by adamboyden on 2 June, 2021
Vaccinations against Covid-19 are now available for people aged 30 and above – please see here.
Self-isolating if you have COVID-19, or are showing symptoms, is one of the most important things you can do to help stop the spread of coronavirus in Mendip. But you don’t need to feel alone – there is local support available – call the Somerset helpline 0300 790 6275, 7 days a week, 8am-6pm.
Referendum on the future of local government in Somerset:
Everyone on the electoral roll has a vote in a local poll (referendum) on local government in Somerset – see here. This was agreed by all four district councils on 30th April, and asks voters to choose between the two options being considered by the Government to replace the existing county council and the four district councils: One Somerset – the plan for a single council proposed by Somerset County Council, or Stronger Somerset – the plan for two councils for Somerset – an Eastern and a Western Somerset council – proposed by all four district councils in Somerset. I am supporting Stronger Somerset as it should give local residents a more locally accountable and responsive council to run local services. Please look at the options here and have your say by Friday 4th June.
New housing partnership plans to tackle social homes shortage in Frome: Mendip District Council has formed a partnership with the Frome Area Community Land Trust and Selwood Housing Group (housing association) to provide more social housing (homes for social rent) in Frome – the Fair Homes Project, which has launched a public consultation on several potential housing sites (largely open spaces, all on Mendip District Council owned land) which could deliver up to 30 homes – see here and here. UPDATE 16th June – please see below.
Social housing proposed at Selwood Crescent green: One site the Fair Homes Project has identified is the green between Selwood Crescent and Mendip Drive, where four 3-bedroom houses are proposed. I support the development of social housing on suitable sites but am opposed to development on Selwood Crescent green, due to the impact of the loss of this locally important open space on the local community. A community group (Save Our Green Alliance) has also formed to campaign to retain the green in perpetuity (email email@example.com). But what do you think? Please see here for all the details and how you can get involved. A meeting was held with residents on the green on Saturday 29th May, and further community meetings are planned – online on Thursday 3rd June and 10th June at 7.30pm, and on the green on Saturday 5th June at 10am (see here).
UPDATE 16th June: The Fair Homes project, and all sites proposed for development within it, including Selwood Crescent green, has been withdrawn in its entirety, following feedback from residents in the consultation – please see the statement from the project partners here. Thank you to everyone who responded. Your local open spaces are now safe. We now need to focus on the viable alternative and sustainable ways to increase the supply of social housing that do not involve building on green open spaces that are either valued by the community or for their ecological value (or both).
Housing Needs Survey:
A Housing Needs Survey will be online for 3 weeks from 7th June, to collect vital information on housing need including those who have not signed up to Homefinder Somerset. Completing the survey will help inform future planning and give a realistic view of what housing difficulties residents of Frome are currently having – please see here from 7th June.
Land at Easthill removed from housing programme:
Mendip District Council’s Cabinet has voted to remove land at Easthill from the scope of the Council’s Affordable and Social Housing Programme and for its intended use to revert to being for cemetery extension land. Please see the report to Cabinet here, and previous news here. This is after I and other councillors raised concerns with the decision to include the site in the housing programme last autumn, due to the lack of consideration of its ecological value, which led to a pause (see here).
Mendip statement on former Broadway allotments:
Mendip District Council has issued a statement to clarify that the Council-owned land at Broadway is not being considered for development in the Council’s current social housing programme – see here.
Acheson & Acheson propose factory extension at Commerce Park:
Acheson & Acheson, the successful international beauty products developer and manufacturer, has applied for planning permission to extend its existing manufacturing and logistics facility at the Commerce Park. The plans, application documents, and comments on planning application 2020/0852/FUL are all here. I understand that the deadline for consultation comments is 13th June. Frome Town Council’s next Planning Committee on 3rd June at 7pm will consider their consultation response (see here). Previous news on the pre-application consultation is here.
New information submitted for Commerce Park planning application:
Additional information was submitted on 11th May for the planning application 2021/0137/FUL – Industrial development of 61 business units arranged in 9 blocks (falling in use classes E(g)(i) (Formerly B1a), B2 and B8) to be constructed in two phases on area E2 and a single industrial building comprising 2 units (falling in use classes E(g)(i)/E(g)(iii) (formerly B1a/B1c)/B8) on area E1, at Malthouse Lane Business Centre, Malthouse Lane, Commerce Park. This includes revisions to site plans, sections and elevations, the Noise Impact Assessment, Construction Environmental and Traffic Management Plans, Drainage Strategy (see here). Previous news on the application is here. The consultation period on these additional documents and plans is likely to end soon.
Another round of business grant help opens at Mendip:
Mendip District Council has announced that the Additional Restrictions Grant (Round 4) opened for applications on 17th May. This is available for businesses that are not business rate payers and were required to close by law due to the Covid lockdown, and also for ratepayers who were severely impacted by the national restrictions and were ineligible for Restart Grants – please see here.
Business Advisors Wanted in Mendip:
Do you have a deep understanding of how business works, and can spare some time to help others? Mendip District Council is launching the Business Revitalisation Grant to support businesses from all sectors to develop a recovery idea for their firm. From late July, MDC will need qualified, experienced Business Advisors from all sectors to deliver one-to-one business health check and advice sessions to help grant applicants shape their recovery ideas – please see here.
Current vacancies at Mendip:
A number of job vacancies are being advertised at Mendip District Council and partner organisations, including for a Climate Change and Resilience Officer, a Homelessness Officer, Saxonvale Programme Coordinator, Conservation Officer, Planning Enforcement Officers, Senior / Principal Planning Officers, Customer Service Advisor, Town Barrowman, and Ground Maintenance Operatives – please see here (some of these have a deadline of 4th June for applications).
Two new funds launched for community and eco projects in Mendip:
On 1st June, Mendip District Council launched two new grant funds – one for communities and one for climate and ecological emergency projects. Voluntary, community, not-for-profit organisations and City, Town and Parish Councils can now apply for the funding until the end of 31st August 2021. This follows Mendip’s Cabinet approval in May – please see here.
The Communities Fund will support project ideas that improve community resilience, build capacity and promote wellbeing, as well as support communities recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. Groups can apply for up to £2,000 for smaller projects or up to £30,000 for larger schemes. Community organisations can also apply for up to £2,000 to fund eco projects through the Climate and Ecological Emergency Fund. Applications for this fund must demonstrate how projects impact on net carbon emissions and / or the ecological benefits to the community. Please see more here. Details can be found at www.mendip.gov.uk/cf and www.mendip.gov.uk/ccf.
People’s Budget Events – Your choice:
Frome Town Council is asking the people of Frome to show their support for the events submitted in this year’s People’s Budget: Events. Three local charities are being considered, and each has provided a video to show you their ideas. The three event ideas are on the Your Priorities website, and are: Skate Park Fundraiser Launch, Santa’s Grotto at Boyle Cross, and It’s a Knockout. Take a look, support your favourite and share your views by 7th June.
Frome Town Council’s new Substantial Grant scheme launched:
Frome Town Council has announced the launch of its Substantial Grant scheme for Frome based organisations looking for substantial funding to support the running of their organisations and the delivery of larger projects over the coming year. Funds will be distributed through two grant rounds each year and FTC expect to issue grants of £5,000 – £6,000 per organisation. The first round is open for applications now, with the closing date of Friday 25th June – please see here.
Mendip transfers historic Boyle Cross and Egford Lane Park to Frome:
Mendip District Council has transferred the freehold of the Boyle Cross and the surrounding area in the Market Place to Frome Town Council, who can now host small markets there and are looking for expressions of interest from people to run events, activities and pop-ups on the space – see here.
Also, following successful transfer talks, Egford Lane Park is now in local hands – please see here.
Frome Bike Jumble, 27th June:
The annual Bike Jumble, organised by Frome’s Missing Links with Frome Town Council, will be held on Sunday 27th June from 10am – 2pm, outside Frome Library, with the agreement of Mendip District Council (which I was happy to help). This will be a great way to pick up a low-cost bike or spare parts, accessories and cycle clothing at a fraction of the normal cost. Organisers are looking for donations of bikes, parts and any other cycling related items you no longer need – please see here for where to donate, and will also host bicycle maintenance sessions – please see here to book one.
If you missed the Solar Streets online meeting earlier in May, please see here for a recording of the session, advice on the benefits of installing solar power at home, and how to get involved.
Shepton Mallet Lido is now open:
Fusion Lifestyle has announced the reopening of Shepton Mallet Lido, the popular open air swimming pool, for the summer season from Saturday 22nd May – please see here.
Hawksworth Close playground feedback:
Over 20 residents responded to my request for feedback on ideas for improving the Hawksworth Close play area (see here), and I have passed all the comments and ideas received (many of which are in comments on the article) to Mendip’s play officer for consideration.
Fromefield traffic survey:
Thanks to everyone who responded to the Fromefield traffic survey last month at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Fromefield. The results are being collated by Town Councillor Lizzie Boyle, and I will report back next time.
Berkley Lane update:
Meetings and discussions are still being held between Mendip District, Somerset County and Berkley Parish councils and councillors and other organisations to find a way to permanently remove the problem of flytipping in the Berkley Lane and Gypsy Lane area through some form of road closure. The preferred option, which I raised, currently appears to be an application by Mendip to the Government to pedestrianise the road under section 249 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which would retain access for walkers and cyclists, but discussions continue.
Changing Places funding announced:
With the news of a new Government £30 million fund to facilitate Changing Places around the UK (see here), it is hoped that this will help restart work at Mendip District Council to help provide a new Changing Places at Frome Sports & Fitness Centre as well as in Street and Glastonbury. Changing Places have already been provided in Frome town centre, Wells town hall and the Bath & West Showground thanks to our campaign (see here). Extending the rollout of the Changing Places programme is a Mendip District Council and Lib Dem priority, so I’m hoping to work with colleagues at Mendip to help make this happen when the funding stream opens.
Family Information Networking Directory launched:
A new website dedicated to supporting families across Frome has been launched by Frome Town Council. FIND Frome (the Family Information Networking Directory) aims to enable residents and professionals to find the right information needed for families on local services, organisations, and community groups all in one place, with help to access appropriate local statutory and voluntary services when needed – see www.findfrome.co.uk.
Plans for travellers site off A361 near Tytherington refused:
Mendip District Council’s Planning Board has refused planning permission for a new travellers pitch on Vinney Lane between the A361 Frome Bypass and Tytherington. This was opposed by the parish council and ward councillor but recommended for approval by the case officer – please see the SomersetLive report here. This was my first Board meeting as a member of the Planning Board. We determined three applications (DM01 (refused), DM02 (refused) and DM03 (approved)) contrary to the officer’s recommendations, but allowed another three (DM04, DM05 and DM06) to be granted permission in line with the officer’s recommendations – please see reports here. The next Planning Board meeting is Wednesday 16th June.
Forest Road planning application withdrawn:
The planning application for a new two bedroom 2 storey house in a garden at 70 Forest Road has been withdrawn, following several objections – see here.
Elections 2021 – the results:
The full results of Police and Crime Commissioner Election and Mendip by-elections 2021 can be found here.
Since the last newsletter I have attended several meetings, including the following:
Meetings coming up:
Attending Council Meetings at Mendip:
Arrangements are in place at Mendip to facilitate physical meetings once again. A number of ‘hybrid’ meetings have already been held successfully. Committee members have to be physically present in the Council Chamber in order to fully participate in the meeting, according to Government legislation. However other elected members and officers can continue to access the meeting virtually.
Numbers in the Council Chamber will be strictly limited to 23 to include Committee Members, essential officers and a limited number of members of the public who wish to participate in the meeting (by prior arrangement). Everyone else can participate in the meeting virtually via their pc/laptop or telephone (in the now familiar fashion) or watch it on the live stream via the website. Similar arrangements will occur for all Committee Meetings between now and the 21 June when the arrangements will be reassessed following the Government’s latest decision on the Roadmap to lifting restrictions. To register to speak at MDC meetings please see here.
Other Council news:
Other Council news can also be found here:
Please let me know what needs doing, or any questions, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
with Cllr Drew Gardner,
Liberal Democrat Mendip District Councillors for Frome College ward
Adam – email email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew – email email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
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