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Frome’s breath of fresh air as showfield deal is completed

Martyn Brake and Mayor Kate Bielby toast the new venture

Martyn Brake and Mayor Kate Bielby toast the new venture

FROME Town Council officially took ownership of the old showfield last week, to ensure it will remain a public open space for the foreseeable future.

An official handover ceremony was held on Wednesday 30th September at the site behind Frome Medical Centre.

The change was finalised by Mayor, cllr Kate Bielby and Martyn Brake, chairman of Frome & District Agricultural Society. Frome Town Council will now decide what to do with the £53,000 funding available for the site.

In her speech, cllr Bielby  thanked the agricultural society for agreeing to sell the much-loved green space, and Mendip District Council for its help in negotiations.

She also thanked Frome Recreation and Open Ground Supporters (FROGS) for their efforts to ensure the fields were saved as green space, and for agreeing to forgo their own application to make the site a village green, so that the purchase by Frome Town Council could happen.

Martyn Brake also offered his thanks to all the parties involved and said, “It’s really important that this space is kept as an open space for all the people of Frome as it really is a well-used informal community space.”

Community projects officer at the town council, Ruth Knagg said, “A total of £53,000 has now been unlocked that can be spent improving the fields and facilities on it.

“£10,000 of that is already promised for an outdoor gym or fitness trail. Frome Medical Practice have a keen interest in this and we’d like other input from anyone interested in the type of equipment and whether this would be best concentrated in one area, or spread around a circuit of all the fields.

“The remaining £43,000 can be spent in a number of ways. There have been two previous consultations about this and Frome Town Council want to now check that the previous priorities are still the top choices.

“One or two of the paths are in quite a hazardous state, so it is probably essential that these are re-surfaced and this will make the area more accessible for people with mobility issues.

“Previous top choices also included more frequent mowing, fencing of the play area and more benches and bins.”

Frome Town Council plans to set up more events and ways for people to give feedback on the options and put forward their own ideas.

In the meantime, suggestions can be emailed to Ruth  via  knaggr@frometowncouncil.gov.uk.

Mendip District councillor for the Frome College Ward, Adam Boyden had campaigned since 2011 to keep the field preserved.

Cllr Boyden said, “It was great to see so many people come together at the celebration at the old showfield.

“It has taken many years to sort this out, many meetings at Mendip and with others. Getting local spaces and facilities managed more locally makes sense for many reasons, and I am keen to see this continue.

“The town council now has more work to do, and will need our support in sorting out the improvements scheme so that uneven badly surfaced paths can be improved, more children can play in safety, people can enjoy picnics, kicking a ball about, keeping fit, or just sitting down more often to catch their breath and admire the view, and so there is space for wildlife too.

“I am proud to have helped make this happen, and soon I hope we will have an even better old showfield park to be proud of.”