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New drive to regenerate Frome’s economy

Frome Town Council has taken a major step in its plans to regenerate Frome with the appointment of Peter Wheelhouse as its new economic development and regeneration manager.

Peter was previously the head of economic regeneration at Wiltshire Council and has spent the last 26 years supporting the development of economies across the South West of England. In addition to bringing forward improvements within the town centre and supporting the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Frome, Peter has been asked to identify new ways in which the town’s economy can be supported.

At the economic affairs committee on 4th July, Peter led a debate on the future direction of the council’s economic development work. He introduced the concept of a ‘green knowledge economy’ that not only builds on Frome’s strengths as an enterprising town, its community spirit and creative culture but also helps to safeguard the environment. The aim would be to make Frome much more resilient to global economic shocks in the future.

Peter said, “I presented a number of ideas that the council could pursue. These included helping to grow a ‘green collar workforce’ locally – the skills necessary to respond to rising demand to cut the cost of heating and powering homes and businesses. There are grants and incentives to support this investment, but the infrastructure in terms of installers and skills at a local level needs further development. By working with the industry and partners in education, new opportunities could be created for younger and older people alike.”

Peter also emphasised the importance of working with local providers to ensure that affordable space and support in terms of advice, mentoring etc is available for those wishing to start their own businesses. These ideas were well received by members of the committee. Peter and his team will be working with a range of interested parties to take them forward.

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