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Plans released for ‘Riverside Place’ at Cheese & Grain site

An artist’s impression of how the scheme could look by Richard Swann

Proposals have been revealed for a new formal public square in Frome. ‘Riverside Place’ is the brainchild of the Cheese & Grain working with Richard Swann, architect of their recent refurbishment and the Bert Jansch Recording Studio at the ‘tower’ end of the building, due for construction later this year.

Releasing a sneak peek of the vision, Richard Swann, who is chairman of Frome and District Civic Society said, ‘This is a vital space for the people of Frome. There are no other large traffic-free spaces in the town centre that can compare with the facilities and opportunities offered by Riverside Place.

“It is currently used as essential loading and unloading space for the canoe club, and also forms a vital area for Cheese & Grain events, from markets and tour buses to the famous Jenson Button F1 and Foo-Fighters events compound. The annual Food Feast held here is a highlight of the Festival for the townsfolk.”

The space, which is part of the Mendip District Council-owned car park, is currently subject to vandalism and graffiti and is unattractive. The vision is to upgrade it for use for occasional public events, improve the riverside walk and cycleway, and create better river access for the canoe club and others.

Part of the proposal is to create treelined separation from the main car park, to control vehicular access when events are held. The car park would continue to operate as now but allow control for events, similar to the Saturday market area adjacent to the library.

The Cheese & Grain see this as the final part of their development on this site to secure and grow their ability to hold larger events such as regional markets and exhibitions needing significant outdoor space, with a level floor integrated with the main hall.  Planning permission was obtained by Frome Town Council in 2015 for the new main entrance on this side of the building for these events.

Steve Macarthur, director of the Cheese & Grain said, “This is the last piece of the jigsaw that will allow daytime events to spill out into a high quality, traffic-free exhibition and market space.”

Consultations are underway with stakeholders, some funding has already been secured and the project team will be seeking support from Mendip District Council and Frome Town Council. The proposals will be on display for public comment from 26th June at the Cheese & Grain. Comments can be emailed to ric@fsls.org.uk