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Issue 334 – IfF – “The First 100 Days”

the Independents for Frome (IfF) group, who took control of the town council in the May elections, have issued a statement charting “The First 100 Days” in office.

The IfF group won 10 of the 17 seats on Frome Town Council in May and declared in their mission statement that they were united by a desire to hand control of decision-making back to local people, remain free of national party politics, as well as making improvements to the town.
Now, in their report – “The First 100 Days” IfF say, “As individual councillors we have heard from members of the public on issues such as play spaces, tree preservation, housing, littering, traffic, skate and bike facilities and have (as far as possible) dealt with these in terms of passing them to those responsible.
“We have played key roles in discussions with the organisers of the Cobble Wobble (facilitating this very successful event’s continuation); and in relation to the Village Green application which was impacting on the new health centre’s proposal. We have also led on the campaigns to save Cocky lamps: prevented? ill thought through road widening in Garsdale; and lobbied heavily on cobbles and paving slabs being replaced with tarmac in conservation areas. We have supported the extension of the Sustrans network through Frome, worked with the Chamber of Commerce on proposals for the media and arts and business, supported in principle the ‘20 is plenty’ campaign and worked closely with FROGS on regenerating the park at Welshmill and in developing a wider strategy of play and open space in the town. We expect soon to be able to announce with the trustees of the Cheese and Grain some exciting proposals for its future (having moved fast to remove financial obstacles to their daily operation).”
The IfF group admit that the changes have taken longer than planned, but explain that work has continued behind the scenes.
They say, “It’s taken longer than we thought but we will have a new set of priorities in place by the autumn. This delay has been useful as we have been better able to grasp the task in hand, and we’ve avoided some of the pitfalls of leaping at “quick wins”. We have not been rudderless – the last plan ran through to 2011.
“Inevitably these early stages have meant a lot of energy going into structural change which doesn’t make headlines. We still need to put time into developing methods of consultation – finding ways by which people’s time is well used in guiding good decision- making. We need to quickly find ways to engage the public with what we are doing – and how they can interact. We want to recognise the good work done by Vision for Frome in preparing the Community Plan and we want to use its findings in anything we do.
“We anticipate that over the next year we will want to address issues around the town centre, traffic, future development and the relationship of the council to other public bodies and the various groups active in the town. We are mindful that the Localism Bill, going through parliament, should bring greater powers to towns like Frome and we will want to take up this possibility.
“We need to find where each of our own skills are best placed, be that as Mayor, chairing meetings, or in the working groups. And we’ll need support – in ideas, comments and time on working groups.
“IfF was not conceived for 10 of us to become councillors, but as a better opportunity for anyone and everyone in Frome to access local decision making. You have four years less 100 days left to be part of the movement!”
You can read the full report at http://iffrome.org.uk

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