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Improvements to Yeovil town centre continue as work begins in Wine Street

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Work began last week (1 November) in Wine Street, Yeovil to help make the town centre more accessible and easier to move around.

The works will make the pedestrianisation of the street a permanent feature, with new paving, drainage works and general freshening up of the environment.

SWH (South West Highways) Ltd have been appointed to carry out this work in Wine Street, as well as the work scheduled at The Triangle later this month.

Residents and visitors to Yeovil town centre may have noticed SWH recently undertaking pre-works to prepare the area. The team have created a site compound at The Box Factory car park on South Street to undertake surveys and begin clearing the site.  

The works on Wine Street are due to be completed by Christmas 2021.

Throughout this time, South Somerset District Council and SWH will ensure safe access is maintained to all local shops and businesses. We have been in direct contact with these businesses to share plans and put measures in place to ensure absolute minimum disruption.

Group photo on site at Wine StreetSheldon Roberts, SWH Project Manager, Natalie Fortt, SSDC Regeneration Programme Manager, Ian Timms, SSDC Yeovil Refresh Project Manager and Abie Hearn, SWH Divisional Manager, on site at Wine Street

Councillor Peter Gubbins, executive member for Yeovil Refresh, said: “I am very pleased to see work to Yeovil town centre advancing. The safety of residents and visitors as they move or congregate around the town is a top priority and the pedestrianisation of Wine Street is a step towards ensuring this. The new paving and refresh of the environment will make the area more appealing and will make travelling through the town centre a more pleasant experience for everyone.”

Abie Hearn, Divisional Manager for SWH, added; “It’s great to be a part of the Yeovil Refresh project and get started on the improvement works on Wine Street.  These works will make a big difference to this part of the town and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with South Somerset District Council, local residents and businesses to really enhance this area.”   

Wine Street in Yeovil is the second area in the town centre to see improvement work under the Yeovil Refresh public realm enhancements, following the improvements to Westminster Street, which began in September.

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

Works on the Triangle are anticipated to commence in November 2021. These works will enhance this focal area within the town, creating a more attractive leisure and business space.

Key changes include:

  • The creation of amphitheatre seating overlooking a new raised stage area, providing the perfect opportunity for taking a break from shopping and enjoying local entertainment.
  • The installation of a new focal water feature, providing a modern fresh feel and relaxing space to enjoy.
  • The installation of a large screen to be used to show key events and information.
  • The laying of natural stone paving and ornamental planting, tidying up the area and creating a greener space.

Works on the Triangle are anticipated to be completed by Autumn 2022.

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.

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 find out more about the Yeovil Refresh programme and the planned works at www.yeovilrefresh.co.uk.

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