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Issue 301 – Have your say on car parking charges

Most of us use them, most of us pay for them and most of us have something to say about them – and now’s your chance to publically share your views.

Mendip District Council is inviting residents in Frome and the nearby villages to join a debate on car parking next month.
On Tuesday 1st June, the East Mendip Community Partnership will be joined by Vision 4 Frome (V4F) – an organisation set up to produce a forward looking community plan for Frome, and to monitor and promote the delivery of its aims and projects. V4F will facilitate an informative debate about car parking in the town, especially in light of recent changes which have come into effect.
As well as hearing the facts and figures around why the income from car parks is so important, the public is invited to join the meeting and share their views on the issue.
The meeting will give local motorists the chance to tell the council how they would do things differently if they were holding Mendip’s purse strings. Discussions from the night will be recorded and handed to the cross-party Mendip Car Park Working Group for future consideration.
Cllr Claire Hudson, chair of the East Mendip Community Partnership said, “The community partnerships need to encourage more people to get involved and come along to discuss issues that matter to local residents. We must use them in a much more effective way, by hosting debates that allow people to share their thoughts direct to the council.
“I hope those coming along to next month’s partnership meeting will provide constructive opinion on a matter which is gaining a lot of interest again. This will be a chance for a constructive debate, not simply a chance to criticise. We have to make money from car parks as the income goes towards providing services for local people, but the local community has to understand the financial pressures that councils are under. The opportunity is for residents to suggest alternatives to the current arrangements and alternatives to the current income stream.
“This meeting will give people the chance to really see what it’s like to juggle providing services within a limited budget, and allow them to tell the council how they would do it better once they’ve considered the options available to them.”
The group facilitating what is expected to be a lively debate, V4F, undertook wide consultations in 2008 which gave everyone in Frome and its surrounding areas the chance to help plan the town’s future over the next 20 years.
The ideas that came out of those consultations have formed the Frome Community Plan, which is used by local authorities in their own planning activities. This includes the district council, which worked with V4F in the consultations, in developing its district-wide Local Development Framework to replace the Mendip Local Plan.
Chair of that group, Charles Wood said, “Car parking, the charges, and the effect on people’s pockets and use of the town’s facilities and shops generated significant comment in the consultations. The Community Plan has an objective to address the most appropriate way of charging for Frome’s car parks, and projects to pursue better car park arrangements including a free period for short-term use. This is a welcome opportunity to progress the achievement of this part of the plan.”
The East Mendip Community Partnership takes place on Tuesday 1st June at Selwood Middle School, Berkley Road, Frome, and starts at 6.30pm. The meeting is open to the public, and there will be opportunities to express your views on the night.

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