The latest from the Council Chamber: Full Council Meeting 22nd January 2020
The Council Meeting started with a welcome from the Chair, Mayor Mark Dorrington, to a packed room of Cllrs and local residents.
Following questions and comments from the public, first on the agenda was a presentation from Frome’s Chamber of Commerce, new President Pauline Davey and Neil Howlett.
They discussed how the chamber currently consists of 100 businesses and members from sole traders through to larger employers and how the chamber provides a business voice within the community which contributes to this thriving town. The chamber will be concentrating on building their membership in 2020 as they feel the larger the base the stronger the voice the Chamber will have.
Pauline went on to explain the free events that the Chamber, along with Frome Town Council (FTC), host; from the “Discuss & Do” events through to the planned business festival which will take place in October. Neil said one of the Chamber’s priorities was finding more employment space within the town to keep businesses within Frome.
Following on from this we heard from Steve Tanner, Chair of FTC’s Planning Advisory Group. Steve proposed that FTC ensures Frome residents are fully engaged and informed about the proposals for the Selwood Garden Village and to ensure that the development proposals that emerge best meet the needs of the town.
For the proposals to be successful it needs to ensure it is integrated both physically and socially, developing facilities that meets the needs of the existing community, providing a suitable mix of housing to meet local need including social as well as affordable housing among others, read the full report here
The report, which was agreed by a majority of Cllrs, was discussed at length. It was noted that an application from LVA can and will be put forward at any point.
Next, Anna Francis, FTC’s Resilience Manager, gave an overview of the work that will be undertaken to develop the climate emergency strategy and the action plan needed (the full report can be found here). In December 2018, FTC unanimously declared a climate emergency and committed to becoming a net zero carbon town by 2030. Anna’s report set out the key areas such as energy, transport and resources which were borne out of the climate workshops that took place in November 2019. Anna will now work closely with Cllrs and the community to put the plan into action, this will also include monthly climate working group meetings. The full plan will be presented at the next full council meeting on 18th March.
Cllr Richard Ackroyd, Frome’s Council Leader introduced the next agenda point for decision; the work programme, budget and precept for 2020/21 (the full report can be found here). Rich noted that it was an ambitious but realistic work programme and handed over to Paul Wynne, Town Clerk, who went onto explain the process taken. Peter Wheelhouse, Economic Development & Regeneration Manager, then presented an overview of the work programme. Paul returned to explain the staff structure needed to deliver the work programme, including any additional staff. Finally, Sarah Williams, Business Manager, presented the budget requirements to deliver the work programme and the precept increase equating to 58p a week for a band D property. The highlight was the agreement to establish a new “Wild about Trees” project that will enable every person in Frome to plant a tree over the next 3 years. These could be in an orchard, hedgerow or simply a tree. Cllrs unanimously approved and adopted the proposals.
The agenda and details of everything mentioned above can be found at https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/meeting/council-19/ . Dates of future Council and committee meetings can be found here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to.