At our last meeting the Trustees talked about fundraising and agreed to launch a Local Giving appeal for £30,000. This will go live very soon. We need to raise this sum quite quickly in order to lease a 4m wide strip of land, which will avoid a section of ‘live’ railway track – read on for more details and some historical background.

It is now 16 years since the first traffic free section of the Colliers Way was opened along the line of the old railway from Great Elm, just two miles from Frome. Despite completing 900m of new path out to Whatcombe Fields in 2015 (Phase 1) and gaining planning permission for Phase 2 we are still trying to get to Frome!

Phase 2 will ultimately form the western end of the route and we have already raised about £30,000 to complete this. However, one section required the path to return to railway land because at the time landowner agreement could not be obtained for the path to cross one field. This caused issues with Network Rail who were unhappy that the path would be very close to a ‘live’ line. The situation has now changed and negotiations are progressing with the landowner, which will solve this problem. However, because this is a change to the original plans we have had to re-apply for a Planning Amendment.

In order to lease the land we need to raise an additional £30,000, which will include legal costs. This sum will enable us to lease the strip of extra land but still won’t guarantee Network Rail approval – although we are very confident that we can get this. If Network Rail does approve our new proposals, the remaining money that we have already raised should be enough to complete Phase 2 at long last.

Rest assured that any money that we do raise will be spent on creating the cycle path – our audited accounts for 2017 have been sent to the Charity Commission. We do hope that you and your friends can donate something towards this – look out for news of the Local Giving appeal very soon.

Meanwhile, Paul Luttrell former UK Cross Country Champion and Dalma Luttrell former Hungarian champion are going on a crazy 75 mile family ride from Frome, to Corfe Castle. They are riding with their three sons, Zak, Tinkur and Artur. Having cycled out along Phase 1 of the cycle route and finding themselves ending in the middle of a field, Dalma and Paul knew Frome needed to complete its cycle path, and we’re delighted they chose to fundraise for us. Please help this amazing effort by going to their Just Giving page here:

The 2018 FML School Travel Challenge, will now run on the week 21st to 25th May and should involve about eight local schools in a range of cycling and fundraising activities. We are also organising a fundraising ceilidh on June 22nd, at the Cheese and Grain, tickets will cost £15 and should be on sale soon.

If none of that grabs you, there’s always the annual AGM on the 23rd April, 7.30pm upstairs at The Swans, when you can share your thoughts, vote on our proposals and maybe even join the team. Hope to see you there!

Richard Ackroyd

Chair, Frome’s Missing Links

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