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A New Shop Front Design Guide for Chard - Have your say

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South Somerset District Council has launched a formal consultation for its new Chard Shop Front Design Guide today (Friday 10 December).

The guide, which has been developed as part of the Chard High Street Heritage Action Zone, will provide guidance to property owners and businesses for new or replacement frontages throughout the town centre. It sets out principles of good design to help create a town wide identity for Chard and improve the town centre environment.

The draft design guide received approval to be subject to formal consultation at the council's District Executive Committee meeting on Thursday 2 December. The guide is intended to be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document used in decision-making by the council’s planning team.

The consultation launched on Friday 10 December 2021 and will close on Friday 21 January 2022. This is two weeks longer than the statutory consultation period to account for the Christmas period, ensuring as many individuals as possible are able to share their views.

During this consultation period, the draft Design Guide, along with a Statement of Community Involvement, can be viewed at:

When responding to this consultation, we encourage respondents to use the online consultation portal at . Public libraries provide internet access, should this be required.

However, comments can also be submitted by email at or post to Chard High Street HAZ Project Manager, Council Offices, Brympton Way, Yeovil BA20 2HT

During the consultation period, paper copies of the consultation documents are available to view on request at:

- The Chard Local Information Centre, Chard Guildhall, Fore Street, Chard TA20 1PP (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 1.30pm). Tel: 01460 239567

- Petters House/Housing Advice Centre, Petters Way, Yeovil, BA20 1AS (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:00am to 2:30pm; Wednesday 10:00am to 4:00pm). Petters House is closed for Christmas from 24 December to 3 January inclusive. Tel: 01935 462462.

 Computer access is also available at Petters House. Please note that Chard Local Information Centre and Petters House are likely to have Covid-19 restrictions and protocols in place and be closed over some days at Christmas. Therefore, we recommend that you telephone to check opening times before travelling.

An informal consultation was held in October 2021 in the form of three public consultation events at Chard Guildhall, alongside the Future Chard Strategy consultation, and an online consultation on the Council’s website. Over 100 residents took part and the comments shared have been used to help shape the draft guide. Direct quotes from participants can be found in the final draft that is set to be subject to formal consultation. 

Cllr Jason Baker, Portfolio Holder for Chard Regeneration, said, “As we know, shop fronts and their associated signs and advertisements play a very important part in the appearance of the commercial areas of our towns. Therefore, this consultation is vital to ensure the new shop front guide is suitable for Chard."

"We are keen to emphasise that the guide does not aim to suggest precise ways of designing or discourage imaginative and innovative new design, rather it encourages a sensitive approach that acknowledges Chard’s character. It is relevant to all business or community uses that have a frontage, not just to retail. Whilst it would apply when installing new or replacement frontages rather than leading to a requirement for existing shop fronts to be changed, the High Street Heritage Action Zone will be providing grant funding towards improving existing shop fronts over the next two years."

Ross Simmonds, Acting Regional Director at Historic England, said “The shopfront guide is an important part of Chard’s High Street HAZ. Historic shopfronts provide vibrant local character and make town centres attractive to visitors and shoppers. It’s important that any changes to them respect local character, and the guide will help achieve this. We hope people will have their say in this important consultation.”

More information about the grants programme is available online at It will open for applications in the new year.

What is the Chard High Street Heritage Action Zone?

Because of its special historic character, Chard has been designated a High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and secured £2m funding to revitalise its town centre. Over £1m of government high streets funding from Historic England has been matched by more than £1m by South Somerset District Council. These funds are being invested in making lasting physical improvements that enhance the historic high street.

The High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme is a national programme of £95 million investment across more than 60 English high streets, with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund, £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Fund, and a further £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The HSHAZ programme for Chard has three strands – public realm improvements (that is, the pedestrian areas of the street), grants for the repair and renovation of historic buildings and shopfronts, and community engagement activity. Additional funding has been secured by a consortium of local cultural and community organisations, to deliver a cultural programme (see note below).

The aim of Chard’s High Street Heritage Action Zone is to make the high street a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and spend time. We want everyone to be as involved as possible in the scheme, and in the future of Chard’s town centre.

About Historic England

We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation.

We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.

To find out what is happening in your area and get involved, please follow @HistoricEngland / @HE_SouthWest #HistoricHighStreets and visit:

 High Streets Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme

The ‘Culturally Chard’ consortium, led by Somerset Art Works and Chard Town Council, has been awarded £80,000 as part of the national £7.4 million HSHAZ Cultural Programme which is currently working across over 60 English high streets. Cultural activity funded by this grants scheme will take place over the next three years, co-ordinated by the consortium members and delivered by local organisations. The cultural programme will bring new activity to the town centre and encourage people to connect to the unique heritage of Chard’s high street in creative ways. For more details visit

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