AN UPDATE FROM SOUTH SOMERSET DISTRICT COUNCIL
Over the past month, you’ve been telling us what you think about our ambitious plans to regenerate Chard.
It comes after a successful launch of our public consultation which was attended by more than 500 residents at the Guildhall in June which offered an opportunity to learn more about the Chard Regeneration Scheme.
The scheme focuses on regenerating the Boden Mill site in the centre of the town, and proposed components could include a new leisure centre and swimming pool, alongside a blend of housing and commercial developments. In addition to this, the scheme proposes a number of other measures to boost business in the town, support events and revitalise the market. You can find more details below.
The consultation will continue until September but here are five things you’ve told us about the proposals so far:
- You would love to see more green and open spaces for the community where public events could be held
- You would like to see a new leisure centre including a swimming pool provided alongside affordable attractions for young people
- You would like more places to eat and socialise
- The idea of creating a community hub is something you would welcome
- You would like to see the scheme incorporate ways of helping small, independent retailers and welcomed the idea of a covered market
Comments have also covered issues including public transport, parking spaces and the importance of preserving the character of the town. South Somerset District Council wants the community to help shape these plans and the comments it has already received, along with what you tell us in the future, will all be considered in the final proposals.
Further consultation events are planned at one of the Council’s popular Play Day events in Chard in August and another in Chard in September. You can also continue to have your say online at www.southsomerset.gov.uk/business/chard-regeneration/ – where you can also view the current proposals – or use the suggestion box at The Guildhall. Additionally, you can email chard.refresh@SouthSomerset.Gov.uk.
Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, Portfolio Holder for Environment & Economic Development, said, “We were thrilled to share our vision and proposals with the community and hear your feedback on the key elements you would like to see in the regeneration of the town. We want residents and businesses to be at the heart of these plans so it’s so important that you continue to let us know what you think.
“We’re determined that we will deliver on our promise to make these proposals a reality.”
Here’s a brief guide to what is proposed as part of the Chard Regeneration Scheme:
New Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool
A brand new leisure centre is suggested in the plans, on the former ACI factory site, that would include improved facilities for the local community and visitors. Proposed facilities could include a swimming pool, café and studio space. This aims to provide a high quality, modern, new development to support health and wellbeing for residents, and increased footfall from people visiting the town.
Within the proposals, the Boden Mill itself is envisioned as a cultural and public sector hub, with everything the community needs in one space. The ground floor could include a variety of services, such as the library, museum, a learning hub and a customer hub where residents can speak to their local team. It may also include residential units on the upper floors.
The Council believes that public space in the town centre could be even better so that the community can enjoy it to the full. With this in mind the proposals suggest a new, attractive, open public space in the town that the community can use for a variety of purposes and functions. This versatile space could be used by the community as a place for social gatherings, public art, family play areas, and community events. There will also be space allocated for car and coach parking.
Supporting local businesses and additional options
There is also potential to consider different elements within Boden Mill and the public space, including a medical centre, business units, a covered market and a play area. What’s more, the scheme is about more than just physical changes, and will include ongoing support for local businesses and residents. It will support local and independent businesses with special events and promotions, develop the current market, improve broadband connectivity and provide business advice.