The Wincanton Town Centre Strategy was produced in 2019 following public consultation and engagement with key stakeholders. Public feedback informed the ‘vision’ which is for Wincanton town centre to become a place that:
- is well used and a thriving place to live, work and visit
- has an enhanced retail, community and social function that encourages visits during the day and in the evening
- makes more of the centres special cultural and heritage character through improvements to the public realm and buildings to attract investment into the town centre
- has a wider mix of uses, including commercial floor space and quality housing that supports enterprise, creativity and vibrancy
- will create a convenient and attractive destination for both local residents and visitors, using the unique assets of Wincanton town centre and the surrounding area.
As we approach the final year of the project, a diverse range of initiatives will help to deliver the strategy objectives within three main themes:
- Broadening the mix of uses – includes engaging landowners of vacant premises, and under-used sites to promote owner driven re-use of the building or alternative uses appropriate to the town centre.
- Enhancing the attractiveness of the town centre - suggestions for modest interventions such as planting/greening schemes, work to align trading hours, and larger specific projects such as public realm improvements and a property grant programme which were launched in early 2022.
- Creating a destination – this includes a variety of projects from one off events, marketing initiatives, partnership with local attractors, signage within and to/from and within the town.
Events and activities grant
August 2022 Update – Events and activities grant
Application process suspended for new applications
As part of the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration programme, South Somerset District Council accepted applications from community organisations and businesses wishing to organise an event or activity in the town centre. Innovative and creative ideas for events, which will help to bring people into town, were eligible to apply for a grant of up to 50% towards an event, which will take place before March 2023, to a maximum of:
- £5,000 for a once off or 3-year project (application from one organisation)
- £10,000 for a once of or 3-year project (partnership application) for collaborative initiatives where one organisation is the applying body, co-ordinating on behalf of at least three partner groups/businesses.
The grant was intended to support the delivery of the following two key strands of the town centre strategy:
- Wincanton has an enhanced retail, community and social function that encourages visits during the day and evening.
- Wincanton Town Centre becomes a place that will create a convenient and attractive destination for both local residents and visitors using the unique assets of Wincanton town centre and the surrounding area.
The grant supported events which had 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.
For further information on how to plan and run your event safely, visit our Safety Advisory Group page.
Public Realm project
August 2022 Update – Public Realm project
Not currently progressing, the proposals will be passed to the new Somerset Council to be considered for future delivery after funding opportunities are explored.
One of the projects currently advancing is enhancement of the town centre’s public realm (how the area will look and be used). The public realm improvement schemes will make the town centre feel more attractive for residents, businesses and visitors. They will help improve public perceptions, and support existing businesses by encouraging people to visit and stay longer, which all helps to create a vibrant town.
Wincanton town centre enjoys an abundance of attractive heritage buildings. Improvements to public spaces, footways and road layouts will enhance the attractiveness of the overall town centre environment where much of the infrastructure is very dated and has been unchanged for decades.
The town centre strategy identified the possible locations for public realm improvements and outline designs were developed for the locations which formed the basis for a public consultation in late Spring 2021.
The public consultation provided valuable input into the next design stage, which is prepared in liaison with Somerset Council who, as the Highway Authority, must approve the schemes before they can be implemented. The focus is on bringing forward those schemes which bring the most benefit and can be delivered in the available budget. Designs for the following locations have been advanced through the technical design phase and subject to the necessary approvals should go into construction in Spring 2022, with an anticipated build period of 6 months.
- Market Place
- Carrington Way
- Central High Street
August 2022 Update
Application process suspended for new applications.
The town centre has a wealth of heritage assets including many listed buildings situated within the Conservation Area. An external assessment of the front of buildings has been completed. This identifies the works required to individual buildings to help preserve the historic frontages and improve the appearance.
A grant programme to encourage, and part fund, a programme of owner led repairs to the historic shopfronts and buildings in the town centre is now open. This will provide:
- support for remedial works required by the historic building assessment
- initially fund up to a maximum of 70% of the cost of identified high level or urgent work
- fund up to 50% of other works
- maximum grant, £6k per property
- a maximum of two awards per recipient in respect of individual properties.
Where owners have multiple properties, grants will be prioritised towards those properties requiring:
- urgent works
- high level works
- other work.
Funds are specifically to support identified improvements and will be awarded against a programme of costed works based on quotes from two independent (without connection) contractors. Grants are released on satisfactory completion of works, on production of receipted invoices and after inspection.
The grant programme ran from April 2022 to July 2022. Works are to be fully completed and all claims made by 28 February 2023. Grants can be used for residential as well as commercial properties.
The grant programme opened with an initial call for applications in April 2022, the option remained open for 2 months for priority buildings identified as requiring urgent works and high-level work.
If an owner has multiple properties, the total funding award will not exceed £12k (equivalent to two maximum funding awards). Funds will be prioritised to those buildings requiring urgent and high level works ahead of other properties.