The Council Meeting started with a welcome from Deputy Chair, Cllr Andy Wrintmore, this was followed by former Mayor, Mark Dorrington, presenting his Mayoral Civic Awards from 2019-20, which were delayed due to Covid-19. Four worthy recipients were commended for their community efforts, going above and beyond over many, many years, helping others and some raising an astonishing amount for charity. You can read the full details of all the Civic Awards here.
Questions and comments followed, Cllr Rob Collet commended the team at Frome Town Council (FTC) for securing funding for the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan from the Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund.
Cllr Rich Ackroyd passed on thanks from the Cheese and Grain for the various support FTC have provided to the town’s venue.
Cllr Nick Dove thanked the Town Rangers and the team for the great efforts in making the town look fantastic, particularly the newly installed benches.
Kate Hellard, FTC’s Community Development Manager, followed with an update from the recent round of Community Grants. Applications closed on 28th February and the Grants Advisory Panel (GAP) have assessed the applications and awarded a total of £42,593 out of the £60,000 budget available for 2020/21. It was agreed that the remaining grant budget would be made available to applications from now until the end of April.
As part of the Grants process refresh last year, the new application form was used successfully in the latest round, along with support from FTC staff. Kate explained as part of continuing to develop the new process, the GAP are looking to move to a more transparent public meeting where the applicants and others can contribute to discussions and hear the process of deliberation, and to appoint two or three residents to be a part of the decision-making panel. This was agreed and will be reviewed in the Town Matters meeting in October. You can read Kate’s full report here.
Peter Wheelhouse, FTC’s Economic Development & Regeneration Manager, provided a review of the Market Place improvements, Phase 2. Peter ran through some before and after pictures of the improvements, highlighting the reduction of congestion caused by the buses clogging the main highway now this area has been opened up. A new loading bay has been installed outside the George Hotel to allow for deliveries for local businesses and there’s also been improvements to disabled parking.
Peter explained there were some planned items that couldn’t be completed within the project. The courtesy crossings outside the George Hotel were pulled by County Highways following changes to legislation. As yet, County Highways haven’t been able to resurface the road and Peter confirmed he will continue to press them to do so.
Peter noted that additional costs had occurred due to new covid restrictions and the need for unexpected installation of new and the diversion of existing services once the work had started. Peter confirmed that FTC will ask County for a further contribution and for a commitment to resurface and look to Mendip District Council (MDC) to contribute to the covid related expenditure.
Cllr Lizzie Boyle encouraged the meeting to “be more Frome” and to think creatively to reduce the speeding through town. You can read the full report here.
Next on the agenda, Town Clerk Paul Wynne and Cllr Maxine Crawley presented an update on the Unitary proposals. The Government is currently consulting on two proposals: One Somerset and Stronger Somerset. Paul explained it is important to try to influence the Government’s thinking as they consider these proposals and Cllrs agreed the response to be submitted.
Cllrs also ratified the decision to recruit an adviser in the run up to and the establishment of unitary council(s) in Somerset. Cllr Crawley along with other Cllrs will continue discussions with Cllrs from elsewhere in the country who already have unitary experience, to understand what went well and less well from their perspective. These discussions will feed into the work of the adviser as well as FTC’s general thinking as the unitary project develops over time. The team will also engage with other local surrounding parishes and further updates will be provided at future Council meetings. You can read the full report here.
Peter Wheelhouse presented the last agenda item and provided confirmation on the proposed transfer of the Boyle Cross from Mendip District Council to the town. The transfer will cost a nominal £1, and MDC will provide a dowry of £9000 towards future maintenance costs. FTC will ensure that small markets can be held and an annual premises licence is issued prior to taking on the site. The transfer hopes to take place by the end of April. You can read the full report 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.