Report on Frome Network Event
We had a very good Network Event in Frome yesterday, with 20 members and guests learning about Frome's fascinating history and future plans.
Maggy Daniell (Vision for Frome & Town Councillor) and John Peverley (Frome Civic Society) took us on an interesting tour which included the Black Swan Arts Centre and nearby development around the Market car park, the award-winning Piggeries housing development and the historic Trinity area (see below), and finishing in Catherines Hill, a independent/boutique pedestrian-only shopping street.
After tea & cakes back at the Masonic Hall, John gave us a summary of the regeneration schemes that focused on the historic buildings and streets - download this here - Frome_Conservation
Katy Duke from Sustainable Frome then talked us through that organisations structure, aims and how it sits with Vision for Frome. Download her presentation - Sustainable Frome presentation
In questions afterwards, it was explained that Sustainable Frome (SF) has given a lot of input to the V4F Community Plan and felt very connected with it. The plan is to 'merge' the Community Plan with a new Energy Descent Action Plan in the next year or two.
SF has over 400 members working in many different groups, including a Transition group, and an internal/external communications group. They have plans projected up to the year 2035.
Projects they have already delivered include:
Growing local food leaflet
Bags for Life
Vallis Veg (community allotment)
River clearances - removing litter along the riverbanks
Coppicing work - clearing an overgrown scrub area to create new public space
New allotments and woodland surrounding Frome
The erection of 60 wind turbines and some hydro-schemes
Bio-digester plants/Methane production
The Sustainable Frome model looks like a very inclusive, open one which could be replicated across Somerset's towns, which incorporates Transition thinking but is not dominated by it.
There was then a discussion on the V4F Community Plan; Charles Wood (V4F) explained they felt they needed a new constitution to allow for wider participation. He went on to show several different models that they could adopt. See the diagrams here - V4F_Options.
In response, other members felt that;
- it has to be a local solution that adapts to local circumstances ie Frome has a large number of existing interest groups and relationships with these will require time and effort
- Participatory Budgeting is coming and V4F as a partnership needs to be ready for the opportunities this brings
- Relationships with Local Authority Officers, Councillors and with Authorities as a whole are crucial to success
- Monitoring progress (and reporting it) was a key element that is often overlooked by Comm Planning Partnerships
- The Somer Valley Partnership was mentioned as one model - its a mini-LSP that gives strategic direction for the area but creates 'Task & Finish' groups to actually deal with issues
Many thanks to Vision for Frome for welcoming our members and helping to make the event a success.
Our next event is in Martock on May 13th. In the meantime use our Online Forum to discuss issues raised at the Frome event.
Created on February 12th 2009