What is planned
Because of its special character, Chard has been designated a “High Street Heritage Action Zone” and secured over £2 million of funding to invest in the town centre between 2020 and 2024, including £1 million of Government high streets funding from Historic England.
The high street has been the heart of the community for generations and this funding will revitalise it for the future. We will invest in the physical infrastructure and organise events that unlock Chard’s potential as a unique place
to live, work and visit.
The HSHAZ programme will have three parts:
- Public realm improvements (that is, the pedestrian areas of the street)
- Grants for the repair and renovation of historic buildings and shopfronts
- Community engagement
Our latest Chard Regeneration booklet, developed in July 2021, gives you all the information you need to know about our HSHAZ programme.
Improvements to the public realm in Chard will create a better town centre environment, worthy of Chard’s historic character.
Following feedback from the public and businesses, the scheme will:
- Improve the setting of the Guildhall, moving the bus stop slightly west to provide enhanced views of this significant building
- Widen sections of pavement on Fore Street and Holyrood Street to provide easier movement of pedestrians, improved accessibility, safer crossing points and potential for markets, café seating or other events, as well as reducing the dominance of traffic
- Replace tired concrete, brick and tarmac paving with high quality natural stone in Holyrood Street, near the Guildhall on Fore Street and at the ‘Eastern Gateway’ (junction of Fore Street and Silver Street)
- Enhance the setting of the unique water rills which run through the town
- Construct a new footway along Boden Street between Costa Coffee and the Boden Street car park, creating a safe pedestrian route to and from the town centre and connecting to the leisure centre. The road will be narrower to allow for this, and will therefore become one-way northbound between Commercial Row and Fore Street.
- Plant new trees and beds to add more greenery to the urban setting
- Make safety improvements to the junctions of Marketfield and Boden Street car parks, to increase visibility for drivers pulling out
- Declutter street furniture and create new cycle parking and seating areas.
The new design delivers on the 2019 Chard Town Centre Public Realm Strategy which was informed by public and stakeholder engagement.
Work began on site in late September 2021 and will conclude in autumn 2022. Keep up to date with progress by checking our Latest News page or sign up to receive newsletters from the contractor, Alun Griffiths Ltd.
Street plans showing which areas will be improved.
What you told us
The High Street Heritage Action Zone programme has been developed following a number of public and business consultation activities held since 2018, which told us:
- The streetscape is lacklustre and would benefit from a refresh
- There are many localised issues relating to poor repair and appearance, and access/safety issues
- Fore Street is very linear and dominated by traffic – people asking what can be done to reduce this
- Many liked the free on-street parking however there was considerable support for a modest reduction to allow improved/expanded pedestrian environment
- There is strong endorsement for creating space for market stalls and public events
- The Guildhall is the heart of the town centre
- There is concern that the leisure centre will become the “centre of town” and detract from the high street – a need to strengthen links between the leisure centre and the high street
- Many referred to the idea of Holyrood Street becoming pedestrianised or more accessible
- There is concern regarding the external image of Chard
- There is considerable civic pride relating to the town’s heritage and abundance of historic buildings.
This feedback informed the Chard Town Centre Public Realm Strategy, and Somerset Council’s bid to Historic England for the High Street Heritage Action Zone funding. The plans seek to address all these points.