Vision for Frome

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Community Plan Update

Updated June 2018

In 2013 Frome Town Council ran two consultation activities within the Frome community, "Participate Frome", which was community wide, and a "Frome Youth Consultation".  The information produced on what Frome and its young people then wanted to see happen in the town was a good basis for V4F to look at the content of the Frome Community plan 2008 - 20028, to gauge whether it was still current or if it needed a bit of a refresh.

We therefore joined with the Town Council to have a consultant review the details and reports from these two consultations, and identfiy where, if actually needed, the Community Plan should be amended. This work, in 2014, showed that the Plan was still very current.  Only three new objectives were required, and an additional 15 projects to add to the existing 130; some projects were complete or were no longer applicable.  

Subseqent work was to be considered based on the many other such consultations in focused areas that have been done since the May 2009 Plan delivery date.  It was also to be assessed if any further new and open community consultation was needed.  One thing we didn't want to do was spend money and people's time to go through similar consultations as were done previously to get the same result and add to general "consultation fatigue".

However, this work was put on hold pending better visibility on what the newly elected Town Council intended to do, in setting out its strategy for its four year programme.  It was understood that some Council document or plan was likely to emerge dealing with both the short and longer term needs within the town.

The means by which the Council aimed to do its business also changed quite radically, with a focus on Panels where specific subject areas were addressed (e.g. Wellbeing & the Town Centre).  The task of the Panels was to provide recommendatins for a monthly full Town Council meeting to deal with.  V4F looked forward to taking a full part in these Panels, using the Community Plan as it is as a point of reference, and assessing where the results of the panels might need to be assimilated into an updated Community Plan.

Although now 2018, the results and principles outlined above are still quite current.The Town Council now has custodianship of the plan, and V4F has passed over its residual funds of some £6000 plus to be ring fenced to fund any updates seen to be needed. A number of Council run community connection methods are either in place or are contemplated as a further Frome Community consultation, all of which will offer current community aspirations or views to help in any such update.

Saxonvale

2018 Update

The history below on Saxonvale is stll of value, as even now in 2018 its future is not clear, with a number of proposals and initiatives appearing to date.  So an update, as far as I as the ex-Chairman of V4F can determine, is attempted.

Firstly, the history as recorded in 2015:

Saxonvale remains a major subject of Town discussion, with two Town Groups ("Frome for All" and "Keep Frome Local" - see their websites in our "Links" section) holding somewhat differing views.  V4F has always supported a solution that is coordinated across the whole site, and largely meets the Mendip District Council Planning Brief that was generated in 2005 at considerable cost and wide consultation within the town; even though 10 years has passed, to us there is no great change in community aspirations which would make it outdated in content.  It is a continuing concern that development is now being proposed in disconnected and separate proposals, with the Frontier Outline Proposal having been submitted to Mendip District Council and proposed housing development appearing from Terramond, with a retirement complex also identified for the site.  Other interesting factors associated with this site was the establishment of the Carely Trust, with an objective to seek a composite, coordinate and visionary solution for the whole site, and the Mendip District Council and the Town Council owning key sections of the site at its East and West extremes.  This should give our Councils the means by which a good solution for the site could be managed with the other site owners, not in the current "we'll do our own thing" manner.

This site is so key to the character of the town for generations to come that we absolutely owe it to them that we do our best to get it right.  Why V4F has a strong interest is that the site has the potential of contributing to the meeting of so many of the Objectives  and Projects within the Community Plan.  You can see in our "Links" section our submission to Mendip District Council on the Frontier submission, and a supporting very detailed analysis of how the Community Plan, and the various other relevant Plans that exist, should relate to what could and should be done with the Saxonvale site.  There is also a spreadsheet showing the Projects that could also relate.

The latest activity has been for the Town Council to commission a consultant to draw up an outline vision of how the site, in its entirety, could be developed.  The Frontier submission is also soon to be considered by the Mendip District Council Planning Board.  This was expected in October but has been postponed.  To seek to have a greater local influence on this important development a Neighbourhood Development Order is being contemplated, and a Town Council Position Paper has been drawn up to object to the Frontier outline, and to seek to ahieve the type of "Whole Site" solution V4F has been supporting.  V4F has therefore become a joint signatory of this Position Statement.

We will therefore continue to do what we can to help achieve a good solution for the whole site.

Update as at June 2018

In addressing the way forward, it is a matter of getting some mutual agreement within the four saxonvale land owners, and, as shown above with the Frontier bid, the Frome Community.  The landowners are, from East of the site to the West:  the Town Council owning the land hosting the Further Education (FETE) facility, Terramond, Notts Industries, and Mendip District Council with the Merchants Barton car park.  A private owner is on the West periphery in the Silk Mill.

So far all other proposals for the site have not got mutual agreement. 

It is understood there is still the aim by the Town Council to network with these owners to try to find a way ahead for the site, noting that Terramond has proposals on the books, with part participation with a Macarthy & Stone proposed development.

Community Plan Contributions

2018 Update

There has been previous questioning as to what the effort and cost to generate the Community Plan has actually achieved.  Well quite a lot actually, and it has the potential to contribute a great deal more, and this is what kept us interested and active.  To summarize, its positive contribution has included:

- The objectives in the Plan have been the basis for the previous Town Council's Strategic Plan for their 4 year programme, typically in such areas as the Neighbourhood Plan and Town Design Statement, the Town Centre Remodelling, the Energy and Waste initiatives, marketing the town, making the most of the town's markets, development of the river side with the Friends of the River Frome, and several more. See our documents section for the report produced on the scheme for the river. 

-  Support for the F.R.O.G.S. successful funding submision to develop the Welshmill area for young people.

- Support for the successful Cheese and Grain's intitial development funding submission. 

- Support for the successful Cheese and Grain submission for funds for equipment in the community room parts of their new develoment.

- Support for the submission for initial funding of the Cultural Quarter scheme.

- The objectives within the Plan to make the most of the town's green spaces was the spur for V4F to take the initiative and prompt the District Council to actively progress the use of Section 106 money to improve the community facilities on the Old Show ground.  V4F offered to run a consultation on what these improvements might be, but in the end assisted the Town Council to do this with time and £500 funding. The progress on this has now picked up, with the Town Council acquiring the site, the Village Green application being withdrawn, and a return to a further round of consultations to confirm what the community wants to see on the site and in what priority.

- An anlaysis of what Saxonvale could provide to meet the Plan's projects and objectives, to help inform the debate and the review of submitted development plans. 

- An analysis of what the Community Plan wishes to see in improved road and pedestrian layouts, to support community discussion and a related plan on local transport needs.   See our documents section for the Transport Plan produced, and a report on what is needed to make the town more "disabled - Marginalized Group" friendly,.

- The Plan has provided some support for a town Renewable Energy Group, which has now become FRECo.

-  Latterly, with the new Town Council running its Panels (see the news article above), extracts from the Community Plan and its Project list are available to assist the Panels in their considerations.

2018 Update

There is little to add to the above, which was an indicator that V4F's work had become overtaken by the many Town Council, Frome Community, initiatives, and brought a big wind down of its work, to the point where the Council now has custodianship of the Plan.  The Plan remains an important and useful point of reference, is still deemed suitable for update to keep it so, through to its planned end date of 2028.

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