April news

by adamboyden on 5 April, 2024

Apologies for the radio silence. I have taken some time off since my mother sadly passed away at the end of February, after we moved her to Frome to be closer to me in January – please see here for my mother’s tribute site, and here for my tribute.

It has been a huge shock and a very sad time, but I will continue as your councillor as best I can. Please get in touch with me at adam.boyden@somerset.gov.uk if you need help with anything, and please see some news I am aware of below.

Old Showfield – playground opens, free fun activities in April, and have your say on future plans:

The new playground at the Old Showfield was officially opened on 28th March – see here – and is proving very popular. Please do check out the series of fun and interesting activities at the Old Showfield, including play sessions, go-kart making and dog parkour! – see here. You can now share your thoughts and ideas on what could happen next in the Old Showfield in Frome Town Council’s online survey or in person – see here. Please do engage with this as the Town Council has different activities happening this week to get local residents’ thoughts about how to manage the site. The three hay bales around the back field are possible locations for new benches in future, and are there to encourage a conversation, and to sit on this week, which is nice!

Mendip Local Plan consultation ends soon:

Somerset Council is undertaking a formal consultation to review and reconsider housing sites for at least 505 dwellings in the Mendip area following a High Court Order to make amendments to the Mendip Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2). The consultation will run until 12 April 2024. The proposals are to allocate a number of sites for housing in the former Mendip area, focused on the main settlements (rather than only the villages in the north east of former Mendip), including two sites in Frome – North Parade car park (for 18 homes), and land off Adderwell Road (for 25). Please see here, and to have your say visit the Mendip Local Plan Part 2 Consultation webpage. You can also see the Council’s site assessments for Frome here, and the villages north of Frome (Rode, Beckington and Norton St Philip) here, including various sites that were put forward by landowners (including at Packsaddle Way, Innox Hill, Oldford Hill and Cuckoo Lane) which were not taken forward in the Council’s proposals.

Frome Community Fridge needs support:

A campaign has been launched to keep Frome’s community fridge (which has diverted tonnes of food from landfill) open and accessible to all – please see here. Frome’s was the first of its kind in the UK and it would be a great shame if it had to close due to lack of funds. Please see here for the crowdfunding website.

Frome Share Shop needs support:

It also seems that the Frome Share Shop in the town centre – the library of things, that people can borrow to avoid having to buy new things – also needs support (funds, volunteers and possibly a new premises) to continue – please see here.

Frome Town Council keeps town centre toilets and CCTV running:

Somerset Council’s budget was approved in February, which avoided a Section 114 Notice and effective bankruptcy but included cuts to public services and relied on asking Town and Parish Councils to take on important local services. As a result of recent discussions, Frome Town Council has agreed to fund the running of the town centre toilets in the Market Yard car park, to keep them open and clean for a year, and to contribute funding to keep the town centre CCTV running – see here. I understand this was agreed under item 5 in FTC’s full council on 13th March – please see here. This is good news as the closure of town centre toilets would be unacceptable, and I voted for the Somerset Council budget on the understanding that the Town Council would be taking these vital public services on now that Somerset Council can no longer afford to.

New bus – Frome to Warminster and Salisbury:

You may also have noticed the new 24 bus service, which is running from Frome to Warminster and Salisbury with support from Somerset and Wiltshire Councils – please see details here.

Berkley Lane/Dark Lane public inquiry:

The delayed public local inquiry into Somerset Council’s proposal to extinguish vehicular rights along Dark Lane and a section of Berkley Lane to the north of Frome will now be held on 9 – 11 April 2024 from 10am at Somerset Council’s offices at Cannards Grave, Shepton Mallet BA4 5BT. The proposal, previously by Mendip District Council, aims to reduce flytipping in the area at this historic hotspot – see here for the background. The inquiry is in person, but will also be shown online – please see the calendar of meetings here. This is being managed by the National Transport Casework Team, Tyneside House, Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 7AR, reference NATTRAN/SW/S249/4967, email nationalcasework@dft.gov.uk.

Frome Leisure Centre wins funding:

Somerset Council has been awarded £316,700 funding from the Government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund, from Sport England and the National Lottery. Part of the funding will benefit the Council’s Frome Sports & Fitness Centre, run by Fusion Lifestyle, which will get new swimming pool covers (increasing energy efficiency) and solar panels on the roof (see here). I asked Somerset (and previously Mendip District) Council and Fusion to apply for these funds some time ago, so this is good to see, as it will make leisure centres more energy efficient and sustainable (and cheaper) to run.

Rodden Road Post Office to reopen soon:

At long last, after a change in ownership and temporary closure in July 2023, the Post Office will be reopening at the Rodden Road Spar at the Vine Tree crossroads (34 Rodden Road, Frome, BA11 2AE), at 1pm on Friday 19th April (see poster below). The opening hours will be 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. This will provide a welcome service to everyone in Frome who has relied on the one busy Post Office at Portway for months.

Rodden Road closure 8th-12th April:

Local residents have had a letter, and there are signs up on the roadside, giving notice that from Monday 8th April, a section of Rodden Road will be closed to all traffic between the Berkley Road traffic lights and Windsor Crescent for 5 days (see notice below).

New 20mph speed limits proposed:

Somerset Council is proposing new speed limits in the county in 15 areas, at the request of local Parish and Town Councils and local residents (see here), including in Trudoxhill near Frome. The requests by Parish and Town Councils were in response to an invitation by Somerset Council for parishes to apply for a 20mph speed limit if they were willing to fund the design and implementation (and the locations met Government criteria). The proposals are now subject to a 21 day consultation up to w/c 8th April – see here. Late last year residents asked Frome Town Council to apply to extend the town centre 20mph limit, including to Fromefield, and we still await a decision, while the focus is currently on the School Streets scheme (see here, and here) which includes new 20mph zones around schools in the south and west of Frome. Beckington Parish Council has also considered requesting a 20mph limit for the village. Rode’s speed limits in and around the village are also due to be reduced after the consultation in February (see here).

Rode Solar Farm updated plans:

Some changes have been made to the plans for Low Carbon’s proposed solar farm to the east of Rode (Somerset Council planning ref. 2023/2183/FUL), as outlined by Rode Parish Council (see here), and there was a public consultation on the amended plans until 14th March. Rode PC have maintained their objection, see here. The application might come to Somerset Council’s planning committee meeting on 9th May.

Other news:

Please see other news from your local councils:


Upcoming public meetings for the Frome North area include:

  • Public Inquiry (Planning Inspectorate) on Berkley Marsh, Frome, Somerset, held at Somerset Council offices, Cannards Grave Road in Shepton Mallet and online, from 10am to 5pm on Tuesday 9th, Weds 10th and Thursday 11th April, as discussed above, see agenda and link here
  • Beckington Parish Council, Tuesday 9th April, in the Beckington Memorial Hall Clifford Suite from 7pm – see here
  • Norton St Philip Parish Council, Weds 10th April, in the Old School Room, Farleigh Hungerford from 7pm – see here
  • Tellisford Parish Meeting, Annual General Meeting, Thursday 11th April,
  • Rode Parish Council, Monday 15th April, 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall Committee Room, Rode: see here
  • Frome Town Council, Weds 17th April at Frome Town Hall from 6.30pm, the agenda will be here
  • Somerset Council, Full Council meeting, Tuesday 23rd April, from 2pm at Canalside Conference Centre, Bridgwater – the agenda will be here
  • Vale of Frome Local Community Network (LCN), Tuesday 23rd April from 7pm, venue TBC, agenda will be here
  • Somerset Council Climate and Place Scrutiny Committee meeting on Water Quality in Somerset, Friday 26th April from 1.30pm at Deane House, Taunton and online – agenda will be here
  • Somerset Council, Planning Committee – East, at Somerset Council offices, Cannards Grave Road in Shepton Mallet and online, on 7th May from 2pm, the agenda will be here a week beforehand
  • Berkley Parish Council, Weds 8th May at Frome Rugby Club from 7pm
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