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Cheese and Grain unveils plans for its £500k revamp of building

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

  • An artist's impression showing how the Cheese and Grain could look after its makeover Pictures: Bruges Tozer Architects

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The Cheese and Grain looks set to undergo a half million pound makeover later this year after ambitious plans were revealed this week.

The town council has been working with the management of the venue to come up with the scheme, which will see a new box office open all day, meeting, training and rehearsal rooms, a bar, a cafe open seven days a week.

Subject to government approval, the funds will be in the form of a £500,000 loan from the Public Loan Works board.

The move will end the £35,000 subsidy given by the town council each year and economic development and regeneration manager Peter Wheelhouse said the plans will create a handful of jobs and save the council money in 2014.

Mr Wheelhouse said: "The scheme will create the equivalent of four to five new full-time jobs and provide facilities for small business and office space for freelance workers.

"Most of the new jobs will be in the cafe, bar and extended box office.

"The annual subsidy to the Cheese and Grain will cease in 2014 and because of this the council see a saving."

The plan will be put in front of full town council meeting being held on Wednesday and is also subject to planning consent from the district council, which also owns the freehold on the building.

Councillor Toby Eliot, chairman of the town council's internal affairs committee, said: "Investment is always better than subsidy. Instead of propping up the Cheese and Grain this initiative will create a truly self-sustaining community asset."

Cheese and Grain manager Steve MacArthur said they were not expecting any serious objections to the plan from anyone in Frome or Mendip.

Mr MacArthur said: "The scheme saves taxpayers' money, creates jobs and supports local enterprise.

"It will strengthen the Cheese and Grain's reputation as a regional venue, bringing in badly needed visitors, who will use Frome's hotels, restaurants, taxis and takeaways."

The Cheese and Grain, which recently saw the installation of a new stage and won the Green Market of the Year Award, will continue to host markets, fairs and events.

If given the go-ahead the scheme will begin in August and be complete by the end of November.

During the redevelopment the cafe will be closed but all other markets, fairs and events will not be disrupted.

The full council meeting will be held at the Assembly Rooms, in Christchurch Street West, from 7pm.

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