We have bought 3 large pieces of land for the town: An extension of Rodden Meadow; part of Saxonvale; and the Showfield.
The first purchase completes the town’s ownership of Rodden Meadow – a unique area of green space in the heart of the town. Our purchase in Saxonvale saved Fete, an organisation which helps 1500 youngsters a year skill up for work. This has also ensured that the town has a significant say in any new development on that site. The Showfield will be transferred into a charitable Trust to protect it for perpetuity, whilst also unlocking £40k of monies tied up at Mendip for improvement. We are also in the final stages of taking on the semi derelict land at the Dippy.
Persistence and patience has won out to enable all these areas to be brought back into the ownership and control of the people of Frome.
We have spent and borrowed far more than our predecessors but we are proud of what we have achieved. Interest rates are exceptionally low so the total debt repayment including historic debts amounts to around 10% of our budget – far less than most of us pay out on a mortgage or rent compared to our earnings.
Council tax is raised by all 3 tiers of local government but only the town council’s portion is spent wholly in Frome. Currently the running of the Town Council costs an average household £2-50 per week, 65p per week more that when we were elected four years ago.
We have worked hard to bring in more money. The Community Interest Company (CiC) has invested 250k into the town, mainly on good causes. The philanthropist who funds this was attracted by the IfF philosophy. We have also employed someone to help voluntary groups unlock new funds and he has helped them raise over 100k in 2 years, a remarkable feat.
Claiming the money due to Frome from developers (called Section 106 money) was in chaos – with much never claimed and some even lost. With persistence and hard work, the Town Council has already unlocked over three quarter of a million pounds.
This represents a total of around of £1.1million extra spending in town over the last 3 years, much of it through means never before achieved.