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A new orchard for Frome is chosen by the people!

A NEW town orchard is on its way for Frome following a landslide victory in the People’s Budget town vote.

The orchard will be located at the Old Showfield and will be planted in the current financial year. A variety of local fruit trees will be planted and the community will be encouraged to reinvigorate the practice of scrumping.

The project was pitted against two other projects, a dog poo powered street light and a giant waterslide event, to win £10,000.

767 people voted, with the orchard grabbing 81% of the vote. The dog poo powered light received 10% of the vote  and the giant water slide event received 9%.

Councillor Toby Eliot said, “This year’s People’s Budget town vote pitted three projects that didn’t make it into the council’s overall work plan for this year against each other. We hoped that it would offer everyone a real chance to steer the council’s strategic ambitions.

“The response has been fascinating. I fully accept that out of context, these projects don’t look like priorities for the town. We’ve learnt a lot and future people’s budget programmes will involve the people of the town earlier in the process and give everyone a chance to have a say on impacting some of the serious issues the town faces.

“Having said that, I’m delighted that so many people took part and that we’ve got a clear winner in the town orchard that will now be implemented in the coming year. Thanks to everyone who voted and for all the feedback.

“What is clear is that the people of Frome want to make serious choices that impact the wellbeing of the community. The people of Frome engaged in the process and will have a beautiful orchard for years to come on the back of their decision.

“The aim of the people’s budget is to engage people about what the town should be doing and giving people a real say over real money.  The People’s Budget  process also helps people to understand the cost of town-wide schemes. The orchard, obviously an extremely popular choice, will involve maturing fruit trees, be of a significant size and involve some landscaping.”

Community project officer, Kate Hellard, who was out on the streets talking to people about the project said, “Once you started talking to people you could really see that people were keen to make the decision based on information such as where things might be, how the project would come about or how it would be looked after, and were actively weighing up outcomes.  People were shocked at the cost of delivering this type of project.  By and large however, people were really happy to engage with the process.”

The orchard will be delivered this year in consultation with an arborist.  To sign up to receive the town clerk’s update, to learn more about this and all their projects, please go to www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/council/

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