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Adoption of Yeovil Public Realm Design Guide paves the way for work to commence on public realm

| Your Area South

Transforming the look of Yeovil’s town centre is set to become a reality as South Somerset District Council’s Full Council adopted the Public Realm Design Guide.

The decision, taken in March of this year, creates a template for any building project that happens in Yeovil town centre. The Yeovil Public Realm Design Guide is a key foundation in the work to deliver the Yeovil Refresh.

As part of the formal adoption process, a Statutory Adoption Notice has to be displayed, but with the current coronavirus outbreak shutting council offices, the notice can be viewed online.

Councillor Peter Gubbins, executive portfolio holder for Yeovil Refresh, said: “The adoption of the Public Realm Design Guide really is the next step for Yeovil and will help to assist with what we have planned for the town centre and enable it to be a town centre that will be a vibrant place to live, work, shop, learn and visit.

“With the coronavirus outbreak, we will have a lot of work to do to entice people back to the town centres and to offer those businesses that currently operate the support they need. We have an excellent Economic Development team who can provide help and support, but by continuing with vital important projects such as Yeovil Refresh, we aim to show that we want to invest in the town centre to make it the best experience for all those that use the facilities now and in the future. We want the Public Realm Design Guide and Shopfront Guide to set the standard for what we expect to see with future development and enhancement works going forward.”

What is the Yeovil Public Realm Design Guide?

The Design Guide is a supplementary planning document so will help guide other developers when designing public areas within the town centre area. It also includes a shopfront guide which is meant to help businesses by giving a clear style and quality when making or upgrading a shopfront.

The adoption of the Yeovil Public Realm Design Guide creates a Supplementary Planning Document which supports relevant policies in the Council’s adopted Local Plan (2006-2028), but it also signals a key milestone in the Yeovil Refresh project by completing Project P1: An adopted Public Realm Design Guide.

What is the Yeovil Refresh project?

The Yeovil Refresh project aims to create a town centre that will be a vibrant place to live, work, shop, learn and visit. Working with consultants and key partners, South Somerset District Council has been exploring how it can best invest in Yeovil’s future.

Consultation events were held in 2018 to help us identify priority projects. Here’s a recap of what you told us:

  • You""d like to see the main high streets kept clean and better kept with nicer planters and other greenery, while keeping the streets from being too cluttered.
  • You""d like to see improvements in vehicular and pedestrian access into the heart of Yeovil for locals and visitors
  • There are concerns about some vehicle access to parts of the town centre (in particular on Middle Street)
  • You""d like to make the town""s open areas more appealing, using the space that is available to encourage visitors.

From the feedback obtained, the following priority projects were set:

  • Assessing further pedestrianisation of parts of Middle Street.
  • The creation of a Public Realm Design Guide to help shape the use and look of open spaces in the town centre
  • An assessment of access to the town centre
  • A review of car parks in Yeovil (assessing current and future provision, cycle parking, electric charging points and more)

Yeovil Refresh projects will be delivered over a 4 to 5 year programme with an early priority given to the initial priority projects above.

Why are you investing time, money and effort into regenerating Yeovil town centre?

Yeovil is the primary market town in South Somerset and when you visit, we want you to have a great experience so that you want to come back.

But it’s not just about visiting the town centre; we want to provide opportunities for people to live there, with a mix of housing so that residents will shop local and create a vibrant town centre that other people will want to visit and retailers will want to be a part of. Offering a variety of choice to dine is also important and will help independent and national businesses to flourish in Yeovil.

A Council spokesman said: “The Public Realm Design Guide will aid the creation of quality spaces where entertainment, markets and events can be held which will mean visitors can get an improved experience when visiting the town centre.

“In the coming months, we’re excited to be able to hopefully show you the final designs of some of these spaces, where you will be able to enjoy the areas and entertainment that we invest in and provide for shoppers and visitors to enjoy.”

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.

Have a question or something to say about the Yeovil Refresh Project? Contact us by email at yeovil.refresh@southsomerset.gov.uk and an appropriate officer will reply.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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