by adamboyden on 16 April, 2017
Vote on Victoria Park toilets – last chance today!
Today Sunday 16th April is your last chance to vote on what to do with the Victoria Park toilets. The existing toilets are in a poor state; and it has cost up to £20,000 per year just to keep the toilets open in recent years. This isn’t desirable or sustainable – so Frome Town Council are asking residents two questions:
1) Do you want public toilets in Victoria Park? (Yes or No)
2) If Yes, what is your preferred option for providing better toilets in the park?
Please see here today to take part.
Volunteer in Frome
Frome Town Council’s new Volunteer database links people who want to volunteer their time helping local charities and community organisations, with the organisations that need help (such as Mendip YMCA or Mendip Community Credit Union) – please see here to sign up, register an interest or find out more.
The Somerset County Council elections are on May 4th. Somerset deals with highways and transport, education, children’s services, adult social care and youth services, minerals planning, waste disposal/recycling and much more. I am standing for Frome North division, which covers ‘my’ ward of Frome College, the Innox and Welshmill areas of Frome, as well as Beckington, Rode, Norton St Philip, and other villages. My record as a councillor for Frome College ward at Mendip (and previously on Frome Town Council), and my personal and the Lib Dem county manifesto for Somerset are here. The realistic choice is between me and the current councillor Linda Oliver (Conservative), as the Greens (also standing) only got 6% last time, and there are no independents or Labour candidates.
A byelection has also been called for Frome College ward as the other councillor, Conservative Mike Rideout, resigned after a bout of ill health. Our candidate is Alex Shingler, a recent former Deputy Mayor for Young People. A statement from Alex can be found here. Please let me know if you would like to support us in any way, with a poster in a window or garden, or help with delivering leaflets! (or if you have any questions).
With other candidates, I have written in the Frome Times and Standard about some of the issues the Somerset County Council is failing Frome residents on, and how it could do much better and be more ambitious and in tune with Frome, please see here. Local residents have endorsed me for the election – please see here (and thank you to everyone who said something nice!).
Over the next few weeks we will be knocking door to door to listen to any concerns that need dealing with or ideas you have to improve Frome, in addition to the normal emails and calls. If we don’t see you and you’d like to get in touch please just email me at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you! And don’t forget to vote!
Local NHS news: NHS England’s decision to allow Frome Medical Practice to close the satellite Locks Hill surgery, is reported here. When this was first proposed last year I attended meetings with Frome Medical Practice, Frome Town Council and Fair Frome, to discuss the potential impacts of closure and the alternatives. I was concerned at the closure for residents of that area, but thought it may be inevitable due to Government NHS spending squeezes feeding down into local decisions, and as the closure will save FMP £50,000 a year and the wider NHS another £100,000 a year. So I pressed for a better bus service from the Locks Hill area to help people get there who do not have a car (and to relieve pressure on the car park), and was happy to help FMP, Somerset County Council and Frome Minibuses arrange to divert the half hourly number 30 bus to the main road outside the Hospital and Medical Centre, as well as asking FMP to help Frome Community Cars establish a volunteer driver scheme through a grant. I was concerned about car park capacity and talked to FMP and the Hospital, as some were talking up the prospect of charging people to park here, and was happy to see a review of the car park by staff (and survey by volunteers) may have freed up capacity for patients.
I also wrote to the local newspapers to encourage people not to park in patients spaces to shop or walk their dog. We also really need to continue to press for local NHS services to be retained and improved, when proposals take shape under the Somerset and B&NES NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans – I have registered my interest in being consulted and you can do so too by emailing STPfeedback@somersetccg.nhs.uk and ruh-tr.STP-BSW@nhs.net. I also recently talked to Hospital Matron Hayley Hughes about the pressures the NHS is facing, and encouraged the RUH Trust to consult her and local GPs about their review of the birthing suite in Frome (which had been announced in the Frome Times), as they had not.
I am also hoping to help the Medical Centre and Hospital sort out a bus shelter at the hospital to keep passengers waiting for a bus on site dry and warmer, with a little help from the Friends.
Hospital Forum: the next Frome Community Hospital public forum is 6-8pm on Monday 24th April at the Moxon Suite upstairs at the Hospital – do go along, even for 5 minutes, to keep up with any news and find out more about hospital services – details are here.
Tree Planting in Stonebridge proposed: Frome Town Council are planning to plant trees in the Stonebridge area – this will involve FTC fllowing up initial discussions with Somerset and Mendip councils and home owners to increase tree cover on their land, specifically along Stonebridge Drive, Brunel Way, Birch Walk, Holly Court and Priddy Close as well as in the Old Showfield. This is being discussed at the Town Council’s next meeting on Wednesday 19 April 7pm at the new Frome Town Hall – see agenda here and the full report here. Please contact FTC’s Environment Manager to find out more on 01373 465757 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Showfield improvements and repairs: Frome Town Council is planning more improvements to the Old Showfield soon, including more footpath resurfacing, tree planting and seating, and a fence around the play area. When the footpath circuit is complete, ‘Parkrun’ can be organised here. This is because the Town Council took over the Old Showfield in 2015, which I helped sort out. I have also asked the Town Council to repair the broken play equipment, and have been told that the equipment has been ordered. Playground improvements for toddlers are also planned but depend on funding. I and Alex Shingler (Mendip byelection candidate) will continue to ask the Town Council to pay attention to this area.
Packsaddle park transfer nearly complete: Frome Town Council have confirmed (see report to next FTC meeting here) that the legal process to transfer the parks at Packsaddle Way and Chapmans Close is nearly complete and they should take the lease in early summer. These open spaces will be better protected and local people will have a much greater say in how they are managed and improved. Once this happens, local residents will be asked to vote on improvement plans later this year. It’s good to see this progress after persuading both Frome Town and Mendip District Councils to the transfers, with the support of the Packsaddle Community Group.
Litter picks clean up Stonebridge and Gypsy Lane: In early March over 20 men, women and children took part in the ‘Great British Spring Clean’ community litter picks at Stonebridge and Gypsy Lane, which I helped organise with local residents Annabel & Phil Macey and Alex Newton respectively. We collected dozens of bags of litter and several tyres from the Stonebridge stream, green spaces, local footpaths, the old Showfield, and along Gypsy Lane. It was great to see such community spirit and the difference it made, and hope to organise more litter picks later this year. Thanks go to all the volunteers, and to the ‘lone rangers’ who help keep our streets and spaces cleaner every week. Please get in touch if you want to join future litter picks, or to borrow a litter grabber to help at your leisure. If you see litter building up anywhere please tell me so I can contact Mendip’s Neighbourhood Services team.
Post Office closure: Fromefield Post Office is now closed as the Postmaster has retired due to ill health. As this is an important service I have asked the Post Office what they can do to find someone to run it – and they are now in discussions with a potential new operator. Fingers are crossed, and I will keep you informed if this progresses.
Changing Places: After the successful motion I proposed to make Mendip District Council facilitate Changing Places facilities for people who cannot use standard disabled toilet was passed in February (see here), the Equalities Group at Mendip is taking the issue forward, costing the work needed, consulting stakeholders and identifying the best location of a facility in Frome, Wells, Shepton Mallet, Glastonbury and Street. Part of the funding has been found for one in Frome, from a Section 106 agreement for a local development, but more will be needed. Discussions and investigations will continue and decisions will be made at May’s full council meeting.
Is 20 plenty where you live?:
Fromefield: I know there have been problems with damage to parked cars in Fromefield. Have you had problems with speeding vehicles causing damage, accidents or near misses? If so I will pass on any evidence to our Councils and ask them to act. One option would be to ask the County Council to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph here if residents want this – please let me know if you would be in favour.
Stonebridge Drive – The Principal of Frome Community College has requested a 20 mph speed limit for Stonebridge Drive due to concerns about pupils safety. Frome Town Council agreed to ask the County Council what work is involved, and traffic speeds have been surveyed. Speeding is low but this area could be suitable for a 20 mph zone and better traffic calming. A residents’ petition is also calling for changes to the speed cushions which have 2m wide gaps to reduce the ‘cutting in’ problem, but the County Council has refused to alter the speed cushions as speeding is not high enough to qualify as a priority for action. If elected to County Council I will seek to improve the traffic calming scheme to close the gaps and eliminate cutting in, with a 20 mph limit if residents are in favour, to improve the quality of life here.
Forest Road – Some local residents have also called for a 20 mph speed limit for Forest Road after a series of recent accidents where speeding cars have left the road and hit fences, a wall and a lamppost, putting school children and other residents at risk. I asked Frome Town Council to ask the County Council what can be done, and traffic speeds have been surveyed. Speeding here is not frequent, but Forest Road should also be suitable for a 20 mph zone and some traffic calming if residents are in favour.
Bath Road – Speed monitoring has again been undertaken on Bath Road to assess the speed of traffic coming into Frome – speeds are still high here, well over ‘action level’ of 36 mph, but SCC still propose no action. The 30 mph zone was supposed to be moved northwards from the Gypsy Lane/Cuckoo Lane junction, but I have seen no progress on that. Frome’s Community Speed Watch coordinator has asked for a permanent flashing sign at Bath Road, as well as at Forest Road and Stonebridge near the College, to help make drivers aware of their speed and keep speeds down. If elected I would work on making that happen.
What do you think? Please get in touch to have your say.
Bath Road Heights: There is no news on the Mendip Lodge Hotel site at Bath Road Heights/Thomas Bunn Lane. The developer has three years to start the development of 7 houses after planning permission was granted in (see here for details). A pedestrian crossing is required for Bath Road here under a planning condition, before the new houses are occupied, which I helped ensure. If elected county councillor I would have more say on the type of crossing that the developer proposes and the district and county councils agrees to, and will push to ensure a proper safe crossing here. I am also pushing Mendip to get the landowner to clean up the site here as it remains an eyesore.
Fromefield reversing lorries: When the Fromefield Co-op got planning permission, a condition required delivery lorries to go in forwards and turn around to unload after car park spaces have been cordoned off. Last year, residents complained that lorries were reversing in, and blocking traffic at the busy junction, so I took the issue up with Radstock Co-operative and Mendip District Council. The Co-op corrected their procedures and put signs up to stop drivers reversing in – if you see it happening again, please let me know. I have also supported residents’ complaints to Mendip on the appearance of the shop – we await news of whether the Local Government Ombudsman agrees – and have asked Radco to improve it as it is in a Conservation Area and next to listed buildings , which they have refused due to cost.
Ashtree Road bridge: I have asked Somerset County Council to repair the damaged bridge over the stream as soon as possible; it is on their ‘to do list’ but ‘not a priority’ and no date has been set. This is really not good enough and I will continue to argue for action.
I have been helping the campaign by the Frome & Villages Bus User Group (FAVBUG) and other councillors to save the 267 Bath/Frome weekday evening bus services, so that people in Frome, Beckington, Rode and Norton St Philip can continue to get home from work, hospital and college in Bath. Conservative-run B&NES Council’s funding review last summer prompted over 70 residents to ask for the service to be retained, but they cut funding anyway. First Buses then agreed to run the Friday and Saturday services commercially, but the Conservative administration at Somerset refused to fully subsidise Monday-Thursday. So a deal had to be thrashed out between First Buses and Frome Town, B&NES, Somerset County and three Parish Councils to raise the funds to retain weekday services for 4 months until September. I first suggested such a deal last summer. The 267 Group now has until June to find a more long-term solution to saving the service, and are now considering various options as well as how to increase passenger numbers. See here for details and here for FAVBUG’s news blog. We need people to use it, or we may lose it. New timetables for the 267 have been produced – see here.
Do you or could you use the evening buses? Can you help raise awareness? The 267 Group proposes a leaflet be delivered to every house in Frome and the villages to make people more aware of the service – can you help deliver this? Get in touch with me or Rode councillor Peter Travis at email@example.com if you can help the campaign.
Litter and flytipping
The 18 month temporary road closure along Gypsy Lane, installed by Somerset County and Mendip District Councils last Spring to combat flytipping, remains in force. Thank you to the residents who alert me to flytipping incidents on the western stretch of Gypsy Lane towards Bath Road, Cuckoo Lane and elsewhere locally, which I report to Mendip for clearance. I have also asked repeatedly for action to clear litter and rubbish on the old Mendip Lodge Hotel site, which is an eyesore. I have also helped residents report a build up of green waste at a large pyre at a local farm, as this is likely to lead to illegal burning of waste and smoke nuisance, which we had last autumn. I hope this does not re-occur.
Frome Town Council news
The next Frome Town Council meeting is on Wednesday 19th April at the new Town Hall – see here – which will discuss the Town Hall, public votes on council matters, finance, open spaces and tree planting.
Recent news from FTC includes forthcoming meetings, electric car charging points, Vote on Victoria Park toilets (see above), the Annual Town Meeting, a political survey, the move into the new Frome Town Hall, the temporary closure of The Butts, hedgehogs, the Community Fridge, the Share Shop, the launch of a Volunteer Frome database, a new Crowdfund Frome scheme, participatory budgeting (‘let the people decide’), the Frome Co-Wheels car share scheme, a self-build register, Frome Community Cars, Parkrun (see above), energy efficiency (a thermal imaging camera is available), the Community Fridge, the Recycle More scheme (see above), and Boyle Cross appeal decision and visualisations of the scheme. Agendas and minutes of FTC Meetings can be found here.
Mendip District Council news
News from MDC recently includes: Shape Mendip Lottery, Collective Energy Switching (save money on your fuel bills) and details of election nominations – see here; and in March (see here) a new policy on combating flygrazing (illegal dumping of horses on other people’s land), Mendip Business Survey, and further improvements proposed to MDC’s campus (‘Shape Mendip hub’).
Thank you for reading,
Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward (Liberal Democrat) and candidate for Somerset County Council election for Frome North division on May 4th 2017
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 – part of my commitment to residents. You can opt out and ‘unsubscribe’ from this email from any time, please just reply to this email to let me know. Thanks.
Frome Town Council – 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