Five key changes you’ll see to the High Street as part of the Yeovil Refresh public realm improvements
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 the High Street and clock tower area which will make the space more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses.
We’ve picked out five key changes to the area that you will see once work is completed:
Enhanced and decluttered setting of the clock tower
We recognise that the ‘millennium clock’ is a key feature in the town centre so we want to make it stand out more by enhancing the area and decluttering items such as benches and bins around the base of it.
Photo above: The clock tower currently on The High Street in Yeovil.
We will install a new bus gate to this area to monitor and restrict traffic movements entering the Borough so this area can be pedestrianised and opened up to allow improved pedestrian access and links to areas such as Middle Street.
We will be widening footpaths to provide additional pedestrian space in the High Street and improving the area with natural stone paving to match that used in Westminster Street to create a joined up town centre flow.
Improved street lighting and bench seating
Improved street lighting in this public realm area will help with decreasing anti-social behaviour by ensuring it is well lit. New bench seating will allow town centre users to also take a break during shopping and enjoy the atmosphere or the town centre.
New street planting
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.
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 Streett (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: “The High Street is a symbolic and historic area of the town centre of Yeovil and we want to open this space up more and reduce traffic flow so that pedestrians feel safe in this area. Currently the paths are narrow, forcing people into the roads and we will be able to reduce this happening with the public realm improvements in this area.”
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.
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.