The local Labour Party stand with the people of Frome in their opposition to the siting of the Frome Boxworks proposal. This is a scheme generated by Mendip District Council to place twenty giant shipping containers in the Market Yard car park, which they own. The containers are to be converted, Shoreditch-style, into starter offices and managed by Gavin Eddy of Forward Space, who has a similar scheme up and running in Bristol.
There are important differences here. Mendip needs to make money – and it sees the Cheese and Grain car park on the West side of the Cheese and Grain as the perfect cash cow. They plan to invest £300,000 on initial start up costs to supply essential services to the shipping containers, turning them into a shiny work hub that will generate £150,000 a year income. Lovely for them. Not so lovely for the newly resurgent Cheese and Grain who will have to provide catering and basic sanitation for the new enterprise, giving a whole new meaning to the definition of ‘rat run’.
We agree with local people that this is a good idea in the wrong location. With no infrastructure to support the bare necessities, unrealistic and unreasonable demands on our much-loved Cheese and Grain, a logistical nightmare for traders and rock n roll bands alike, a huge blow to our wonderful Canoe Club, plus the loss of valuable car parking spaces we believe that this scheme is flawed below the water line. Meanwhile, Saxonvale lies dormant.
Our local Labour Party candidate, Sean Dromgoole, has this to say about the scheme, ‘Labour is totally in favour of stimulating local business. Most modern business hubs are designed around shared spaces – overlapping expertise, shared resources, skills and new idea generation all come in areas where different companies bump into each other. They don’t come in ugly steel boxes reclaimed from their shipping duties, only to find themselves stacked until the rust takes them in a Frome car park.’
‘Sweating the Councils assets’
There is widespread concern that Mendip District Council will approve the scheme in October as part of their plans to ‘sweat the Council’s assets’. With no political clout at district level Frome is vulnerable to Mendip’s plan to capitalise on Frome’s hard-won regeneration. Labour offer a real voice for the people at local level to challenge these kind of plans being imposed on the town from above.
The people of Frome are united in their opposition to the siting of shipping containers outside the Cheese and Grain.
We say listen to the people.
Full plans can be viewed on MDC website planning search facility, application 2017/2307/RE3