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July newsletter

by adamboyden on 22 July, 2018

Dear all,

As one of the councillors for Frome College ward on Mendip District Council, I want to keep you up to date, so please see below for my latest news on local issues:

  • Community orchard proposed at the Old Showfield
  • Planning application for 96 homes at Packsaddle Way has been withdrawn
  • Packsaddle parks in Frome hands
  • Bath Road pedestrian crossing
  • Mobile phone mast at Rodden Road?
  • Frome GP appointments system improvements announced
  • Second Changing Places facility in Mendip opens in Wells
  • Fair Housing and homelessness
  • Boxworks v2 submitted then withdrawn
  • Concessions won on Sunday parking charges
  • Fly problem in north west Frome
  • Mendip inaction on climate change
  • Frome’s renewable energy co-op needs more roofs for solar
  • Action on plastic waste
  • Frome calls for volunteers
  • Lib Dem Politics and a Pint social, Thursday 26th July 7.15 at the Archangel
  • Other Council news, Lib Dem news

Please do let me know anything I may have missed, and tell me what you think (email or

Community orchard proposed at the Old Showfield

Orchard site at old Showfield

Frome Town Council has announced its draft plans for a community orchard at the Old Showfield and is asking for feedback by 4th August (see here). The orchard is proposed to the left of the path and the children’s play area as you look up hill towards the Collegians football pitch, in this picture. The orchard was chosen by a public vote earlier this year. For full details and how to respond please see the consultation page here.

The final repairs to the childrens playground at the Old Showfield have been finished at last, and sections of a fallen Copper Beech tree have been added to the play area. Frome Town Council are encouraging people to use the Outdoor Gym and are running introduction sessions from on Mondays to help people feel confident using the equipment. Further resurfacing of footpaths is planned, and a ‘Parkrun’ is being organised. There is also the Rotary fireworks display to look forward to in November.  Please see here for more info on all this. All this is happening since Frome Town Council took over the Old Showfield a few years ago by buying the main area and leasing the back fields, which I was pleased to help make happen. Please let me know what you think.

Planning application for 96 homes at Packsaddle Way has been withdrawn

The outline planning application for 96 houses at Innox Hill / Packsaddle Way has been withdrawn by the applicants, after many objections and potential reasons for refusal were raised. I objected to this application and to its inclusion as a site allocated in the Pre-Submission Local Plan. Please see here for details.

Packsaddle parks in Frome hands

The long-term leases for Frome Town Council to lease the park at Packsaddle Way, Chapmans Close games court, and the play area at Tower View (opposite the Key Centre at The Mount, in Keyford ward) from Mendip have finally been completed. These areas are now in Town Council hands and can be improved in line with the local community’s wishes. This is after I restarted the process for the Packsaddle areas in 2015 and got MDC’s Corporate Assets Management Group to agree, as they were not a strategic priority for Mendip to improve. This was with other councillors’ help, and against an officer recommendation to sell to developers, after previous requests by FTC to take over Frome’s parks from Mendip had been refused. Please see here for details.

Bath Road pedestrian crossing

The revised plans for the Bath Road ‘pedestrian island’ (see here) which would help new and existing residents of the former Mendip Lodge Hotel site (Thomas Bunn Lane / Bath Road) cross the road, are being considered by Somerset Highways and I understand they should be approved shortly. The pedestrian crossing must be constructed before the 7 new houses under construction are occupied.  As you may know, I argued hard for a zebra crossing or signalled crossing here but was not successful. The county councillor for the area Linda Oliver has also recently informed me that she has won Somerset County Council approval to progress some form of traffic calming scheme for the stretch of Bath Road around the Gypsy Lane crossroads, and that this will be coordinated with the developer’s pedestrian crossing scheme. This is very good news, as traffic speeds coming into Frome have been too fast for years, and at last we might see something done about it.

Mobile phone mast at Rodden Road?

A mobile phone mast may soon be proposed at Rodden Road, after I was contacted by consultants acting for mobile phone companies who previously had plans for one at the corner of Grange Road/Bath Road refused by Mendip DC and at appeal – please see here for details and how to respond.

Frome GP appointments system improvements announced

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey that I and Drew Gardner carried out on the new GP appointment system introduced last November at Frome Medical Practice. It was important to help see what people were experiencing. With over 250 responses in, we prepared a draft report, met the Practice Manager and sent it to the Practice so they could review the findings. Some 12% of respondents were satisfied – patients who have been able to get same day appointments or advice, and prefer not having to wait weeks to see their GP, or hours in the walk in clinic. 66% of respondents were unsatisfied – with busy working people having difficulties having to be available to see their GP the same day, with an inability to make most appointments in advance, and with taking a callback while at work, long waiting times on the phone, concerns about telephone diagnoses, and people with mental health / anxiety issues finding it more stressful.
This is evidence of a significant strain on GP services, with a national and local GP shortage, and NHS underfunding that is just not keeping pace with demand. Over the last 5 years, Somerset CCG has seen a 25% reduction in the number of GPs, and a 17% increase in demand for primary care. Partly in response to the survey, Frome Medical Practice recently carried out a review of their GP appointment system, and have made some improvements as a result. Please see here – and do let me know what you think.
Frome Medical Practice is also helping improve the NHS nationwide by promoting the Community Connectors project started by Dr Kingston and supported by Frome Town Council, which prescribes community contact to reduce loneliness and has reduced emergency hospital admissions (and NHS costs). The Chair of NHS England came to Frome recently to hear all about it and how it can be applied nationwide. Community Connectors help friends, family, colleagues and neighbours find support in their communities. They help lots of people by signposting to services like health, housing, education, exercise and debt. You can train to be a Community Connector for free – to find out more please see here, email or call 01373 468368.

Second Changing Places facility in Mendip opens in Wells

Wells City Council have opened the second Changing Places facility in the district, at Wells Town Hall (see here), with financial support from Mendip District Council (see here) and others. This follows the opening of the first facility in Frome earlier this year (see my news here).  With Mendip’s backing, there will hopefully also be Changing Places facilities in Street and Glastonbury soon.  This means that people with profound and multiple disabilities who need a toilet with more space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist, now have somewhere to go in Wells. I helped raise the issue last year at Mendip and won council agreement to support the provision of Changing Places in the district’s five main settlements. Frome Town Council then supported Mendip to provide the first facility in Frome (see here).

Fair Housing and homelessness

I am in touch with Fair Housing for Frome (see here), and attended their meeting in April, and will be working with the group and others at Mendip and the Town Council, on a range of issues. We will be progressing the provision of an emergency winter cold weather night shelter for homeless people in Frome, through meetings later this year. This will need a suitable venue for the shelter and a willing group of volunteers. This will be helped by new funding for Mendip and other councils for their work to help rough sleepers (see here). Please let me or FhFF know if you would like to get involved.

Boxworks v2 submitted then withdrawn

In early June, Mendip District Council submitted revised plans for development of its workspace scheme for new and growing businesses based in converted shipping containers – ‘Innovative Frome’, formerly known as ‘Boxworks’ (see here). The whole idea is to create much needed start up space for Frome entrepreneurs in the centre of town, with converted containers providing serviced workspaces that could be rented to businesses, such as small technology, media and creative businesses. MDC is proposing this in the Cattle Market car park, on their own land in order to raise revenue, and in a central location to maximise the attraction for small businesses.

MDC originally submitted an application to install 20 specially converted shipping containers in the car park close to the Cheese and Grain and Frome Canoe Club, but that raised considerable objections and has not been progressed further yet. I raised concerns on that and asked MDC to consider Saxonvale as a location. Version 2 of the scheme has moved across the car park to the Justice Lane area, next to the Black Swan and the public toilets. The colour of the containers was also apparently addressed with a softer tone proposed rather than black containers. The scheme would face out onto Black Swan Arts on Justice Lane, and will include an additional gallery space for Black Swan Arts. However, soon after  the planning application was submitted it was withdrawn so that MDC could address issues raised by local residents (see here). I have pointed out to the senior councillor in charge of this, that MDC has withdrawn or stalled plans on this twice now, and that it is often best to consult local residents on a scheme before putting in an application so that issues can be identified early, and I hope he listens.

Concessions won on Sunday parking charges

At their meeting on Monday 21st May, Mendip District Council’s Cabinet decided to endorse the Car Parking Charges Review 2018-22, including new Sunday parking charges in Frome and Shepton Mallet, and increases to hourly charges and season tickets. I and Damon Hooton (Lib Dem, Park ward) and other Frome councillors opposed the Conservative Cabinet’s decision to impose parking charges in Frome on Sundays, and shared the concerns of Frome’s Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, the Cheese and Grain, Frome Independent market, other non-Conservative councillors and the 6000 people who signed the Town Council’s petition, that new charges would harm Frome’s economy, community events and the future of the Sunday market. We asked Cabinet to reject the idea or defer the decision so that the costs, benefits, impacts and business case could be assessed, and proper consultation and dialogue held with the town. Despite this, MDC’s Conservative Cabinet members all decided to impose new Sunday charges, but the Frome campaign had a considerable effect, as important concessions were made. There will be no parking charges on Frome Independent market Sundays, so the threat to the market has been avoided. Mendip will also limit the charges on other Sundays to £2 a day, rather than hourly charges of up to £5.90. Please see here for more on this.

Fly problem in north west Frome

In June I was alerted to a fly problem in north west Frome, and contacted MDC Environmental Health – please see here for their response relating to the wastewater treatment works. Please let me know if this continues to be a problem.

Mendip inaction on climate change

At the cross-party Mendip DC Climate Change Working Group meeting in June, I asked for an update on the Action Plan that is required in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the council’s membership of the LGA Climate Local group. The working group was created after I asked a formal question on the issue at Full Council in December 2016 (see MDC December 2016 minutes, page 10). Membership of the LGA Climate Local group should require an action plan from members within 6 months of joining, but Mendip has not prepared one, due to a lack of staff time and it not being a priority, but might get round to it in 6 months. At the meeting there was talk around several issues, including the potential for the council to invest in renewable energy projects, the potential to reduce energy use on site, and electric cars, but no clear plans. MDC installed solar panels on its offices’ roofs several years ago.  I asked that Mendip contact and work with Frome Town Council’s Resilience officer and FreCo to help increase solar panel use amongst businesses who have large south facing roofs (see FreCo’s call for help here). I also asked that the potential to help promote and invest in home energy efficiency through the private sector housing team be looked at again (a while ago FTC proposed a scheme to help targeted households who need to replace boilers and install insulation, using MDC funding, who were identified as having energy poverty issues, but their request was denied).

Frome’s renewable energy co-op needs more roofs for solar

Now that the cost of solar panels and installation have reduced, the Frome Renewable Energy Co-op (FreCo) is keen to get more solar panels on roofs. If you know anyone or know of any large south facing roofs do get in touch with Freco at, email, or phone 01373 229564. Their short film outlining their community solar offer, with testimonials from Frome Medical Practice and Frome Town Football Club, who have saved money on their energy costs, is here.

Action on plastic waste

Mendip has started to reduce use of single-use plastics on the council premises, after a Green Party councillor’s motion was passed several months ago.  The plastic cups at water dispensers have been replaced with recyclable cups, and there will be some awareness raising on the alternatives to single use plastics. I have asked about the potential for recycling bins in the street in Frome, as they have in Bath and at railway stations, and await to see if that is possible.

Across Somerset, Somerset Waste Partnership have announced that you can now take plastic food pots, tubs and trays to Frome tip / household waste recycling centre (see here), so please do take them along. Plastic wastes will be collected from households at the kerbside from 2020 when the ‘Recycle More’ scheme starts (which also includes refuse collections every 3 weeks not 2) which has been delayed for various reasons (see here for details).

Frome calls for volunteers

Frome Town Council is calling for anyone who may have a bit of spare time to find out more about a number of great volunteering roles available (see here).  Lots of organisations across town are looking for volunteer support, for example Frome’s Community Cars recently put out a call for more volunteer drivers as demand for the service continues to increase. All the roles can be seen on Volunteer Frome’s online database which gives local organisations a platform to share current volunteering opportunities – please see here to find out more about current opportunities.

Lib Dem Politics and a Pint social, Thursday 26th July 7.15 at the Archangel

Politics and a pint

Somerton & Frome Liberal Democrats proudly present ‘Politics and a Pint’ this Thursday 26th July, 7.15-9.15pm upstairs at the Archangel pub on King Street.

Are you traumatised by Trump, bewildered by Brexit, feeling politics is a bit iffy? Come and tell us what you think and help us put things right.

This is for anyone who lives in or cares about Frome. You do not have to be a party member. Free thinkers, objectors and their friends are all welcome.

Other Council news:

Please let me know if there is anything that needs doing.

Thanks for reading,

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

07809 284817, email

Twitter: @cllradamboyden


   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Paul Lovatt says:

    thank you for your phone call also for listening to my concerns.
    I enjoyed reading your newsletter I like the idea of your pub meetings.
    Will remain in contact.
    Thank you
    Paul Lovatt

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