Two local councils are celebrating after receiving £20,000 from a Government department to help residents play a bigger part in their town's future.
Frome Town Council and Mendip District Council learnt this week that their joint bid to the Department of Communities and Local Government for Frontrunner funding to deliver a neighbourhood development plan for Frome was successful. This will focus on the detail of what type of development or infrastructure is best suited for specific ward area within Frome.
There were 36 areas announced by Planning Minister Greg Clark this week, these areas will be among the first to test out neighbourhood planning, giving local people a greater voice in deciding how development will look in their area.
Mendip District Council is the local planning authority, but the preparation of the Frome neighbourhood development plan will be led by Frome Town Council.
The new plan will form part of a suite of plans that will guide development in Frome over the coming years. Whilst the core strategy and the Local Development Framework (LDF) adopt a broad district wide approach, the neighbourhood development plan for Froe will enable the local community to really drill down and have a say in what type of development goes where in their the local area. This will compliment the Design Guide for Frome that Frome Town Council is also currently working on.
Community involvement and consultation is absolutely central to the production process and both councils will be working hard over the coming months to gather views on what the people of Frome want.
Frome Town Council's chief executive, Vernon Anderson said; "Timing is perfect in that the Mendip wide LDF is now nearing completion and the neighbourhood development plan for Frome will form a more detailed part of it. So long as we get it right, this will give retailers and manufacturers a message that Frome is open for business and welcomes considerate developers."
The bid was drafted by Frome Town Council with support from Mendip District Council's corporate policy officer and senior planning policy officer and submitted by Mendip District Council's chief executive.
The frontrunner scheme allows for the use of consultants to provide specialist and technical support to the community. The unique factor in the Frome bid was the idea that Frome Town Council will commission Mendip District Council, on a consultancy basis to assist the town council to deliver the plan.
Stuart Brown, Mendip District Council's chief executive, said: "We are delighted to see Frome selected to receive the frontrunner status, this is a great opportunity for Frome and for the Mendip district as a whole.
"We are looking forward to working with Frome Town Council and seeing the neighbourhood development plan for Frome evolve with the wider community involvement; this is an exciting time for Frome."
To find out more about the frontrunner funding status visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/