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Issue 338 – Frome ‘should go it alone’

A BOLD idea for Frome to become separate from Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council and function as a unitary town, is being spearheaded by a local councillor.

County councillor Maggy Daniell, discussed the potential for Frome to become a unitary town with Mayor of Frome cllr Nick White and Mendip district councillor Adam Boyden at a transport and traffic meeting last week.
Cllr Daniell said, “We discussed the idea of Frome, and the areas surrounding Frome becoming a unitary authority. This would see Frome running its own services, such as car parking issues and highways problems.
“More services are being taken over by Mendip and Somerset, and town councils are doing less and less. It’s obvious that if these services are run at a local level then it’s more likely to get the community influencing the decisions.
“Frome is the fourth largest town in Somerset and sometimes we are overlooked. With the boundary review due, it’s a logical time to start looking at this potential option.
“I have emailed other councillors and hope to discuss this idea soon.”
Mendip district councillor Adam Boyden described the idea as “interesting” saying, “We do depend on the county and district councils and their hard working officers and councillors for most local authority services. But I think Frome people can do great things by ourselves and perhaps the mood is now with thinking about a move towards independence from other councils.
“Any proposal of this nature would need a lot of thinking through, and costing, but is a very interesting idea and could be worth exploring. And if little Rutland can do it, in 1997, with a population of 34,500, why not Frome?”
However, Mayor of Frome cllr Nick White said that Frome could gain more local control from government legislation anyway. He said, “We have to see what comes out of the boundary commission and the Localism Bill, which could drive some of the services to be run locally anyway. In principle, we would like more control, but I do feel this is jumping the gun.”

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