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Next steps to begin on new Chard leisure centre ahead of autumn 2021 opening

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Following the successful completion of structural frame, the exciting next steps for the new Chard leisure centre are due to begin.

As part of our Chard Regeneration project, we are updating Boden Street car park in order to provide improved facilities for the new leisure centre and the surrounding area. In order to achieve this, we need to close Boden Street car park for a short period of time – approximately six weeks from now until Christmas.

We understand that the timing of the closure is not ideal, what with many of you wanting to visit Chard town centre in the lead up to Christmas. However, to keep on track of schedule and avoid delays, work on the site needs to be completed in a specific order. This is especially important now, as work has already been forcibly stopped previously due to COVID-19 restrictions. We hope you can appreciate that the future benefits of completing this work far out way the temporary inconvenience caused by the closure, for both the visitors of Chard town centre and for the local businesses in the area.

Councillor Jason Baker, Chard Regeneration Scheme portfolio holder, said: “We are excited that progress is really being made down at the regeneration site with the leisure centre and that the contractors, Speller Metcalfe, are forging ahead with building works. This is a live site in the middle of a busy town centre where businesses are currently operating, so inevitably there was going to be some disruption during the build process. We’ve kept residents and businesses informed throughout the build and we’ll work with those affected by the closure of the car park to ensure access when required is given.”

So where can I park?

The following Council run car parks, which are located near the town centre and Boden Street, remain open:

  • Essex Close car park, TA20 1RH
  • Combe Street car park, TA20 1JA
  • The Minnows car park, TA20 1PL
  • Bath Street car park, TA20 2ET
  • Crowshute (Summer Fields Road) car park, TA20 2EZ

You can view the number of parking spaces (including disabled and motorcycle bays).

A reminder that our Marketfield (Fore Street) car park remains closed.

What about local businesses?

Here at South Somerset District Council, we are passionate about our high streets and dedicated to supporting our local business, especially during such uncertain times for many. We are doing our best to support local businesses in the run up to the Christmas period.

As part of the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund, we have provided grants to nearly 3,000 small businesses across South Somerset, totalling over £35 million.

Through the High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme, we applied for a grant of £1 million to be match funded by SSDC and we were delighted when Historic England recently advised that the full amount requested would be awarded. This money will be invested in and around Chard high street, including repairs to a number of historic buildings, refurbishing distinctive shopfronts and improving the streetscape to make it safer and more attractive to residents and potential visitors and shoppers.

What is the Chard Regeneration project?

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.

The Chard Regeneration project remains on budget and on track for completion in autumn 2021.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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