Chard set to benefit from Historic High Street fund investment

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Chard town centre will benefit from a Historic High Street fund investment, after Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan announced 69 towns across the country set for a £95 million heritage boost.

South Somerset District Council (SSDC) applied for £1 million of the High Street Heritage Action Zone funding. A full announcement of exactly how much will be offered by Historic England will not be known until early 2020 once a full programme design has been submitted by SSDC.

Increasing competition from online outlets is putting high streets across the country under growing pressure. As part of the Government’s drive to help high streets adapt to changing consumer habits, the £95 million funding will provide a welcome boost that will breathe new life into historic buildings and areas in our towns and cities.

SSDC’s High Street Heritage Action Zone funding bid comprised of three public realm projects, the restoration of historic buildings and a cultural programme. Public realm improvements will be phased as each part of the Chard Regeneration Programme is completed.

Councillor Jason Baker, portfolio holder for the Chard Regeneration Scheme, said: “The Historic England High Streets Heritage Action Zone funding would help us regenerate some of the public realm areas and renovate valued historic buildings in Chard town centre that will create an appealing look to attract people to come and live, work, shop, learn and visit in the town. I am delighted that the bid submitted by South Somerset District Council has made it through to the next stage whereby Officers will work with Historic England to identify a programme design and what the work would mean in practice.

"The bid for this funding is part of the Chard Regeneration work that focuses on regenerating the Boden Mill site in the centre of the town, including 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.”

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England South West, said: “It’s fantastic news for the local people, residents and businesses in Chard that they will receive much needed funding to help support and revitalise their historic High Street. Historic England is looking forward to working with the local communities and stakeholders on this exciting projects.”

Moving forward, officers from SSDC will be holding engagement and consultation events with stakeholders and the public over the coming months to present projects from the recently completed public realm design guide. Concept and ideas around the public realm, that’s the way the area could look, will be presented as part of the consultation events.

The South West of England will benefit from £13.7 million of the total £95 million investment announced. You can view online the successful 69 locations new High Street Heritage Action Zones.

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