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Check back here to stay up to date with the latest Wincanton Regeneration programme news and events

Archived Press Releases

Archived Press Releases

The following press releases predate South Somerset District Council becoming part of Somerset Council in April 2023:

Successes to date and what happens next

02 February 2023

As we approach the transition from South Somerset District Council to the new Somerset Council, the councillors elected to the new authority have undertaken an extensive review of both the revenue and capital budgets for the financial year 2023/24 and beyond.

This has implications for some of the projects currently underway in South Somerset, including Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration.

At the South Somerset District Council District Executive meeting held on Thursday 2 February 2023, Members noted the situation including that:

  • The total amount of the agreed capital budget for the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration has been reprofiled so that the spend anticipated to be incurred in 2023/24 and in following years has been deferred by a year; and
  • Future spend will be dependent upon an updated business case being submitted to the Somerset Council next year for implementation in 2024/25 and beyond

Although the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration project is being deferred, there have already been several successes in delivering the Wincanton Town Centre Strategy.

The strategy was produced in 2019 following public consultation and engagement with key stakeholders.  Public feedback informed the main themes including enhancing the attractiveness of the town centre including property grants and creating a destination including holding events and activities.

Good progress has been made in both of these areas, with 25 events funded during the past three years, which have resulted in more than 4,000 ‘in-person’ visits to Wincanton, plus online coverage and promotion, which have helped raise Wincanton’s profile.

Also, the property project has resulted in 17 properties receiving property repair grant allocations, which is improving the built environment and providing a more attractive setting for the town centre and for businesses and the community.

Cllr Sarah Dyke, Chair of the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration Board and Portfolio Holder for the Environment said:

“Wincanton is of huge strategic importance to the South East of the county and I, alongside my colleagues, am committed to regenerating our communities and town centres.  As such I will continue to stand up for the economic and social wellbeing of Wincanton.  A business case will need to be prepared for consideration by Somerset Council for implementation from 2024/25, which if approved, would be followed by the development of proposed plans for vacant premises in consultation with the public.

This would lead to the regeneration of Wincanton bringing vitality and viability to the town centre, businesses and community.  This focus on the re-use of vacant town centre premises was also agreed by members of the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration Board in the Summer of 2022 and is in line with the third main theme identified in the Wincanton Town Centre Strategy.”

Additional board meeting held to bring fresh ideas to Wincanton Regeneration

01 August 2022

Since the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration Strategy was approved in 2019, the Council has been through a substantial period of change. Proposals for a unitary Somerset Council have been confirmed and new County Councillors for Wincanton appointed.

South Somerset District Council, therefore, took the decision to hold an additional Wincanton Regeneration Board meeting on Monday 1 August. Chaired by recently appointed Area East Chair, Cllr Sarah Dyke, the meeting was an opportunity for attendees to offer fresh ideas and opinions about what should happen in the remaining months of the project.

One of the early priorities for the Board was bringing key empty premises in the town back into use. It has agreed to focus on this, as the key driver of regeneration in the town over the coming months.  The Wincanton Regeneration Board will now seek approval for the proposed change of scope.  Meanwhile, the proposals for the public realm enhancements will be passed to the new Somerset Council to be considered for future delivery after funding opportunities are explored.

Cllr Sarah Dyke said “feedback from partners and local people has informed our decision to focus on the re-use of empty premises in the remaining months of the project.  As a District Council, we are committed to regenerating Wincanton town centre. The Town Centre Strategy set out ideas for the re-use of redundant buildings by introducing small scale mixed-use development, which offers the opportunity for commercial space and modest residential provision appropriate to the setting.  We are excited to be advancing this work, which should bring about real change in Wincanton.”

A busy final year for Wincanton Town Centre

03 March 2022

As the South Somerset District Council Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration enters its final year, Councillors have agreed a new budget of £2.39m, which will enable the regeneration plans for the town to be completed by March 2023.

The recommendation for the revised budget was approved by Full Council on Monday evening (28 February).

The Wincanton Town Centre Strategy seeks to improve the attractiveness of the town centre by creating an environment where businesses wish to trade and spaces which people will visit and want to spend time. The project comprises a range of initiatives including physical infrastructure and property improvements, as well as softer interventions.

At the heart of the regeneration strategy are improvements to the public realm – widening footways, updating crossing points, complimentary planting schemes and other upgrades to enhance the attractiveness and safety of key locations in the town centre.

It has been a challenging year for the construction industry and local contractors. However, despite initial setbacks, designs are being finalised and tenders will be invited in early March for three public realm schemes:

  • Market Place
  • Carrington Way
  • Central High Street

The approval of the budget will now allow a property grant programme to commence, with an initial call for applications at the end of March to property owners whose properties have been identified as requiring urgent and high level works.

Funding has already been awarded for 18 town centre events and activities with support from the grant programme. The grant supports events which have the potential to be viable in the longer term, helping boost town centre footfall and encourage people to visit the town centre and support local businesses now and in the future. Events successfully took place throughout 2021, with more exciting activities planned for 2022.

Councillor Henry Hobhouse, portfolio holder for Wincanton Town Centre Strategy, said: “Wincanton has a great character and a wealth of independent shops. I am pleased to see the regeneration strategy progressing with so many brilliant activities and events already taking place and increasing footfall to the town centre. With the public realm phase of the programme due to begin this year, alongside the property grant programme and further events that have secured funding, it is an exciting time for the residents, businesses and visitors of Wincanton.”

Why was a change to the budget needed?

When the original budget of £5.673m was approved in 2019, it included £3.2m for the anticipated purchase and redevelop the White Horse (a long time vacant Grade II Listed coaching inn on the ‘at risk’ register). This involvement was always seen as a last resort that would only come into play if the commercial market weren’t bringing forward a solution for the site. Since the current owners acquired the site, they have been actively engaging with planning to bring forward a solution for the building. So the position now is very different to that in 2019. This means that, although the overall budget figure reduced, the actual capital available to deliver the rest of the programme remains broadly the same.

Wincanton’s public realm improvement schemes move a step closer

27 September 2021

Plans to improve appearance of Wincanton have moved a step closer following the latest meeting of Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration Board.

Its members recently discussed the advanced designs for proposed improvements in the town centre and concluded that the schemes that will provide the greatest benefit, and are affordable, should be progressed.

More than 200 people contributed to a public consultation held in May this year. The feedback showed overwhelming support for the quality of the environment in the town centre to be improved in order to complement the town’s history.

Designs are being advanced for:

  • Market Place
  • Carrington Way
  • Central High Street

South Somerset District Council is now entering the technical design phase, which involves liaison with Somerset County Council which, as the Highways Authority, must approve the schemes before they are finally implemented.

About the schemes

  • Market Place
    The scheme design for the Market Place will result in a much improved appearance for this important historic place. It will create a better space for pedestrians, safer crossing points, more planting areas and also has the advantage of retaining some of the existing parking provision.
  • Central High Street
    The public consultation showed strong support for the improvements to the central High Street where there has been a long held local aspiration to improve the narrow pavements, safety for pedestrians and reduce vehicle speeds.
  • Carrington Way
    The design being taken forward will see what we’re calling a ‘light touch declutter’ on the western side of the Carrington Way junction,  with additional planting planned for the area in front of the library there will also be improved  crossing points at the junction. This scheme will extend to the east of the junction onto the High Street where there are plans for pavements to be widened, pedestrian crossing enhanced and two additional on-street parking spaces created.

This is an exciting step forward and once the necessary approvals are received, the intention is to invite tenders for these schemes later this year so works could start in 2022.

Councillor Henry Hobhouse, portfolio holder for Wincanton Town Centre Strategy, said: “The deliverability of the schemes and the feedback that has been given by members of the public has informed the approach we are moving forward with.

“As a District Council, we are committed to regenerating Wincanton town centre. That’s not just about trying to fill the empty shops, but we must also work on how the town centre looks so that it attracts more people and more businesses. We need to make improvements to the public spaces to provide a good experience so that people want to come to the town to live, shop and for socialising.”

Councillor Sue Shelbourn-Barrow, chair of Wincanton Town Council, said: “We are excited to hear the planned regeneration of our high street is moving forward to the next phase and look forward to seeing the first project completed.”

The overall regeneration programme aims to boost footfall and help create a more vibrant town centre, working with partners, in which Wincanton’s businesses can flourish. The strategy includes public realm improvements such as widening footways, introducing different surface dressings, better delineation of on street parking and planting schemes, proposals are tailored to individual locations.

Last reviewed: May 9, 2024 by Adam

Next review due: November 9, 2024

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