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Five key changes you’ll see to Lower Middle Street as part of the Yeovil Refresh public realm improvements

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It was recently announced that the highly anticipated transformational refresh changes to the public realm areas of Yeovil town centre are set to begin in the near future following completion of work on final public realm designs.

One of the areas set to see changes to the public realm is Lower Middle Street area which will make the space more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses.

Artists' impression of Lower Middle Street

Photo above: Artists' impression of what lower Middle Street could look like once work is completed.

We’ve picked out five key changes to the area that you will see once work is completed:

Rain garden planting

We want to introduce sustainable urban drainage principles in this area to provide additional tree and ornamental planting to help make this area of town more attractive. Feedback during consultation on the public realm told us you wanted to see more greenery in the town centre, so we are introducing new street planting in a lot of the public realm areas. This will help to brighten the area up and also help with taking in CO2 and providing oxygen. Street planting also helps with land drainage and provides a habitat for wildlife.

Improved street lighting and new bench seating

Improved street lighting in this public realm area will help with decreasing anti-social behaviour by ensuring it is well lit. Benches also offer an opportunity for people to take a break from shopping.

Flexible paving space

Flexible paving space will help to facilitate markets and other events. This is important to ensure that we adapt our high streets in the town centre to fit and suit the needs of users and visitors. We want to make Yeovil town centre a place where people can enjoy their shopping.

New and improved natural stone paving

With the rest of the town centre, we want to make sure the town centre flows so will be introducing new and improved natural stone paving in this area so that it all joins up with the other public realm improvement schemes we will be completing. It helps to give a better look and quality finish to the town.

Potential new gateway feature

We will be potentially installing a new gateway feature at the bottom of Lower Middle Street to welcome pedestrians into the town centre from that end of town. We are yet to finalise this decision but it’s something we feel the town centre could benefit from to make it more appealing to visitors and users.

The public realm enhancement work will change the areas that people move or congregate around and will make areas more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses. There are a total of six areas of the town centre which will see changes including Westminster Street, The Borough, upper Middle Street (including Wine Street), Middle Street (East), Middle Street (West) and The Triangle.

Work is scheduled to start in early February and will be completed in a phased approach over a few years to ensure the town centre can keep running while the construction work is delivered, beginning with Westminster Street.

Throughout the design and consultation stages, businesses and residents have been consulted on what they would like to see and consideration to impacts have been taken into account. Through the build stages, we plan to work with the businesses within the streets to minimise the impacts on them as much as possible. 

Councillor Peter Gubbins, executive member for Yeovil Refresh, said: “I think it’s fair to say that Lower Middle Street currently looks depressed and is long overdue a facelift and we are looking forward to bringing this end of town up to scratch with the rest of the town centre. Lower Middle Street has plenty of opportunities for it and with the work that The Martin Group will be doing on Glovers Walk, this could be a real great asset and fantastic area for Yeovil.”

Andrew Clancy, Managing Director of Coreus, who have been working with SSDC on Quantity Surveying, project management support and the public realm designs, said: “As a South Somerset resident, I am so pleased to be supporting SSDC in project and cost management works for the regeneration of Yeovil. The public realm works will regenerate the town and in a post Covid world help attract inward investment and economic development.”

Nationally, the old traditional high street idea that town centres are filled with rows and rows of shops is outdated. We want to create an experience where the high street offers a mix of housing, service industry and shops to help counter the effects of online shopping. Multi-stores are starting to decline in town centres and we are increasingly seeing a new norm of bijou style shops, cafes and independent traders.

Clean Air and reduced pollution in town and city centres is becoming increasingly important. As a local authority we have designed a place which strives to improve the air quality in the town centre. We will reduce traffic in the centre of the town which helps improve air quality for residents and visitors; and with Yeovil having an air quality action plan, we can make great strides in ensuring we help to meet our environmental targets in our Environment Strategy.

You can read more about the final public realm designs announcement on our website.

Yeovil Refresh website

We now have a Yeovil Refresh website where you can keep up-to-date with the latest news, view information and images from the projects and read all about the Yeovil Refresh programme. Visit www.yeovilrefresh.co.uk to see for yourself.

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