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Plans to ‘transform’ the town centre

THE favoured option for re-designing Frome’s town centre would see resurfaced and realigned kerbs and widened footways, and would allow easier pedestrian movement by reducing vehicle speeds. 

The results of a public consultation showed that the plan, which the town council says ‘completely transforms’ the Market Place, was the most popular of the options presented.

A feasibility study from consultants Landscape Projects reports that the re-modelling of the town centre would improve pedestrian safety, enhance the character of the town, and increase footfall by reducing ‘the severing effect of the road’ through traffic calming. The study recommends that the Market Place is treated as a ‘pedestrian priority area’. Traffic calming measures would reduce traffic speeds, and the street design (such as lowered kerbs) would enforces the perception of pedestrian priority.

Peter Wheelhouse, the town’s economic development and regeneration manager, has recommended that the project is progressed to the next stage, which involves considering how to finance the scheme and working with Somerset County Council to assess traffic movements. The town council will consider the recommendations at this week’s meeting.

Peter MacFadyen, chair of the external affairs committee of Frome Town Council said, “The feasibility study undertaken by Landscape Projects has demonstrated that there would be value in remodelling the town centre in terms of slowing traffic, making it easier for pedestrians to cross the road and improving the appearance of the Market Place.  The consultation exercise we have undertaken has demonstrated that there is strong support for this project within the community.  In particular, option 3 which would completely transform the Market Place by resurfacing and realigning kerbs, widening footways, providing courtesy crossings and extending traffic calming between Butts Hill and Welshmill Road proved to be the most popular.

“This is an important project for the town in terms of improving the vitality of the town centre.  On the strength of the positive conclusions of the feasibility study, we now intend to move the project to the next stage.  This will include considering the impact on traffic movements on surrounding roads in consultation with Somerset County Council and considering in detail how this scheme can be funded.”