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Let’s move to Frome, Somerset: ‘You want community? You got it’

It’s the capital of so-called flatpack democracy, grassroots DIY politics

What’s going for it? When the revolution comes, it will start here, a small historic market town deep in wildest Somerset. Frome’s got form. It rioted time and again in the 18th century when the wool trade slumped and the price of gruel skyrocketed. Nonconformism flourished. By the 1970s it had become one of those spots where hippies escaped the rat race, a utopia gently scented with patchouli oil. In 2015, it blew a raspberry at party politics, electing a town council entirely made up of independents. It is the capital of so-called flatpack democracy, grassroots DIY politics. You want community? You got it. You can’t pop out in your dressing gown for a pint of milk (organic, locally lactated, natch) without crowdfunding a piece of civic infrastructure. One newspaper called it the sixth coolest town in Britain. This does it a disservice. Frome is not cool (OK, maybe a little bit: I mean, the Foo Fighters did play a secret gig here in February). It’s just bloody great.

The case against Don’t come if you’re not a joiner-in (or do, but bolt the door and pretend you’re out). Relative isolation: trains are frequent but slow, and you’re a trek from a motorway.

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