£33k plan to create a park alongside River Frome
Frome Town Council is to invest £33,500 in establishing a park along the banks of the River Frome.
The decision to adopt the initiative followed a presentation by Bob Sargent and Nick Ray, of the Friends of River Frome, to the external affairs committee.
Council leader Mel Usher said: "There have been plans to open up the river for many years although very little action has taken place. We have finally decided to grasp the nettle and start some projects.
"We now have a comprehensive strategy using the vast skills and experience of the Friends of the River Frome and we propose to put aside £20,000 to buy more land at Rodden Meadow and £10,000 in next year's budget to make a start."
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Different parts of the scheme can be implemented as opportunities arise, according to Mr Usher. For example, there are recommendations for providing a more attractive setting and improving public access to the river within the Market Yard car park.
Mr Usher said: "That would require the cooperation of Mendip District Council and external funding to be delivered. We expect to open negotiations with Mendip soon although informal discussions have started. The future regeneration of Saxonvale would also enable better access to the river."
Some of the recommendations apply to land already open to the public that could be delivered sooner. Examples include the opportunity to create what is described as a pocket park and circular walk on land owned by the town council between Welshmill Lane and Henley Way and the potential to integrate two public access areas at Rodden Meadow.
The council has also set aside a further £3,500 to enable the Friends to undertake work. The group has also been asked to work with the Mendip Power Group to assess potential for hydro-electricity generation at Welshmill Weir.
Spokesman Bob Sargent said: "We are really looking forward to working with the council and the people of Frome to develop the river corridor to make the most of its potential.
"We aim to establish an attractive riverside area in the town centre with seating and better access to the river and a number of new footpaths and circular routes along the whole length of the river through the parish.
"Combined with an enhanced river park in the Rodden Meadow and Millennium Green area and developments along the river, it will provide leisure and recreation benefits for residents and encourage more visitors to come to Frome and explore the town."