’s report can be found here.
The agenda and details of everything mentioned above can be found at on the Council Meeting page. Dates of future Council and committee meetings can be found on the Council Committees, Meetings & Minutes page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.