Five key changes you’ll see to Westminster 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 Westminster Street which will make the area 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:
Additional pedestrian space
As part of the design in the Westminster Street area, we have widened the footpaths to provide additional pedestrian space. This will enable those walking to and from Tesco for example to walk with ease and for footfall traffic to flow better.
Improved natural stone paving
Improvements to the paving in the area will enhance the look, giving it a much more appealing appearance.
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.
Improved street lighting
Improved street lighting in this public realm area will help with decreasing anti-social behaviour by ensuring it is well lit.
We’ve looked at adding street furniture to this area so that visitors can enjoy the surroundings of Westminster Street. With the new improvement works, we anticipate this area becoming somewhere that people will want to spend time in.
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: “Westminster Street is a key gateway into the town centre because there is a lot of footfall that flows from Tesco car park to the town centre. We want to ensure that when people first step into the town, they see something they like, they find it appealing and want to come back to Yeovil because of the pleasant experience.”
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.