Historic Merchants Barton

Over 5,000 sqm of new commercial and community asset space, while preserving Frome’s history

Frome’s Merchant Barton.

During the twentieth century, and for centuries before, to the mills and factories of Saxonvale, workers have used the Merchants Barton as their central point of access, a key public pedestrian link between places of work and living.

How Will Our Plan Develop Merchants Barton?

We want to celebrate this history by reinvigorating this ‘missing’ barton as a place to visit, as well as pass through. Retail cloisters are proposed beneath the Old Town Wall (see photo to left) providing opportunities for pop-ups, small artisan and independent retailers.

It has been a long-standing ambition as part of the renovation of The Bennett Centre, to lower the level of the car park. This would provide disabled access and, in so doing, gloriously reveal the hidden basement facade which is of significant architectural merit.

We propose a new archway through into the Barton, allowing for pedestrian access to the listed building cluster, Central Mixed Use Quarter and other routes.

Connecting Merchants Barton to the rest of the site

Proposed commercial blocks to the north of the spa and Silk Mill are designed to maintain uninterrupted views of the listed building cluster and St John’s Church and are no more than two storeys.

The retail and commercial block to the west of the Western Warehouse utilises the level change with under-croft parking, which is one-way and exits onto Saxonvale. South facing single storey commercial and retail units face the Silk Mill courtyard with proposed tree planting and public circulation spaces to provide passive solar shading. Adjacent to the Western Warehouse a large staircase provides access down to renovated Press Shop No.1 & 2. and Notts Store; a new interior and exterior public square and covered market area are housed beneath the existing warehouse roof structures.

Frome’s Natural Water Spring

A natural spring along this passage would provide an exciting opportunity for a health and well-being destination right in Frome’s town centre. A spa, easily accessible from the town and the Barton, would be partially housed in the existing old abattoir which retains structures dating to the same period as the Silk Mill.