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Full steam ahead for regular ‘super market’

THE future of Frome’s popular Super Market looks bright, after a meeting between Frome Town Council and Mendip District Council this week.

The Frome Super Market proved a huge success when it was trialled in 2012, attracting thousands of shoppers to the town. Councillors, traders, and shoppers have all expressed eagerness to see it return on a regular basis this year.

Although negotiations between the two councils have been ongoing, without a firm agreement there were fears for the market’s future.

And last week Frome Town Council aired its concern that time was ‘running out’ to get plans in place in time for the market to return this summer.

But Peter Wheelhouse, Economic Development and Regeneration Manager for Frome Town Council, says he is ‘delighted’ there is now good news on the market after a meeting with Mendip District Council on Monday evening.

He said, “I’m delighted to say we had a positive meeting with colleagues from Mendip District Council regarding establishing a not-for-profit company to run the Frome Super Market. We are now focused on getting the first Frome Super Market of 2013 underway.”

Town clerk Paul Wynne said the four markets held last year had been ‘phenomenally successful’ but, prior to the meeting, he had feared for the market’s future as the town council needed Mendip’s agreement as they owned the market rights.

Speaking last week, Neil Howlett, President of Frome & District Chamber of Commerce said, “I’m asked almost every day when the Super Markets will start again. They were certainly a success in terms of numbers but were held together last year on a wing and a prayer and a lot of goodwill from everyone involved, and at time a lot of tolerance too.

“They need a proper structure this year to build on the successes of last year,  avoid some of the problems that came up, and deal with some of the negatives, such as overcrowding in places.

“Frome & District Chamber of Commerce on behalf of businesses in the town fully supports the idea of a joint venture between Mendip, the Town Council and the Artisan Market. I have told all of them that this is great opportunity to demonstrate how local authorities and local business can work together.”

In a report prepared for a meeting of the town council’s External Affairs Committee last week, Frome Town Council stated the need for any not-for-profit company to be ‘nimble and able to make quick decisions.’

The report said that early and firm agreement was   necessary “in order to make the changes that are desired and promote those changes  in good time for the resumption of the Frome Super Market events. Traders and visitors need to know now what is intended; they can easily go elsewhere if there is uncertainty.”