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Councillor launches ‘Pitchfork rebellion against district council’

A FACEBOOK page has been set up in outrage – claiming that Mendip District Council will not give Frome a “fair share” of a £10million pot of cash given to the district council thanks to homes built in Frome.

The page, titled “Pitchfork rebellion against MDC” is looking to gather support from 100 people. After this, a public meeting will be organised to discuss how to move forward.

The group has been set up by Frome Town Councillor Nick White. He says that Mendip District Council will be awarded £10million from a new homes bonus, which is given to local authorities from central government. The purpose of the cash is to go towards infrastructure projects to accommodate the increase in population that the new homes will bring.

However, according to cllr Nick White, while 25 per cent of the new homes will be built in Frome, Mendip District Council will keep the “lion’s share of the new homes bonus.”

On the Facebook page he wrote, “Between 2010-2026 Frome will be getting another 2,500 homes. This is part of 10,000 to be built across Mendip. The government is providing councils with money roughly equivalent to six years worth of council tax for each new home it builds, which in Mendip’s case will be around £10million. This money is to be used for infrastructure projects for towns that bear the burden that additional homes will create.

“The maths, in this case, is relatively easy to do, Frome should be getting £2.5million. Not a bit of it.

“Mendip have already squirreled away 70% to support their income streams and build internal resilience.

“Only 30% of this money is going to be used by Mendip to support local infrastructure projects!

“At a recent MDC meeting the chairman reminded members that Mendip was a district council and therefore the scheme would be dealt with on a district level and the size of the town or how many houses had been built in a specific area would not influence how the money was distributed.

“Just so we are all clear on this, if you were expecting at least 25% of the 30% to come to Frome then don’t hold your breath.”

Social media website, Facebook, allows people to set up their own group. People can then “like” the group or webpage.

To find the group search “pitchfork rebellion against MDC” in the Facebook search bar and “like” the page.

A Mendip District Council spokesperson said, “The New Homes Bonus is based on the actual number of new homes built across the district. The government describes it as a means of rewarding the council for growth in the district generally.

“However, up until 2014 The New Homes Bonus is being more and more integrated with the main annual grant which Mendip receives from central government to help provide all services.  This means that, if the council does not maintain house building rates in line with targets, the net amount of money granted to Mendip to fund all its services will decline, potentially meaning more cuts to services. So, for the council to commit to releasing a proportionate share of the New Homes Bonus to Frome threatens the ability of the council to deliver services to all residents across the district.”