Adam Boyden

Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward and Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Somerton & Frome Learn more

February newsletter

by adamboyden on 22 February, 2020

Dear all, a few new updates for you –

Old Showfield playground gates are in:

Last year I reminded Frome Town Council of the need and our local community’s desire to see the children’s playground at the Old Showfield fully fenced, so children can play without being worried by dogs. This was one of the priorities identified in the comprehensive survey undertaken in 2012. So it was good to see earlier this month that all the gaps in the fence have been filled by new fences and gates, with ‘no dogs’ signs on. Thanks go to Frome Town Council’s team.

Mendip charging ahead on Electric vehicles:

Mendip District Council is seeking suppliers of Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure in the district, after Cabinet agreed to undertake a procurement exercise earlier this month. Cllr Drew Gardner and I spoke at the meeting to say we need to increase the number of EV charging points to have any chance of reducing carbon emissions from transport, and to welcome the report (item 11 here) but to also ask for amendments to remove the restriction on the number of charging points the Council would seek. The original recommendations limited the number of new charging points to ‘up to 4’, in areas not already catered for (which would rule out the main towns). My amendments to the recommendations were accepted (see item 11 in the minutes here), so the Council is proceeding to seek rapid EV charging points throughout the district without these limits, in rural areas as well as Frome and other main settlements. Frome Town Council are also working with Bookmycharge to enable residents’ domestic EV charging points to be shared with other users (see here). Cllr Drew Gardner is also pushing to improve Frome’s and Mendip’s EV infrastructure, as seen in the latest Frome Times (see here).

Saxonvale plans amended:

Amendments have been submitted to the outline planning application for the regeneration of the long-derelict Saxonvale site for town centre uses, housing (around 250 houses, including affordable homes), open space and access (including a bridge over the river), in response to comments received during consultation. This includes amendments to retain the trees next to Rivers Reach. I understand that people have an extra two weeks to comment until 28th February as an extension has been granted by Mendip planners. A Town Council meeting earlier this month considered FTC’s response (see here), and discussions continue to resolve some key issues. Copies of the application documents should be available in the Library and the Town Hall, and you can see all documents here (application ref. 2019/1180/OTS). The planning application is likely to come to Mendip’s Planning Board for a decision in April or May, and may be heard at a meeting in Frome. Please see the latest updates on the project here.

NHS consults on fewer community hospital beds:

The ‘Fit for My Future’ NHS questionnaire on community health and care (see here) is where you can have your say about the ‘early thinking around improving community health and care services’, including having ‘fewer community hospital impatient beds’ and the role of the role of Minor Injury Units. Somerset’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to move from MIUs to provide Urgent Treatment Centres which would provide a wider range of services. Some MIUs elsewhere in Somerset are thought to be under threat (see here). However, the Friends of Frome Hospital have reassured residents that there are no imminent planned changes to Frome’s Minor Injuries Unit, or any other services provided by the Community Hospital, in a Frome Times article here. I hope that health services in Frome will be improved and not reduced as part of any future changes, so please complete the questionnaire here to help ensure that is the case.

Mental health beds move consultation:

Somerset CCG is also consulting the public on its plans to relocate the acute mental health beds for people of working age from Wells to Yeovil – please find the consultation brochure and fill in the survey here. The consultation runs until 12th April.

Planting a tree for every baby born:

Around 17,000 trees will be planted in Somerset over the next three years – one for each baby born in the county. The Baby Trees scheme, put forward by the Liberal Democrats, was approved at Somerset County Council’s meeting earlier in February, and will see the county council work with district and town/ parish councils, landowners and community groups to plant around 5,500 trees every year – see here. Frome Town Council is also planting a tree for each of the 27,000 residents in Frome over the next three years. Over 500 residents helped plant 1200 trees in Half Term at Weylands and Birchill Lane – see here. Mendip District Council will be supporting tree planting schemes throughout the district as part of the Climate and Ecological Action Plan.

Packsaddle’s postbox is back:

A couple of weeks ago it was good to see that the postbox has been returned to Packsaddle Way at last, at the corner with Chapmans Close. A postbox was removed from nearby early last year and I have joined the Packsaddle Community Group and other residents in asking the Post Office and Royal Mail to replace it. So it is good to see our efforts paid off.

Mendip’s Full Council meeting:

from 6.30pm on Monday 24th February has a full agenda (see here), including:

  • Council’s capital strategy and programme: The new Capital strategy is making it clear that borrowing is for three purposes:  Investment to generate income (started by the previous administration);  Monies for regeneration schemes e.g. Saxonvale and other smaller projects for social housing;  Monies for service improvements e.g. Waste Partnership and new software implementation at Mendip. This borrowing will enable us to take forward social housing, town regeneration schemes and some of our green initiatives.
  • Treasury Management Strategy: This allows the Council to raise the borrowing limit; it does not follow that this upper amount will automatically be borrowed and spent.
  • Medium Term Resource Strategy (Council budget) and Council Tax setting for 2020-21. This includes the budget setting for the next year, equivalent of £5 a year increase in Council Tax for band D properties, and continued support for the Somerset Rivers Authority. It is worth noting that the Mendip precept is lower than the Police precept this year.
  • Council’s Corporate Plan 2020-23, with new Corporate Priorities (here) for the Lib Dem and Independent run Council. The emphasis on the climate and ecological emergency, supporting local people, local businesses, and respecting our communities.
    Our Aim is: To build a fairer, greener and more vibrant Mendip that values our distinctive towns and rural communities. Our Corporate Priorities are to: • Make Mendip a fairer place • Deliver on our climate and ecological commitment • Protect and enhance our towns and rural communities.
  • Climate: an update report on progress to address the Climate and Ecological emergency. The carbon baseline report on Mendip received by Cabinet earlier this month illustrates the amount of work needed to make Mendip carbon neutral by 2030.
  • Future of Local Government: a proposal to speed up further collaboration and integration with other District Councils (rather than the single Unitary council idea being pursued by the County Council leadership).
  • Adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
  • Council pay policy and member allowances.

I understand that Full Council will also see motions proposed by councillors on adopting a ‘green’ renewable electricity tariff for the Council estate, and tackling idling vehicles to improve air quality outside schools. Do come along, everyone is welcome, it is your Council.

20 is Plenty outside school:

Somerset County Council has just announced plans for ‘advisory’ 20 mph zones to be installed outside every school over the next few years – see here. It is not yet known which schools this will apply to this year.

Mendip’s next Cabinet meeting:

on Monday 2nd March (here) will consider Somerset’s new Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy, focusing on preventing homelessness.

Frome Town Council’s Council Matters meeting:

7pm at Frome Town Hall next Wednesday 26th February (see here), will consider: improving the toilets at Victoria Park, floodlighting the new tennis courts, the possible acquisition of the former Broadway allotments site, and updates on the Town Hall and parks and green spaces.

Pride of Somerset Youth Awards:

Do you know a young person under 20 years of age, who lives in Somerset and deserves to be recognised for something they have achieved? Please consider nominating them for the Pride of Somerset Youth Awards – see here.

Mendip Business awards:

The 2020 Mendip Business Awards are open for entries until 27th March, so please consider nominating a local business for one of the many awards – see here for details.

Climate change action:

I went to Mendip’s Climate emergency ‘drop in’ on 15th February (see here), run by the Somerset Climate Action Network, which was attended by nearly 100 people who shared their concerns and ideas on how our councils can address climate change. Mendip District Council has published a report on the district’s carbon footprint to provide a basis for future actions (see here), and a progress report on actions identified by the cross party working group (see here) will be considered at Full Council on Monday (see above). Frome Town Council are hosting the next local climate summit on Tuesday 3rd March in Frome Town Hall at 7-9pm to consult residents on our councils’ climate actions and plans. An online survey gives every resident the chance to help shape a Climate Emergency Strategy for the county, so please get involved here. Somerset County Council have also committed £1 million for town and parish councils to bid for funding for climate change related initiatives (see here).

Frome Sports & Fitness Centre disabled access:

Frome Town Council’s Town Matters Committee has granted £4000 from its Substantial Project Fund to Frome Powerchair Football Club’s application for funding towards a Changing Places disabled toilet and changing room, and a pool pod at Frome Sports & Fitness Centre (see here). Working with local campaigner and powerchair club committee member Alison Douthwaite, I am pursuing further funding and all the necessary permissions through Mendip District Council, who lease the Centre from Somerset County Council and sublease it to Fusion Lifestyle who operate the centre. We are seeking real improvements here to allow powerchair club members and disabled swimmers full access to leisure facilities in our town. Let me know if you would like to help.

In Other News:

Frome Times – http://www.frometimes.co.uk/
Mendip District Council – https://mendip.gov.uk/news
Frome Town Council – https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/news/
Somerset County Council – https://somersetnewsroom.com/
Liberal Democrats – https://www.libdems.org.uk/adlib

Drew and I are also chasing action on several other issues local people have raised. We have also recently dealt with damage to front gardens by bin lorries, missed waste collections, and various issues on Gypsy Lane.

I hope this is useful, please let me know as ever if anything needs attending to.

Best wishes,
cllr Adam Boyden
Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward
07809284817
Email adam4somertonandfrome@gmail.com, Cllr.Boyden@mendip.gov.uk
https://adamboyden.mycouncillor.org.uk/
https://www.somertonandfromelibdems.org.uk/

With Councillor Drew Gardner, Frome College ward, email Cllr.Gardner@mendip.gov.uk

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