Following extensive research and guided by suggestions previously made by Chard residents, South Somerset District Council has worked with partners to develop an ambitious strategy which will bring significant changes to Chard and the community.
Chard Regeneration focuses on regenerating the Boden Mill site in the centre of the town, and proposed components 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.
We have been awarded £1 million of Government high street funding through Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone programme and this has been match-funded by the council, giving a total of £2 million to spend in the historic heart of Chard’s shopping area.
This money will be invested in and around Chard Fore Street, including repairs to a number of historic buildings, renovating shopfronts and improving the streetscape to make it safer and more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors and shoppers.
The aim of the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme is to make the high street a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and spend time.
Two strategies have been created to assist with regeneration work in the town centre:
“I’m proud to be the Portfolio Holder for the Chard Regeneration scheme and to see this programme come to life.
From concept to build, we have listened to what residents have told us they would like and I am personally delighted to be able to offer the community facilities that have been asked for, consulted on and now implemented.
We want Chard to be a great town where people want to visit, businesses will flourish and everyone has an enjoyable experience when they visit this unique town.
The High Street Heritage Action Zone work in the town centre alongside the facilities being provided at the Boden Mill site will ensure that residents and visitors will do just this and as a Council, we are very pleased to be investing in this town and are excited for the future of Chard.”
Councillor Jason Baker – Portfolio Holder for Chard Regeneration
Chard offers a combination of qualities that make it a unique and special place. One of the key aims of the Regeneration Programme is that the investment will strengthen the community and make the town increasingly self-sufficient with all the services, facilities and events necessary to make it a great place to live.
The programme will also develop and enhance Chard’s urban environment so that it has a quality that is comparable to the town’s stunning natural setting and rich cultural heritage.
Chard Regeneration Programme Objectives
- To provide compelling reasons for residents and visitors to visit and use Chard town centre.
- To bring the key sites and buildings in Chard Town Centre back into economic and community use. This will stimulate physical regeneration and improve the vitality of the town centre.
- To increase the footfall within the town and support existing businesses.
- To improve the leisure and health offer in Chard for both local people and new visitors
- To reinvigorate and bolster the role of Chard as a Market Town and economic centre.
In a nutshell, the benefits of the Chard Regeneration programme align with our objectives above, but for us, there are a couple of stand alone benefits that the scheme will bring:
- Help boost the economy of the town centre of Chard
- Bring a much more enjoyable experience to the users of the town centre
Since the start of the pre-application stage of the new leisure centre, public consultation has been at the heart of the process with public feedback setting the direction of where Chard Regeneration went.
The plans began with these initial proposals. They were displayed to hundreds of residents at an event in Chard on Saturday 16 June 2018, attended by hundreds of residents. We had a fantastic response with hundreds of letters, comments and emails.
This video gives an overview of some of the comments we received:
The consultation ended in September following a number of further events and here’s an overview of what you’ve been saying:
- 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
Chard Regeneration Scheme Town Centre Regeneration – Public Consultation Feedback Report reports on the feedback, and we have also been working with pupils at Holyrood School.
On Saturday 16 March 2019, we held a second event in Chard which was attended by more than 500 people.
At this event, we were able to provide more detail on what the new leisure centre site could look like. The display can be seen here: Chard Regenerations public consultation board
The following video was produced by AHR to illustrate how it could look:
If you have a question or something to say about the programme, fill in our online contact form and an officer will get back to you if a response is required.