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October newsletter

by adamboyden on 21 October, 2016

Dear All,
A quick update – and some questions at the end for you –
Referendum approves Frome’s Neighbourhood Plan:
Yesterday the people of Frome voted to back proposals for a new Neighbourhood Plan, with 86% voting in favour and 14% against. A total of 3,631 people voted – a turnout of 17.9% (see more details here). Voters were asked asked 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?”.  Earlier this week I encouraged everyone to take a look here and vote Yes, as it is our chance to say we should have more control of planning new developments in Frome. The Frome Neighbourhood Plan was prepared by Frome Town Council in consultation with residents and community organisations in the town and includes policies on housing, design and a number of area-specific policies for sites in Frome. This is the first Neighbourhood Plan to have gone to a referendum in Mendip. The Plan still needs to be formally ‘made’ by Mendip District Council (at the next full council meeting in December) to become part of the development plan used in decision making and future planning for Frome, but up to then it will be given very significant weight.  For further information on the Frome Neighbourhood Plan, please see
I have been working on a range of issues as usual, and will report back fully next week, including on:
          the closure of Locks Hill surgery – I attended a meeting in September and raised concerns about increased pressures on parking at the main surgery/hospital health park, and put forward ideas to improve bus and community car transport between south/east Frome and the main health park;
          campaigning to save the 267 evening bus services (with FAVBUG, lobbying B&NES, Somerset County, Mendip District, Frome Town and other parish Councils);
          asking Somerset County Council to fix the roof and heating (and fire alarm) at Frome Youth & Community Centre – so youth clubs can use the centre again and Mendip YMCA can move forward with improvement plans;
          liaising with Frome Town Council, Selwood Academy and others on future improvements to sports facilities and the Showfield, with a very exciting event being planned for the spring;
          investigating the potential to install a Changing Places-standard toilet in Frome, which is needed by profoundly disabled people;
          attending a talk on making Frome greener, cleaner and healthier in energy use, and supporting work to improve home heating (to reduce the number of cold homes and related illnesses), increase renewable energy and encourage cycling, walking and electric car use;
          getting the Fromefield Co-op to correct their delivery procedures to stop lorries reversing in, so that the road is not blocked and traffic is not held up;
          asking for a community noticeboard to be installed (by Frome Town Council with Mendip’s permission) at the Forest Road shops in Stonebridge;
          helping other local councililors organise a public meeting about parking and traffic in the Welshmill and Park Hill Drive area. The County Council now proposes additional yellow line parking restrictions in this area (see here);
          meeting other Lib Dem councillors and candidates for 2017 Somerset County Council elections next May to discuss how to invest in local facilities, provide better services and manage council finances better – currently SCC is predicted to overspend by £22million this financial year, and its Childrens’ Services remain rated inadequate by Ofsted, which means it is letting vulnerable children down.
There is no major news as yet on the Bath Road Heights planning application (other than further information has been requested by planners) and the Mendip Local Plan (Part 2, site allocations, is due by the end of this year).
The next Frome Town Council meeting is next week Wednesday 26th October, 7.00pm at Rook Lane Chapel. The meeting will discuss how to improve sports facilities, energy policies and finance – see the agenda here
In the meantime I would like to ask a few questions:
Q1 – Since services were suspended at Locks Hill surgery at the end of September, have you found it easier or harder to book an appointment with a GP, and is it any harder to park (if  you drive) at the main surgery? I have another meeting about that with FMP and other councillors next Tuesday, so any information you can give would be very useful.
Q2 – If you get the bus out of town, have you been affected by the current road closure at Oldford? This is for road drainage works to stop the road becoming wet and icy. First Buses’ diversion is described here, and Faresaver’s is here. The road closure is operating up to October 28th, this Friday. I have asked First Buses to inform passengers of the diversion by putting notices on the bus stops that are not in use during the diversion. There were problems on the first day of the road closure when some passengers were left stranded at bus stops waiting for a bus that never came.
Q3 – Is it any easier to get into Frome Household Waste Recycling Centre since the new permit requirements were brought in for trailers and vans earlier in October, or does this inconvenience you?
Q4 – Have you seen any Co-op delivery lorries reversing into the Fromefield store recently (or are they always going in forwards and turning around in the car park, as they should be doing)?
Q5 – Have you been affected by speeding traffic where you live? I will be doing a residents survey of the Fromefield area soon.

I would appreciate any feedback you ca give me on any of these.
Please also get in touch if you have any issues you need help with.
Thank you for reading.

Adam Boyden
Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward (Liberal Democrat)
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