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September newsletter

by adamboyden on 30 September, 2018

Dear all,

As one of your district councillors I try to keep you informed on local issues, so here is my latest newsround:

Standing up for Somerton & Frome

Last weekend I was delighted to be selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Somerton & Frome constituency. Please see here for more on this. I will be making contact with community organisations and campaigning on issues that matter all around the constituency from now on. Please let me know if you have any questions or want to help. Please see our website for more https://www.somertonandfromelibdems.org.uk/ and sign up for updates.

Saxonvale purchase – local people must be consulted

I and other Lib Dem and Frome councillors welcomed the decision by Mendip District Council to purchase the derelict land and buildings at Saxonvale, to regenerate the site and invest in Frome.  However I and other councillors are saying it is essential that local people have a right to say how this land is developed. Please see here for details. Frome Town Council (see here) and Frome Civic Society have also set out what they want to see from this.

Somerset County Council agree austerity cuts despite protests

On Wednesday 12th September, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet agreed to make £15 million spending cuts in over 70 areas of work, despite protests from unions, opposition councillors and members of the public – see here for details. This will affect vulnerable people, the Mendip Citizens Advice service (a 21% cut in overall funding) and roads in winter.

I have raised the issues of what Frome Town Council and Mendip can do to mitigate the impacts, at a three-tier meeting of all Frome’s town, district and county councillors, and we will meet again in October to go through things in more detail. I also raised the cuts at Mendip (see below).

Opposition councillors demand extraordinary council meeting as Somerset heads towards bankruptcy

Somerset’s Lib Dem county councillors have called on the chair of Somerset County Council to hold an extraordinary meeting to explain the Conservatives’ emergency budget in more detail and ensure that it is sufficiently robust to prevent Government officials stepping in and shutting down the County Council. Please see here for more.

Mendip District Council meeting

At a Mendip full council meeting on Monday 24th September, in Shepton Mallet (see here for the agenda) there was a tribute and a minute’s silence for Danny Unwin, councillor in Wells and former leader of the Lib Dem group, who sadly died recently. Danny was a very active councillor in Wells, and helped me considerably.

We also heard Frome Town Councillor Mark Dorrington present the petition from Frome Town Council and over 6000 residents in Frome against Mendip’s Cabinet’s decision in July to raise parking charges including on Sundays. There had been concessions (partly as a result of the petition being presented by FTC, and other lobbying including by me and other councillors to Cabinet in July, see here) to limit the increase to £2 a day and avoid charging on Independent Market Sundays  but the argument was made again that any charging on a Sunday was detrimental to Frome.  Several of Frome’s district councillors, including Claire Hudson and Helen Sprawson-White made the case for a review of the whole car parking strategy, and a review in 6 months. But the Conservatives and other councillors voted the petition down, arguing that Frome could not have special treatment. It never stood a chance.

Mendip motion on Somerset cuts defeated

Also at Mendip full Council last Monday I proposed a motion with the Lib Dem group to require the council to look into the impacts of the Somerset County Council cuts to social support services and see what MDC can do, including to support Citizens Advice funding which is to be cut by 21% next spring, as well as to show community leadership and hold MPs to account (see here). Despite support from the Greens and one Conservative councillor, the ruling Tory group refused the motion for no good reason, but said they are looking into it anyway, and I am meeting senior officers shortly to discuss.
Council Tax bailiffs

At full council I asked a question about the Council’s use of enforcement agents to collect Council Tax in relation to people in financial distress, the cross-party review undertaken and the report endorsed by Scrutiny Board as a result of my motion in 2015 (see here). Cabinet member cllr Parham assured councillors that the Good Practice Protocol agreed with Citizens Advice was working well, the numbers of reminders, summons, liability orders and attachements to earnings or benefits, were all down on previous years, and that bailiffs were not being used to target vulnerable people or those who could not pay. I replied that it was good to see the work that our motion led to having some effect.

Old Showfield news 

Paths at the Old Showfield have recently been resurfaced by Frome Town Council. Plans for a new orchard at the Old Showfield are also taking shape – Frome Town Council has marked out where the paths at the orchard will go next to the playground and outdoor gym. The initial planting for the orchard will start in mid October with a celebration on Apple Day (Sunday 21st October) from 12-3pm, see here.  The Town Council is also holding more ‘training’ sessions at the outdoor gym, to help you learn how to use the equipment until 29th October, and another evening session will be held on Tuesday 2nd October. Please see here for details and how to book. To comment on Showfield stuff please contact FTC’s Environment Manager Chris Stringer at stringers@frometowncouncil.gov.uk or 01373 465757.

Lilleys Cider plans 

I understand that Lilleys Cider will be submitting a planning application for a new cidery facility, cafe and two houses on their recently purchased land between Packsaddle Way and Iron Mill Lane, after planting an orchard of apple and pear trees earlier this year, and holding a consultation and residents open day in July. I understand the plans will be largely as shown at the open day, although some details have changed after discussions with neighbouring residents. When I know it has been submitted, I will post an update on my website.

Mobile phone mast at Rodden Road

On 7th August a mobile phone mast was proposed by agents for two phone companies at the entrance to the health centre/ hospital car park next to the Old Showfield. I wrote about this in July, including about the previous application at Grange Road which was refused by Mendip and at appeal after a concerted campaign by residents (see here). The application is found here: Application for prior notification of proposed development to install a 15m shrouded monopole, 2 microwave dishes and 2 steel equipment cabinets – Land Off Rodden Road Rodden Road Frome BA11 2AH Ref. No: 2018/2006/TEL. I did contact local residents I know when it was initially proposed, but unfortunately I was away on holiday when the application was submitted and the deadline for comments passed. The developers have assured me that the mast will be completely safe for local residents.

Brexit Impact on Somerset 

The Mendip European Movement have been holding weekly meetings in September, looking at the impacts on Somerset of the UK leaving the EU. I attended a meeting in Frome at the Hubnub Centre on Whittox Lane about tourism. Please see here for details. I am in touch with the European Movement in Mendip and will respond in the press to a recent ‘Leave means Leave’ letter. There will be more on my Somerton & Frome website in due course

Mendip and the Big Community Switch

Mendip District Council is once again backing the popular Big Community Switch which is a collective energy switching scheme which has seen some local residents save hundreds of pounds by switching their energy supplier. Please see here for more.

Frome Town Council

The next full Town Council meeting is on Wednesday 3rd October at Frome Town Hall – see here for the agenda, which includes: influencing plans for the Selwood Garden Village proposal, a joint committee with Mendip DC for the Boyle Cross area, and resurfacing footpaths in Victoria Park.

Frome Town Council’s Town Matters meeting on Wednesday 19th Sept is summarised here with updates from Mendip Citizens Advice, Active & In Touch, Open Story Tellers, Volunteer Frome, Discover Frome, the proposal for a 20mph zone in the town centre, and an update on Saxonvale (see here for agenda reports). Some of these groups are affected by SCC cuts. A report of the Council Matters meeting on 5th September is here.

Charles Wood

I was very sad to hear of the recent passing of Charles Wood. Charles was well known for his hard work over many years for everyone in Frome – being largely responsible for  the ‘Vision for Frome’ community consultation and plan for our town, which Frome Town Council recently adopted, and also as chair of ‘Active and In Touch’, which fights loneliness, including securing its future as a charity. Charles was a compassionate conservative, the ‘acceptable face’ of his party, as he once joked, and I had great respect for him. He was a regular customer of the former Stardust cafe, run by my in-laws, a candidate for council several times, and an almost constant presence at Town Council meetings where he would hold the council to account. An appreciation is found here, by the Town Council.

Frome rough sleeping shelter meeting

I attended a meeting with representatives of Fair Housing for Frome (see here), Elim Connect Centre, Frome Town Council, Mendip District Council, Fair Frome, and several other organisations to discuss the need to set up an emergency rough sleepers cold weather night shelter in Frome. Having had a hand in getting this far, I was pleased to see some progress was made. Fair Housing for Frome will organise another meeting in October to take things forward.

Recycling aerosols

Somerset Waste Partnership has asked councillors to remind remind residents that spent aerosols can be easily recycled at the kerbside. You can simply place empty household aerosols in the black box. For safety, do not pierce or squash. Last year all the aerosols SWP collected were recycled in the UK. It does cut down on contamination if you can remove caps and nozzles before recycling. For a video on recycling metals, see https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/aerosols-0. To see a full details of the materials collected in the kerbside service, please see https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycling-collections/

Other 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 aomboyden@gmail.com

http://www.adamboyden.mycouncillor.org.uk/

Twitter: @cllradamboyden

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Marilyn Vernon says:

    Thank you Adam for keeping us updated on local affairs, and for being so active in the community. We were delighted to hear that you’ve been selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Somerton & Frome. We need someone like you who’s not afraid to side-step local issues. Good luck!

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