Next in our series of interviews is a Q&A with Cllr Pippa Goldfinger who was elected Frome Town Mayor in May 2012.
Q: What is your highest priority for your time in office?
A: My highest priority is to increase public participation in all aspects of the community and with the Town Council itself.
Q:What's your vision for Frome over the next few years?
A: To improve the physical appearance of the town, especially the centre. Establish the Neighbourhood Plan so that future developments in Frome are of a high standard and we get the right economic balance – Frome must not become a dormitory town! Also to increase community engagement.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of being mayor?
A: Dealing with stuffy protocol!
Q: What is the biggest impact the government’s austerity measures will have on Frome?
A: Both Mendip and Somerset councils have pulled back funding in many areas, leaving Frome Town Council to pick up the pieces. This often seems unfair.
Q: What do you think Frome could do to encourage greater financial investment/development?
A: We have already made a start by employing a new and talented economic regeneration officer with great experience who is both excited and enthusiastic about working in Frome. We are also one of the government’s front runners in the ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ – where the public get to shape the future development of Frome.
Q: How do you plan to engage with more people, actively get people building communities we are proud to share & live in?
A: In our September newsletter we will include projects proposed by members of the community which the public can vote on to receive grants in order to carry these proposals out. Our aim is to get people involved in rather than commenting on community projects. We also currently run ‘working groups’ where the public help us to shape policy and carry out projects using their expertise and enthusiasm. The Town Council is compiling a database of all community groups in Frome so that people who want to get involved can join an existing group.
We’ve also invited people to come and speak at the start of Full Council meetings and Committee meetings. It would be great if the W.I. came along at some point to give us a presentation on what you are upto.
Q: Why will you be different from any other mayors?
A: All mayors are individual but in recent years Frome mayors have broken from tradition to reflect both their personalities and the changing face of Frome. I intend to follow this model.
Q: Why should we be interested in a town mayor? what can you do which will make a real difference?
A: The mayor can provide a focus for the public and can communicate what the Town Council is trying to achieve to the public. It’s a community role. If you’re interested in your community you should be interested in the mayor and your town council
Q: Are you excited about waving for hours in the carnival procession?
A: I will be waving graciously as a mayor should, but please look out for my entourage!
Q: And finally, a very WI question. What is your favourite cake?
A: It’s got to be a ‘Tarte de Naranja’ a Spanish almond and orange cake from Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery.
For more information about the mayor and Frome Town Council have a look at their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FromeTownCouncil