by adamboyden on 1 November, 2020
This is to keep you informed of what is going on locally and at Mendip:
Coronavirus: the Second Lockdown
On 31st October the Prime Minister announced that due to the recent and predicted rises in Covid-19 cases, England will go into national restrictions (‘lockdown 2’) on Thursday 5th November until 2nd December, if (as looks likely) the restrictions pass a parliamentary vote on Wednesday. Please see here for information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean and the financial support available. Your local councils will update their advice as soon as possible.
In mid-October, the Lib Dems as well as Labour called for a 2-week ‘circuit break’, after the advice from SAGE (in the meeting on 21st September) was published on 12th October. Boris Johnson then mocked the idea of a national lockdown as ‘disastrous’. Also, four in ten close contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus in England are still not being reached by Test and Trace. If the Government had followed SAGE’s advice in September, and improved the test and trace system, this longer lockdown could perhaps have been avoided.
There is a lot of help available
Support your local shops
2020 has been a hugely challenging year for local shops, and the second lockdown will mean that those deemed non-essential will need to close their doors again. In October, Fiver Fest (part of the national Totally Locally campaign), celebrated local businesses making a real contribution to our town. Spending in local shops can have a big impact, boosting the local economy. So please take a look at what’s on offer in Frome here. Local shops will need your help again now. Information on local services in Frome is available here.
Recycle More collections are on Monday mornings in Frome
This is a quick reminder that recycling collections are always on Monday mornings from now on in Frome, so please don’t forget to put your recycling bins, boxes and new plastics recycling bag out by 7am every Monday morning. The next refuse collection is on 16th November, every 3 weeks. Please order any more recycling boxes or the new bag if you have not received it, from SWP – details on SWP’s website. The start of Recycle More has been considered a success so far.
Why our MP is wrong about free school meals, and what you can do
Our Conservative MP recently voted against extending free school meals funding into the school holidays. I have looked into all the reasons he put forward to justify his vote, and there are a number of large holes in his arguments that I thought people should know about – please see here.
I also asked if he was concerned about the lack of scrutiny and good financial controls on contracts being let by Government in relation to PPE as is being revealed by the Good Law Project, and if he can support the moves by some MPs to donate their recently announced pay rises to local charities – see here.
Rodden Road closure for railway bridge repairs
The road under the rail bridge on Rodden Road will be closed from Monday November 2 until December 12 to enable bridge repairs and improvements on behalf of Network Rail. Please see here for details. The best alternative diversions are through the town centre or via Clink and the bypass.
Affordable and social housing programme
For the first time in over 16 years, Mendip District Council is working with partners to deliver new social and affordable housing, reflecting the Lib Dem administration’s corporate priorities to do so, to reduce inequality and deprivation. Subject to Cabinet approval, the first tranche of five sites (all owned by the Council) could deliver over 300 new homes for either social rent or shared ownership. The sites are Cemetery Lane (in Street), part of Cranhill Road Car Park (Street), Norbins Road Car Park (Glastonbury), Easthill (Frome), and North Parade Car Park (Frome) where a pilot scheme for modular housing is being considered at the back of the car park. A report to Cabinet on Monday 2nd November recommends progressing the programme at pace (see item 12 here).
Gym equipment firm expansion approved at Commerce Park
The expansion of the Watsons Gym Equipment factory at the Commerce Park was approved by Mendip District Council’s Planning Board on 21st October, subject to the agreement of a legal agreement for noise control. I spoke at the meeting to represent residents’ concerns about noise and the principle of building a General industrial and Storage building in what was previously agreed would be restricted to Business use – please see here.
Stronger Somerset bid moves forward
The Government recently made it clear they want Somerset’s district and county councils to be replaced by one or more ‘unitary’ councils that cover both county and district functions (like in Wiltshire, and Bath & NE Somerset). In the last few weeks Mendip and the other districts have overwhelmingly endorsed the ‘Stronger Somerset’ proposal which would see two new unitary councils created – East and West Somerset, with more support for local parish councils like Frome Town Council to take on a greater role. A new East Somerset Council (for the Mendip and South Somerset areas) should, we think, be much more responsive to local residents’ needs than a large ‘One Somerset’ unitary based in Taunton (proposed by the Conservative-run County Council). It is also about reforming (not just restructuring) local government, including through more preventative services to reduce problems before they occur. All of Somerset’s councils have received a formal invitation from the Government to submit their business cases for change in early November. The government will then decide in the next few months how our local government will be reformed. Please see here for the proposals and here for recent news.
Other Mendip news
Somerset County Council news:
Frome Town Council news:
Please let me know if there are any questions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please get in touch if you need any support or have any questions. Drew and I are here to help.
Adam Boyden with Cllr Drew Gardner,
Mendip District Councillors for Frome College ward
Adam – email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Drew – email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
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