Keep Frome Clean Panel
We’ve had three public meetings so far. These have been either quite well attended by townsfolk, or as in the last meeting poorly attended. Clls from SCC and MDC were invited to attend, but have thus far been unable to do so. Representatives from MDC Landscape Group, Vision for Frome, Friends of the River Frome and Frome Chamber of Commerce have made significant contributions.
The first two meetings were very productive as they covered a range of issues, before narrowing down to some suitable ways forward and some agreed standards of cleanliness in and around the town centre. The panel is currently asking the public to report litter and other cleanliness matters as part of its “October Watch” campaign. Publicity for this has included information in the local press, Somerset FM radio, and posters in retail areas. The results of October Watch will be analyzed and plotted on a map to identify the current standards of cleanliness in Frome. Where there are discrepancies, the relevant bodies will be informed. We are also trying to identify local champions with the possibility of some sort of recognition for their endeavours. The hope is to close down the panel and make suitable recommendations for full Council by Christmas.
Anyone wishing to get involved will find details here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Town Centre Panel
The TCP has had three meetings with a fourth having taken place on the 20 October 2015.
The Panel has asked itself a series of questions; what’s the problem, what’s the evidence, what projects are in the system, what’s possible and which new projects should be put forward to Council?
The Panel has tried to work within the bounds of realism in terms of what can be achieved. Where larger projects have been identified they have been broken down into smaller chunks. We have specifically stayed away from Saxonvale, despite the obvious temptations.
We intend to bring a full report to Council in December, but if I had to briefly sum up our findings I would say that:
The issues in the town centre are well rehearsed and have only changed marginally over time. Too much traffic in the town centre, too little diversity in the shopping experience, expensive parking provision, a messy town centre with poor signage, public infrastructure and cleanliness and a limited weekend and nightlife choice.
One panel member likened the town centre to a play with some great actors and willing audience but surrounded by a shabby set. On the plus side are the independent shops, the potential of the Market Place and Saxonvale, the success of new restaurants/cafes, the Cheese and Grain revamp, and the generally buoyant local retail scene.
Many reports have been written and surveys have been published about the Town Centre in the last few years. They are generally consistent with one another and with the issues identified above. It’s pertinent to acknowledge that the regeneration of town centres is similar to a “black box”, you can recognise what a good one looks like but not necessarily how it became so. The Panel does however feel that certain thresholds, on basics like litter and signage, need to be met to give the centre a fighting chance. Nationally new shopping habits do not necessarily mean the end of the town centre but we all need to acknowledge what is happening and think alternatively and quickly to keep apace.
The projects looked at in more detail include “touchpoints”, especially signage which is often poor or downright misleading, run down street furniture, making something of the Cattle Market car park especially around the river frontage, access, permeability and appearance, beefing up the town centre events programme and marketing.
The Panel will discuss these elements in more depth at the October meeting with a view to producing some initial costings and means of funding. Together with the Boyles Cross improvements, greater pedestrian priorities in the Market Place and perhaps a solution to Saxonvale emerging if the Frontier application is refused, significant steps could be made to improve the town centre.
The Wellbeing Panel
There were five main priorities identified at an initial interactive and lively meeting with the public:
- The need to gather and log information about the provision of services within Frome
- How to make this information more accessible
- The need to build a community at street level – these ideas included sporting events (maybe one for the sports and leisure panel?)
- To encourage the whole community to participate and feel included in what’s happening in Frome
- To improve wellbeing with town and street events
There were also several targeted projects that were identified (including a town wide scheme to support carers/single parents).
At the second meeting the focus was on communication – Identifying and logging services within Frome both at a town and street level.
There are so many services available in Frome, and some existing great databases, but the problem is gathering this information and keeping it up to date. The town digital hub may go some way to meeting this need? It was decided to work with the Frome Times in order to develop the idea of a ‘community noticeboard’ – the Frome Times goes through everybody’s letter box.
It was agreed that there is a need to increase accessible information at street level. There is already a hugely successful project of ‘health connectors’ – (trained individuals who are informed of what is available in Frome so they can give that information to the general public). It was decided to start mapping the streets that these individuals live, and see where there are gaps emerging. Could the service be extended?
Berkely Down Ward
Upcoming Panel meetings
|Keep Frome Clean Panel||Early November||TBC||Elliot Building, Frome Town Hall (entry via Car Park in Park Road).|
|Wellbeing Panel||Tuesday 3 November||7.00pm||Elliot Building, Frome Town Hall (entry via Car Park in Park Road).|
|Town Centre Panel||Thursday 19 November||7.00 pm||Elliot Building, Frome Town Hall (entry via Car Park in Park Road).|
|Wellbeing Panel||Thursday 3 December||Midday||Elliot Building, Frome Town Hall (entry via Car Park in Park Road).|