What improvements are being made?
- Realignment of the bus laybys to reduce congestion caused by buses parked at the stops. New Paragon style bus shelters to improve the experience for bus users.
- Enhancement of the existing crossing points between Boyle Cross and the Coventry Building Society, Boyle Cross and The George Hotel and at the junction of King Street and Market Place. We will install coloured road surfacing where pedestrians regularly cross now and will widen pavements outside the George and Coventry Building Society. The existing zebra and pelican crossings will remain.
- Improvements to the pavements to enhance the appearance of the Market Place and make it more pedestrian friendly and widening of some pavements outside Coventry Building Society and The George Hotel.
- A new loading bay outside The George Hotel to improve the facilities for town centre businesses.
- Improvements to the on-street parking facilities for disabled drivers in Cork Street. This will include 2 new spaces and lower kerbs to enable ease of access for those using wheelchairs/buggies from cars to pavement. There will also be a new disabled parking space Frome Town Council in the Market Place outside Subway.
- Removal of the guard railings on the junction of Cork Street and Market Place that currently constrain pedestrian movement. They will be replaced by bollards.
What will the scheme look like?
When will the work start and how long will it last?
The work is due to start in the week beginning 22 June and is scheduled to last up to 16 weeks.
Why are you doing it now?
Whilst major events cannot take place in the town centre e.g. The Frome Independent, it is possible to complete the work without major disruption to these events.
Making the town centre more pedestrian friendly and more attractive as places to shop, work, live and visit will be an important part of our plans for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. By completing the improvement works now, we can get a head start.
How will traffic be managed?
To build confidence amongst visitors to the town centre that they can socially distance, the proposal is to close part of the Market Place to through traffic for a limited period. This will enable pedestrians to use the roadway as well as pavements to get around the area.
In addition to the temporary closure of Market Place to through traffic the County Council will temporarily close Palmer Street (and therefore Catherine Hill and Stony Street) and King Street (including Church Street) to through traffic. This will commence on Monday 22 June and will be reviewed on a weekly basis. The purpose of this closure will be to enable social distancing in narrow streets.
This follows a survey of residents and businesses in the town centre in which the majority of respondents supported the initiative. In response to the survey replies we received, there will be exemptions and other conditions:
- Residents and deliveries will be exempt
- Access for refuse collection will continue
- Closure will be from 9am – 5pm daily
Full access to all car parks will continue, and we are pleased to confirm that all Mendip District Council run car parks will remain free of charge, to be reviewed in early August.
During the works, a temporary bus stop will be created in Cork Street, adjoining the entrance into the Westway Shopping Centre, so that the bus companies can continue to offer town centre services to their passengers. Please view the map for the temporary bus stop location. The X34 and southbound D2 bus services are not currently servicing the Market Place; however, Frome Bus services will be going to the Cork Street temporary stop in the town centre.
For further information about bus services in the town please visit the operators’ websites:
- FirstGroup Bus Services www.firstgroup.com
- Faresaver www.faresaver.co.uk
- Frome Bus www.fromebus.co.uk
There will be a temporary suspension of the taxi rank adjoining the Westway Shopping Centre in Cork Street. However, the second taxi rank in Cork Street and the taxi rank in Waterloo will still be available and an alternative temporary taxi rank will be available in Saxonvale. Please view the map detailing taxi rank locations.
On street disabled parking will be available in Cork Street and within the Market Place at a later stage in the works. You can view the details of the Traffic Management Plan here.
What consultation has taken place?
Frome Town Council has worked with the community over many years to explore options to enhance the public realm within Frome Town Centre and particularly around the Boyle Cross monument and Market Place.
Landscape Projects were commissioned by Frome Town Council in 2012 to undertake a feasibility study into the options for remodelling the Market Place and this study was subject to wide public consultation. Those consulted included town centre businesses and users, residents of Frome, District and County Councils.
Following the early feasibility work, there were various public exhibitions and meetings as the proposals for public realm works developed. All this culminated in the approval of and completion of the Phase 1 Boyle Cross improvement works in February 2018.
More recently in November 2018, the Town Council published its plans for Phase 2 of Market Place public realm works and conducted a public consultation exercise that included an exhibition at the Town Hall and online/press publicity. We also consulted with various stakeholder groups including Frome & District Chamber of Commerce, Frome & District Civic Society, town centre businesses, PACE (representing the interests of the disabled), bus operators and the police.
Comments were considered carefully and in response to the comments received, various amendments to the plans were agreed at a meeting of the Town Council on 23 January 2019. Prior to determination of the planning application by Mendip District Council, comments were invited from the public and at the Town Council’s Planning Advisory Group when the application was considered, there was an opportunity for the public to ask questions and comment.
What approvals have been obtained?
We were required to secure technical approval from Somerset County Council as Highway Authority and planning approval from Mendip District Council as Planning Authority. All necessary approvals were obtained and a legal agreement between Frome Town Council and Somerset County Council has been signed enabling the Town Council to work on the highway.
An application for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order to enable a temporary closure of Market Place to through traffic has been submitted to Somerset County Council.
What status will the enhanced and informal crossing points have?
As is current practice, those using these crossings will need to either cross when the road is quiet or will need to gain the attention of drivers to allow them to cross typically when traffic has slowed.
How will these crossings make it easier for pedestrians to cross?
By widening the pavements, we will shorten the crossing distances in these locations and by providing buff coloured road surfacing and additional white road markings we will alert drivers to the fact the these are popular informal crossing points.
How do we know that the crossing proposals are safe?
They have already been the subject of a thorough safety audit by Somerset County Council as Highway Authority who have indicated that they consider that the proposals are safe.
What will happen to the existing zebra crossing in Cork Street, and the pelican crossing in the Market Place?
These crossings will remain in position as it is recognised that they are already well used and not everyone will wish or is able to use the informal crossings.
Why are you removing the guard railings on the junction of Cork Street and Market Place?
This is designed to improve pedestrian movement in the Market Place area which the railings currently constrain. It will also lessen the risk of pedestrians getting trapped on the carriageway side of the railings. The railings will be replaced by carefully positioned bollards that are designed to protect pedestrians on the pavement and prevent vehicles from parking on the approach to the zebra crossing.
The St Aldhelm motifs will be carefully removed and stored and will be used elsewhere in the town in a location to be confirmed.
What is the proposed paving specification?
In most of the new paved areas we propose to use Tegula Pennant Grey which is designed to match the Welsh Pennant slabs laid in the Boyle Cross area and the existing paved area outside Costa and Superdrug. The exception to this arrangement will be outside the Coventry Building Society and Barclays Bank on the junction of Stony Street and Market Place, where natural Welsh Pennant Stone slabs and setts will be used to match existing materials in Stony Street. To see where these materials are going to be used please refer to the illustrative layout.
How are you planning to minimise disruption during construction?
- The work will be undertaken in phases, as detailed in these maps: Phase 1 / Phase 2 / Phase 3 / Phase 4
- Vehicular access will be maintained for deliveries and residents to Scott Road, King Street, Church Street, Eagle Lane, Palmer Street, Catherine Hill and Stony Street.
- Arrangements will be made to enable customers to access businesses and ATMs whilst the work is in progress – details to be confirmed.
- The contractor has appointed a Public Liaison Officer that will liaise closely with town centre businesses and the wider community to keep them informed and to minimise disruption.
Are you going to dig up the Boyle Cross area again?
With the exception of the installation of new tactile strips and bollards for the new crossings, this area will be unaffected by the works. It will remain open to the public throughout the works.
What is the budget for this project?
The budget for this scheme is £329,716. This is to cover construction costs, professional fees, fees payable to the highway authority, contingency and all other project costs.
Who can I approach for further information?
Please contact Peter Wheelhouse, Deputy Town Clerk, Frome Town Council at email@example.com