Tower Development Plan Announced
What are we going to do?
The plan is to convert part of a historic building, once central to Frome’s former economic role as a market town, into a building with a key role in helping to establish a new economy for the town, based on creativity, music and performance and cutting-edge technologies
At the moment the building, at the far end of the Cheese and Grain (behind the stage), is unused and in a dilapidated state – only the ground floor is used.
The proposal is to turn the two floors above into a rehearsal, training and recording studio. It will also be used for filming and sound and image engineering. For example, a band could rehearse and record – emerging with CDs ready for sale and a filmed performance ready to upload to You Tube or other visual media.
Why are we going to call it the Bert Jansch Media Centre?
The late Bert Jansch is renowned as an innovative, influential songwriter and guitarist who synthesized folk, blues and jazz. His work was inspirational, fusing innovation with the traditional and so he is the perfect musician to capture and represent the vision behind this project.
The likes of Jimmy Page, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler and Beth Orton have all been devotees, and now a new generation of musicians and fans are discovering Jansch for themselves.
The Bert Jansch Foundation and the Frome Development Community Interest Company have helped to fund the design and development work. Bert’s son, Adam, also a talented musician, lives with his family in Frome and is helping to drive the project forward.
When will it happen/be finished?
It’s an ambitious project: Perhaps even audacious. We probably have two or three year’s hard work ahead of us. And that’s if everything, at every stage, goes well. Frome Town Council is giving the project 100% support, but we need permission from Mendip District Council and that is going to take a while and cannot be taken for granted. This isn’t because we are using public money: we aren’t. We just need permission, but Mendip have to give up a few car parking spaces.
How much will it cost to build and where will the money come from?
About £500,000 plus the cost of external works and VAT: we are in detailed conversation with a couple of Trusts and with Lottery officials.
Will it benefit Frome?
It will create jobs, it will provide a resource to multiple local businesses, and it will help local musicians, producers, agents, and promoters. Working with our partners at Bath Spa University and the youth organisation Young People Frome it will become somewhere that local people can train and gain qualifications. It will be a key resource for the Cheese and Grain’s new apprenticeship scheme. The external works would hugely smarten-up the west side of the building (between the Cheese and Grain and the river).
The project’s architects Bruges Tozer have created the image below. Richard Swann of Bruges Tozer designed the 2013 transformation of the front of house and mezzanine facilities at the Cheese and Grain. See http://brugestozer.co.uk/community/