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September newsletter

by adamboyden on 8 September, 2016

Dear All,  I hope you find this update on news for Frome College ward, Frome, Mendip and the wider world useful. Please get in touch if you have any issues you need help with.

A quick update on news for Frome College ward and surrounding areas in Frome, Mendip and Somerset. How can I help? Please get in touch if you have any issues you need help with.

Evening 267 buses under threat – are you affected? As the recent Frome Standard and Frome Times front page stories explain, Bath & North East Somerset Council are reviewing their support for the 267 evening bus services, to try and reduce costs. This affects the 9.10pm and 11.10pm Bath to Frome buses and the 8pm and 10pm Frome to Bath buses (Monday-Saturday).  I attended an emergency meeting of the Frome & Villages Bus Users Group (FAVBUG) in August and we are campaigning to save the service. Please let me know if losing these evening bus services would affect you or your family or friends, and how. Please see here for more on the issue and how you can help, including by responding to B&NES (deadline 16th September), contacting business in Bath, joining the FAVBUG campaign, and asking Frome Town Council to help (who will discuss this at their next meeting on 21st September). If no council will support the service, the evening service is likely to end soon. So we need your help. Thanks.

Showfield improvements continue: At the old Showfield, it was good to see some of you at the Spectacular on Saturday, with plenty of ‘games, food and fun’ despite the awful weather. Footpaths have now been resurfaced to provide a smooth walking, running and cycling route around the Old Showfield (in ‘phases 1-3’ here).  It may even be possible to set up a Parkrun here soon every Saturday. The new outdoor fitness equipment is now in place between the playground and the Health Centre, and children’s play equipment has been repaired.  Further improvements and events are planned. I hope to see more seating, the fence/hedge around the playground, tree planting and meadow making, and an active residents group set up in future.  The Town Council have also arranged for Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership to run family games sessions at the Old Showfield later in September and October – please see here for more on that, and here for the background. To sign up to direct email updates from Frome Town Council please email Chris Stringer (Environment Manager) at admin@frometowncouncil.gov.uk or call Frome Town Council on 01373 465757. Also, are dogs off lead a problem and would you support FTC deciding to impose a Dog Control Order to restrict dogs to the lead (or when asked to by an officer)?

Bath Road Heights latest: Responses have been received from local residents, Frome Town Council, Frome Civic Society and Mendip officers, to the planning application by Latona Leisure for 7 new houses at Bath Road Heights. Please see the comments, reports and plans for application 2016/1593/FUL here.  In my ‘ward councillor’ response I focused on the need for the site to be developed so the site can be completed and the access road surfaced to a good standard, so long as there is a pedestrian crossing for Bath Road so residents can cross safely into Frome.  The previous application and why it was refused can be found here. Somerset Highways’ response now includes a request for a pedestrian crossing. I will keep you updated.

Fromefield Co-op update: In May I had a meeting with the Radstock Co-op and local residents to discuss our concerns about the design and appearance of the Co-op store and its impact it on the setting of neighbouring listed buildings and the Conservation Area within which it sits. I and local residents have continued to ask Radco to discuss improving the look of the store to blend it in more with its surroundings to enhance rather than detract from the area, but they have refused, stating that the costs of replacing the metal panels are prohibitive. Please let me know if you would like to come to a residents’ meeting to discuss this further.

It is also apparent that delivery lorries have not always been conforming to the requirement in the developer’s own planning approved Service Management Statement for articulated lorries to both enter and exit the car park in forward gear (which their consultants calculated was possible, with a swept path analysis reported in the approved Highways Impact Statement). I have heard reports of articulated lorries blocking traffic and causing delays in Fromefield while they reverse in and out, and also a report of lorry parking directly outside the store while waiting to enter, which means drivers had to manoeuvre around it with no sight of oncoming traffic. I have asked Radco to assure me that these issues are not continuing. I will be reporting it Mendip’s planning enforcement team and Somerset Highways if they are. Please let me know if you have seen or have photos of lorries reversing or can help in any other way.  Please see here for previous news, including how it got permission.

Also, do we need a 20mph speed limit along Fromefield? Please let me know if you would support this. A nasty accident earlier this year left a car on its roof although luckily the driver was not seriously injured.

Packsaddle park update: Good news for residents of the Packsaddle area – Frome Town Council agreed at the Council Matters Committee meeting in August to spend £7,500 on improvements to Packsaddle park, and to let local residents decide what to spend that on. This is only possible because earlier this year, I, FTC and other councillors (including Alvin Horsfall) persuaded Mendip District Council’s Corporate Assets Management Group to agree to transfer the park (along with the Chapmans Close games court and Tower View park) to FTC to manage on a long lease, which I asked FTC to request in December 2014.

Frome Neighbourhood Plan referendum: A referendum will be held on the Frome Neighbourhood Plan on Thursday 20 October 2016, to ask the people of Frome the question “Do you want Mendip District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Frome to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area [Frome]?”. The Neighbourhood Plan was prepared by Frome Town Council in consultation with residents and community organisations, and includes policies on housing, building design, protecting employment land, the town centre, and the river corridor. If more than 50% of voters approve, it will be used in decision making and future planning for Frome, and also allow the Town Council to receive more funding for Frome from developments. The Plan also commits the Town Council to work with Mendip and others to produce local planning guidance which could mean more funding from development towards improving parks, sports, leisure and open spaces in Frome.  Please see here for the press release and here for the document. The Plan originally included a number of policies that were removed or watered down first by Mendip District Council’s planners and then by the independent Examiner, but the remaining 8 policies are: Building a balanced community, Building by design, Self Build and Community Housing, Protection of Employment Land, Town Centre Remodelling, The Westway Centre, The Cattle Market Car Park, and The River Corridor.  

Recycling Centre permits: New permit requirements for trailers to enter Frome household waste recycling centre (and others in Somerset) are being brought in by Somerset Waste Partnership on Monday 3rd October, in an attempt to reduce queuing. From 3rd October, people will need a free permit to tow trailers into recycling centres by cars, or to enter with a van (up to 3.5 tonnes) or a pick-up. Also, people will not be able to tow trailers into recycling centres using vans or pick-ups at all. Permits will allow recycling site use on weekdays and 1pm-4pm on Saturdays (not Saturday mornings or Sundays). Residents who bring their household waste in cars without trailers, people carriers and campervans, will not need a permit. Please see here for details. I am hoping this will not increase flytipping further.

Flytipping: the 18 month closure of Gypsy Lane to through traffic remains in place as part of Mendip District Council’s action plan against flytipping, which is now much lower than previous levels. Please do keep letting me know whether you see any flytipping in the area. I have asked MDC to organise clearances where it has appeared on the edge of Frome.

Oldford Hill road closure: Somerset County Council have announced a road closure is planned at the B3090 Oldford Hill, just outside Frome, north of Bath Road, on October 17th for 10 days, including the weekend, to enable drainage works to be carried out in this road. In February I complained to to Somerset Highways that the field runoff onto the road was making the road icy and dangerous. The official diversion route is a little long (see here. N.B. the date has been postponed to October 17th) and as Gypsy Lane/Berkley Lane is closed, it means using the bypass (via Berkley Road/Clink) or going into Oldford via Cuckoo Lane/Iron Mill Lane. Please contact Somerset’s Road Closure Team by email: ttro@somerset.gov.uk if you have any queries.

Grounds maintenance: I have had a number of comments/complaints recently that some green open spaces (and the green corridor and path between Forest Road and the hospital) have not been maintained properly, and have raised these with Mendip’s Operational Assets team. Please let me know if there are any more areas that need attending to.

Bath Road speeding: The latest traffic speed monitoring at Bath Road by Somerset County Council in May 2016 showed an average (median) speed of 34 mph (4mph above the posted speed limit of 30mph) and an 85%ile speed of 39mph (3 mph above the ‘action’ level of 36mph).  The speed of traffic here therefore justifies action in order to ensure pedestrian safety. I raised this issue in my response (here) to the Bath Road Heights planning application to support the case for a pedestrian crossing to be installed (see above), and for action to be taken to reduce traffic speeds. I have also asked Somerset County Council to secure a scheme of traffic calming to reduce traffic speeds and improve safety for current and future residents and College pupils. Residents have also raised speeding as an issue in response to the planning application. The safety of pupils of Frome Community College who get off the bus or are dropped off here by parents every school day, would benefit from a safe pedestrian crossing. I understand from the county councillor that a request has been made for Somerset County Council to extend the 30mph limit northwards along Oldford Hill and eastwards along Gypsy Lane, so drivers know to slow down earlier, but I await news on the outcome of that request.

Stonebridge Drive: Residents continue to be concerned about the layout of the humps and the 2m gap between them along Stonebridge Drive. Somerset County Council officers have decided not to progress any improvements to traffic calming in the foreseeable future, as monitored traffic speeds on average remain below the ‘action level’, there have been no road injury accidents recently, and budgets are tight.  However, SCC admit that the road will need resurfacing at some point in the future, so the humps would be replaced at that point. I do agree that the humps are outdated and unfit for purpose as they allow vehicles to speed through the middle facing oncoming vehicles, which leads to near-misses and car damage at times, and in my opinion they should be replaced with a modern solution as part of a resurfacing scheme and 20mph zone as soon as possible. I would like to progress a 20 mph zone or limit for the area (and other areas of Frome, including Fromefield) where residents want it – please let me know if you would support this. Ideally I would like to see a Traffic Action Group for Frome to ensure better working and a set of priorities to be agreed between Town and County councils, as a district councillor I am ‘piggy in the middle’.

Changing Places Toilet: I have also raised the issue of the need for a ‘Changing Places standard’ toilet for severely disabled people in Frome, as the current Frome Market Yard toilets are not suitable for more profoundly disabled people who need a hoist and changing table. Several towns in Wiltshire have these already. I will be helping to investigate sources of funding, a suitable location and site security, further with local residents and both Mendip and Frome Town Councils.

Locks Hill surgery closure consultation: In July, Frome Medical Practice announced they were considering closing their satellite surgery at Locks Hill, and ran a public consultation with patients until 19th August (see here).  Some 386 patients responded (see here). In my response I asked FMP to assess how the closure would affect access to GPs for patients who live closer to the Locks Hill site, and how the car park at the main Frome Health Centre would be able to cope. After the parking problems there were highlighted earlier in the year (with the car park full at peak times), I discussed the options with staff from Frome Medical Practice and the Community Hospital.  We now await the decision of NHS England on the future of Locks Hill surgery.

Frome Youth & Community Centre future under threat? I am aware of the problems Mendip YMCA are having with Somerset County Council in securing the future of the Frome Youth & Community Centre on Vallis Way, see here. I hope to meet Mendip YMCA soon with other councillors to see how we can help overcome the impasse. Do you use the centre? If so please get in touch.

Super Frome 10k: In July I ran the Frome 10k (part of the Frome Half Marathon events) as Super Mario (which Japan’s Prime Minister was obviously inspired by!). I am trying to raise money for Cancer Research UK – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AdamBoyden2016 . Thanks to everyone who came to cheer us on, and well done to everyone who ran. I am also encouraging donations to Daryl Allinson’s fundraising page for his life-saving bone marrow treatment.  Thank you for any support you can give.

Neighbourhood Services: I have been appointed to the Shadow Cabinet to keep an eye on the new Neighbourhood Services portfolio of work at Mendip. This covers Cemetery Management & Bereavement, Parks, Play & Open Spaces, Engineering & Flood Alleviation, CCTV, Facilities Management & Public Conveniences, Markets & Events, Leisure, Waste & Recycling, Car Parking and Road Closures, Street Cleaning & Fly Tipping, Asset Maintenance, Corporate H&S and Customer Services Meet & Greet and Council Access Points. I attended a meeting with the Cabinet member responsible (cllr Nigel Taylor) and other councillors in late August, where we discussed staffing issues, new powers to control flygrazing, street cleaning in Frome, and the Council’s forthcoming reviews of car parking charges and Frome’s twice weekly markets.

Mendip District Council news: See here for news of progress on the Neighbourhood Plans for Frome, Rode and Walton, a reprieve for a famous mural in Glastonbury, and celebrating cultural diversity.  At Mendip’s next meeting, the Cabinet will discuss (on Monday 12th September) budgets, performance, the potential for a new planning charge on developments (Community Infrastructure Levy) to fund local infrastructure improvements, and the future development of the council’s office site. Scrutiny Board (Monday 19th September) will consider how to implement the Control of Horse Act 2015 to control flygrazing (illegal grazing of horses), which has been a big problem in this area in the recent past.

Frome Town Council news: News this month includes: helping young people find Apprenticeships; how FTC Rangers are improving the river; how to help decide priorities of the Performing Arts Panel; the Showfield Spectacular (see above); helping older people in Mendip; asking residents to decide how the Town Council spend some of its budget (Participatory Budgeting), including for Packsaddle park (see above); a feasibility study for self-build housing at Lower Keyford Lane; cyber security; supporting the Frome foodbank; business breakfasts; seeking a sustainability officer (maternity cover); Frome’s trees; the Frome Community Fridge; Clean and Green Frome.

Frome Town Council’s next meeting is on Wednesday 21 September, 7pm at Rook Lane Chapel, when councillors will discuss whether the council can support the 267 evening bus service (if needed, as if B&NES withdraw the subsidy and Somerset County Council will not take it up, the service is likely to end soon – see here for more and how you can help).  The full agenda will be posted here nearer the time.

Protecting the River: I spoke in support of the proposal to protect the River Frome through a groundbreaking new ‘nature bylaw’ at the first meeting of the Town Matters Committee early in August, at which councillors agreed to the proposal, and also discussed trees and a potential self build housing scheme at Lower Keyford Lane.

Lib Dem news: The Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron has announced the party’s policy on the future relationship of the UK with the European Union: “Theresa May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ mantra actually doesn’t mean very much at all. We have still had no answers the big questions about Britain’s future. Will our businesses still have access to the Single Market, with all the benefits in brings for British jobs and our economy? What will happen to freedom of movement … for Brits who want to live and work in Europe? What will happen to the British citizens who already live, work and study on the continent or EU citizens who have made their lives in the UK? What will it mean for the science and research funding that keeps British science at the cutting edge? … The British people have a right to know the answers and they have a right to have their say on whether the deal being offered to them is right for them… Liberal Democrats believe that the British people should have their say on the final Brexit deal in a referendum. To be clear, this would not be a re-run of the last referendum but an opportunity for the British people to have their say on what comes next. Voting for a departure is not the same as voting for a destination. … In the meantime, our party has another vital task, to fight for an open, tolerant and united country …” See the announcement here and the policy explained here.  My previous thoughts in June (including calling for a referendum on the Brexit deal) are here.

Lib Dem news, and how to join and register for the Party Conference later in September can be found here.

Thank you for reading,
Adam

Adam Boyden
Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward (Liberal Democrat) www.adamboyden.mycouncillor.org.uk

Thank you for reading,
Adam

Adam Boyden
Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward (Liberal Democrat) www.adamboyden.mycouncillor.org.uk

I am sending you this email as you are on my contacts list and an email newsletter is a good way of keeping residents informed about local council–related news and my work as a local councillor. You can opt out and ‘unsubscribe’ from this email from any time, please just reply to this email to let me know. Thanks.

Useful Contacts:

Adam Boyden, Mendip District Councillor, Frome College ward (Lib Dem): 07809 284817, aomboyden@yahoo.co.uk, www.adamboyden.mycouncillor.org.uk  

Frome Town Council – 5 Palmer Street, Frome, 01373 465757, http://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/news/

Mendip District Council – 0300 303 8588, http://www.mendip.gov.uk/resident

Somerset County Council – 0300 123 2224, https://somersetnewsroom.com/

Lib Dem news: http://www.libdems.org.uk/news

InFacts, the fact-based case to remain, can be found here.

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  1. […] I reported in September, residents remain concerned about the 2m gap between speed humps along Stonebridge Drive, as […]

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