Posted: 12.01.21 at 11:48 by By Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Mumby
Decisions on the future of a Frome green space will not be taken behind closed doors, a council leader has promised.
Mendip District Council’s cabinet voted in early-November 2020 to build more than 160 new homes across five sites in a partnership with Aster Housing – including up to 77 homes on the Easthill site in Frome.
The council’s cabinet voted to “pause” the Easthill element of the plans in late-November 26, with additional information on the site being collected ahead of any further decisions being taken.
Council leader Ros Wyke has now reiterated that the pause would remain in effect for as long as was necessary, and promised that Easthill’s future would be decided at a public meeting.
Councillor Helen Kay raised the issue at a virtual meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday evening (January 11).
She said: “Despite having several public meetings since, where people have made grand statements for both sides of the argument, in my view I do not think we have really facilitated a proper debate about an alternative strategy going forward.
“Frome Town Council have not been approached to help with any future consultation.
“I got the impression it was all going to be done by the end of February.”
Ms Kay made a separate request that any planning decision on the Easthill site be taken by a neighbouring local authority in light of “conflicts of interest” – a request which was declined by officers on legal grounds.
Ms Wyke responded that the pause on the Easthill decision would be “for quite a few months”, and promised any further decisions on the site would be taken in public.
She elaborated: “We’re not going to be mealy-mouthed about a pause. The pause isn’t over Christmas, it isn’t for two months – it will be significant so we can do what we said we were going to do.
“I’m slightly disquietened [sic] by this continual [notion] that ‘it’s going to happen behind our backs, it’s going to happen in a private meeting’.
“We were very clear and very succinct – we would have a pause, it would be for a period of time to allow things to happen, and it will come back to a future cabinet meeting. Full stop.”