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£150,000 to be spent on council office refurb

FROME Town Council has approved plans to spend £150,000 on refurbishing the Palmer Street office.

The town council approved the expenditure on refurbishing the office at an extraordinary meeting of Frome Town Council on Wednesday 30th of January.

In a report prepared by Frome Town Council officers, the Palmer Street office is deemed “unfit for purpose” with “the stability of the first floor a particular worry and the heating costs are excessive.” But leader of Frome Town Council, cllr Mel Usher, says that upgrading the current Palmer Street office is the most cost-efficient option.

Frome Town Council had explored whether the town council office could move to the mezzanine level of the Cheese and Grain. A feasibility study was approved, which cost £5,000 to look at whether the town council office could move to the Cheese and Grain. However, the town council has now decided against this, in favour of the cheaper option, to refurbish the Palmer Street office.

Speaking after the meeting, cllr Mel Usher said, “The Palmer Street office does need drastic repairs, but this is still the most cost-efficient option.

“At the moment, we cannot fit filing cabinets on the first floor and the structure of the first floor is questionable. We will look to lower the first floor and strengthen it, as well as remove the winding staircase and re-wire and re-plumb the office where necessary. We also need to improve the disabled access and generally improve the office. It’s an investment into the town council office. We’ve looked at other options, such as moving to the Cheese and Grain, but that could cost nearly double the price to do.

“Plans are still in the early stages. What’s important to remember is that the previous administration put aside £300,000 for new council offices, but we thought that was too much and decided to go with this cheaper option.”

The work is due to begin in the summer and the town council will move to a temporary office for two to three months while the works take place.