A major regeneration project in Chard which will see a new leisure facility built in the town, has been approved by South Somerset District Council’s Area West Committee and Regulation Committee.
The former industrial site at the Boden Mill in the town centre will be regenerated and a modern, new leisure centre will be built that includes a swimming pool for residents and visitors to enjoy.
In addition to the leisure centre, approval has also been granted for the conversion and extension of an existing building to create a new library and community hub. Future phases of the development include proposals for housing, commercial units, and public realm improvements (the way the area looks).
All of this has been made possible thanks to South Somerset District Council’s ambitious Chard Regeneration Scheme, which has been a priority project for the organisation within the Council Plan. Consultation with the public and key stakeholders in September 2018 and March 2019 helped inform proposals for the site, with feedback including:
- 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
The redevelopment of this site has been a clear ambition of the District Council for a number of years and forms a key part of the wider regeneration proposals for the town. The District
Council is working in partnership with Alliance Leisure to provide the new leisure centre, and along with the range of other facilities will attract people to the town centre. It will also improve pedestrian links to and from the site as well as to other local services and facilities.
Councillor Jason Baker, portfolio holder for the Chard Regeneration Scheme and Chairman of Area West Committee, said: “I’m pleased to see this application go through Area West Committee today and for the residents of Chard to see that the District Council is committed to delivering its promise to providing a high quality leisure facility on the site, with a swimming pool which is desperately needed by the communities in and around Chard.
“The Boden Mill site has been derelict for many years now and has been an eye sore in the town centre, but with the regeneration of the site taking place over the coming years, I’m confident that this scheme will help to bring more footfall to the town centre, increase the vitality and help to boost businesses locally.”
Next Project Steps
Demolition of existing buildings at the site is expected to commence in winter 2019 and should be completed by spring 2020. Phase 1 construction works can then start and these are expected to be completed by summer 2021.