A MUCH-loved landmark site in a Somerset town has been 'returned to the community' - and is set to host markets, music and more in the future.

Boyle Cross, in Frome, is a popular town centre spot for buskers and shoppers, and includes a historic fountain.

The site was built in 1871 by the Hon and Rev R C Boyle, rector of Marston Bigot, as a token of his affection for the town.

Designed by his wife, Mrs E V Boyle, and sculpted by Joseph Chapman of Frome, the fountain was restored to its original use as a fountain three years ago.

Now, Mendip District Council (MDC) has transferred the Market Place site to Frome Town Council for £1.

The transfer sees the town council take on responsibility for the heritage site.

Along with gifting the land, MDC is also making a one-off contribution of £9,000 towards maintenance costs.

As part of the agreement, Frome Town Council can hold small markets on the land and will work with Mendip’s Market Team to ensure any joint markets are synchronised for the benefit of the town.

Leader of MDC, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: “We are delighted to be returning the monument and the paved area at Market Place to the people of Frome, and will support Frome Town Council with a further £9,000 running cost contribution.

"This is clearly an important piece of heritage that is loved and enjoyed by local people and they will no doubt treasure it and ensure it flourishes now it’s back in their hands.”

Somerset County Gazette: LANDMARK SITE: Boyle Cross, in Frome, which includes a historic fountain
HISTORIC: Boyle Cross, in Frome

Anne Hills, leader of Frome Town Council, said: “We are thrilled to be taking on the stewardship of this historic site and look forward to filling the space with activity.

"We want to see a continuation of what is already there, including Stuart the flower man, and the other market traders, but in time we want to welcome a host of others.

"To that end, we are looking for expressions of interest for people to run events and activities and pop-ups on the space.

"It is our ambition to ensure that this very special centre remains the beating heart of our town, full of life.”

Anyone interested in trading on the space will need a street trader’s licence issued by Mendip District Council, if you are a food stall you will need Health and Safety and Food Hygiene Certificates and Public Liability Insurance.

See www.mendip.gov.uk/article/7007/Register-A-Food-Businesss for more details, and send expressions of interest to info@frometowncounci.gov.uk.

Busking is also allowed on the Boyle Cross and throughout the town. The town's Buskers code can be found at http://bit.ly/FromeBusking.