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Frome town council bids for power to improve parks

PARKS in Frome could be given a new lease of life in the coming months, as Mendip District Council decides whether it will hand them over to the town.

Frome Town Council recently requested to take ownership and management of the open space on Packsaddle Way and the games court at Chapmans Close.

The issue is expected to be discussed by Mendip District Council’s corporate assets management group (CAMG) later this year.

If Frome Town Council is given control of the areas it would give people in the town a bigger say on what happens to the land and mean action could be taken more quickly to improve or repair facilities.

Mendip district councillor Adam Boyden put forward the idea last year during his time on the town council.

Adam told Frome Times, “For years, Mendip allowed Packsaddle park to run down without replacing play equipment, and I was inspired by the work of the Packsaddle Community Group who hold regular events at the park and are leading initiatives to improve the area.

“Over the last few years the group has arranged for picnic benches to be installed, and drawn up plans for new swings, a cycle path and a boules pitch in the park, but progress on the improvements with Mendip as owners has generally been very slow.

“We all agreed that the best thing would be for Frome Town Council to take over both spaces, as they can work much better with the local community to improve these areas, as  at Welshmill Park.”

In 2012 Frome Town Council secured a grant of almost £50,000 to regenerate Welshmill Park and  build the pump track. It is hoped that if the new areas can be transferred from Mendip, Frome Town Council could improve other spaces  in a similar way.

Adam continued, “There is a worry that CAMG could decide not to agree to the transfers, as some councillors might think they are appropriate sites for housing development.  In light of this, I sent Mendip a report written by the Packsaddle Community Group to clearly show how valuable these open spaces are to the community, including testimonies from local residents.

“It would be great for the town council to be able to work on improving these areas for and with the local community.”

Frome Town Council clerk Paul Wynne said, “We’ve been approached by local people who live near these three open spaces to help them.

“They want to have a much bigger say in what facilities are put on the sites and also want to have more control over maintaining them. Frome Town Council, local people and, I’m sure Mendip District Council are all keen for this to happen and the easiest way to achieve it is to transfer the spaces to us. It’s all down to Mendip now.”