by adamboyden on 6 July, 2017
As one of your ward councillors I need to keep you updated on a few things:
I am working on a few other things including helping progress a Changing Places facility in Frome town centre, tackling litter, getting clearance of vegetation along paths, and to get a path resurfaced, as well as nagging the Town Council about the Showfield – I will write more on those issues next time.
Frome Half Marathon: Please see here at http://fromehalfmarathon.co.uk/ how people can help during the 5th annual Frome Half Marathon/10k/5k and 1k races, being held on Sunday 16th July through the area (specifically Forest Road and Brunel Way) – in brief you can email email@example.com to register as a volunteer (unless you’re already running!). I should be doing the 10k again anyway.
Grange Road mobile phone mast UPDATED: As you may know a planning application (for ‘prior approval’) has been submitted by Vodafone for a 15m high mobile phone mast and base station on the corner of Grange Road with Bath Road – comprising a 15m shrouded monopole with microwave dishes, equipment cabinets and ancilliary works (application ref. 2017/1163/TEL, see here and last month’s news). Two public meetings were arranged by Frome Town Councillor Nick White, for residents to comment on the plans. I attended the last one, when 70 residents came along. The plans have also been revised to remove the dishes and one of the cabinets, but otherwise remain. Over 100 comments have been submitted by residents, and I and the county councillor also responded (see here; my comments are dated 1 and 28 June) – I objected to the proposal as inappropriate in a residential area, and asked for the applicants to submit information to demonstrate the proposals meet public exposure guidelines and that relevant alternative sites have been assessed.
Update, 14th July: Mendip’s planning officers have refused the application, stating that “the development would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area by virtue of the height of the mast which would be a prominent alien feature which is out of keeping with the domestic scale of the surrounding area. It is considered the harm
is not outweighed by the public benefit of improved telecommunications. The proposal is considered to be contrary to DP1 (local identity) and DP7 (design and amenity) of the Mendip District Local Plan 2006-2029 (Part 1 Strategies and Policies – adopted 15th December 2014) and the National Planning Policy Framework, with particular regard to paragraph 17, and chapter 5, and The Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development in England, 2013.” Please see the officer report and decision notice here. The applicants will now need to find another site, or could possibly submit an appeal.
Pedestrian island proposed at Bath Road Heights: In last month’s news I explained that I had objected to proposals by the developer of 7 new houses at the old Mendip Lodge Hotel site on Bath Road, to install ‘dropped kerbs’ instead of a proper pedestrian crossing across Bath Road. A planning condition requires a ‘pedestrian crossing’ for residents of the new development as the site is isolated from the footpath network, and traffic is fast with average speeds of 38 mph. I recently met with Mendip’s planning officer and the developer’s planning and highways consultants to explain my concerns for residents safety, and asked the developer’s team to withdraw the proposals and improve their scheme. The developer’s team argued against a requirement for a zebra or signalled crossing, due to the cost and likely low numbers of people using the crossing, and safety issues associated with a zebra crossing next to a bus stop on a main road with speeding issues. However they agreed to submit a new improved proposal for a new pedestrian ‘island’ across Bath Road. Please see the revised plans here. I think this is a welcome improvement. A pedestrian island will allow people to cross the road easier with half the distance to cross to safety, and the island will protect people from vehicles with raised kerbs and lit bollards either side. But what do you think? To respond, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (quoting planning reference 2017/0992/APP) to have your say. I will also push for the access road to be adopted by Somerset County Council (after completion of the houses and resurfacing to a high standard), and the grass to be a adopted by Mendip as public open space. I have also asked Somerset County Council to prepare plans to slow traffic down here – such as a permanent flashing sign, and to move the 30mph limit northwards – and I have also asked Frome Town Council to see what can be done.
Evening buses: I understand that we need our local councils to agree this month to continue funding the 267 evening weekday Bath-Frome bus service, in order for First to continue running the service past the end of August. No other company is interested in doing so. Since April, the service has been funded by a coalition of concerned councils (Frome Town, B&NES, Somerset County, Beckington, Rode, and Norton St Philip Parish Councils) after B&NES Council reduced funding – please see here for previous news on that. I understand some councils are in favour of continuing their share of funding, but others are not. Update: Last Wednesday, Frome Town Councillors refused to continue their support, saying it was a one-off. I will be helping bus campaigners and other councillors ask Somerset County Council and other parishes to maintain some support.
Fromefield Post Office news: I asked the Post Office for an update recently, and they informed that they are in the final stages of negotiation with a potential operator who has proposed to take over a Post Office in Fromefield. This is really good news, and we await details and hope it will come to fruition.
Packsaddle Way site developer consults community on emerging plans: The potential developer of land at the end of Packsaddle Way has arranged a public consultation on Thursday July 6th in St Mary’s Church Hall, Frome, between 2pm and 7pm ‘to allow the local community to come along to convey their thoughts and ideas for the proposed development at Packsaddle Way. People from the local community will individually or as pairs, be able to sit down and discuss their ideas with an architect / members of the design team from RADM Architects. The design team will provide imagery for discussion on the latest ideas, please note that there is no current planning applications for the site… [The] sit down informal sessions will be held at approximately 15 minute intervals.’ Before this was arranged, I was contacted by and met RADM 2 weeks ago to see what they were planning. I encouraged them to consult local residents, and explained my and local residents’ objections to the previous development proposals (see here and here). I would encourage people to contact the architects to make an appointment and go along on Thursday – email to email@example.com or call 01244 350 628. Although the site is shown in the Mendip Local Plan Part 2 Issues and Options paper as a potentially suitable housing development site (along with many other sites), it is not yet adopted as such and the Draft Local Plan Part 2 will be consulted on in September (see updated here).
Affordable housing in Frome: Fair Housing for Frome are a local group concerned about homelessness and housing problems in Frome, and are holding another public meeting at Frome Town Hall, on Monday 17th July at 6.00-8.00pm, about the problem of homelessness – please see here. I hope to work with the group to improve how Mendip District Council works on housing issues.
Frome Community Hospital Forum: the next public forum at Frome Community Hospital is on Monday 24th July at 6.00-8.00pm, in the Moxon Suite upstairs. Please come along to hear about your local hospital services. The hospital say: “You can drop in any time, even if you only have 5 minutes to spare. This will be a relaxed informal evening with Hayley Hughes, Matron, and other members of staff from various departments. We would like your ideas, comments, feedback, or just a chat, and for us to be able to share information about your hospital and the services we provide. This could also be an opportunity to become a member of the Friends of Frome Hospital, find out more about volunteering at the hospital or to find out about other support services in the local area.”
Frome College residents meeting: the last Residents Group meeting at Frome Community College is next Wednesday 12th July at 3.15pm, for tea and cakes and an opportunity to say farewell to Principal Gavin Ball who is leaving this term to take up a new post elsewhere in Somerset. Please let Sue Gattiker know if you can attend via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frome Sport and Fitness repairs due: Fusion, who lease Mendip District Council’s 5 leisure centres on a 50 year lease, have agreed to undertake work to Frome Sports & Leisure Centre, to replace the swimming pool boiler and to address problems with low water pressure and the drainage from the poolside shower (which drains into the little pool). The artificial pitch surface will also be replaced over the summer. Fusion presented their Annual Report to a MDC Leisure Strategy Board last week, which I participated in. Their report showed increases in membership and usage since they took over in 2015/16. The report will be made public at a future Cabinet meeting. I also raised issues: the temperature in the sports hall, and the need for a Changing Places facility to increase disabled access, which will need to be addressed.
Showfield: I have asked Frome Town Council to give an update on the repairs and improvements due to the old Showfield. An update should be with us shortly.
Council to address climate change: After I raised the issue at Mendip full council in December, I took part in a Climate Change Working Group meeting to discuss the proposal for MDC to join the Local Government Association’s Climate Local scheme and prepare a Climate Action Plan, to identify ways the council can reduce carbon emissions in the district, to help meet the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Officers will now prepare a proposal for consideration. Frome Town Council adopted a Clean Energy and ‘fossil fuel free’ strategy, and held an EU-sponsored conference, last year.
Mendip meetings – any questions? The next Mendip District Council Cabinet meeting is on Monday 10th July in Shepton Mallet, discussing the draft economic strategy, empty homes, and changes to Scrutiny Board. The next full council meeting is on Monday 17th July – the agenda includes a new corporate strategy for the Council, membership of boards and committees, and the proposed changes to Scrutiny Board (see here). Please let me know if you have any questions you would like me to raise, or please put a question in yourself – see http://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/1791/Committees–Meetings
Frome Town Council news: http://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/news/
Mendip District Council news: http://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/5237/End-Loneliness-in-Mendip-campaign—focus-on-carers
Thank you for your support: Thank you to everyone who supported me and Alex at the recent local elections, and Mark Blackburn at the General Election. My message to all our supporters is here . The new Mendip ward councillor for Frome College ward, Carole Bullen (Conservative), can be contacted at email@example.com. Re-elected Somerset County Councillor for Frome North Linda Oliver (Conservative) can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark can be contacted at email@example.com, and please see more about Mark here http://www.libdems.org.uk/mark_blackburn and the Somerton & Frome Lib Dems here https://somertonandfromelibdems.org.uk/en/.
Thanks for reading,
Liberal Democrat, Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward
07809 284817, email firstname.lastname@example.org