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Holyrood Street public consultation sees changes to final designs

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A public consultation designed to give the public an opportunity to have their say on proposed public realm changes to Holyrood Street in Chard has resulted in changes to the final designs.

In November and December 2020, South Somerset District Council consulted on plans to update the parking layout of part of Holyrood Street alongside improvements to the public realm– so the pedestrian areas of the street. This work is being carried out as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) project which is part of the overall Chard Regeneration programme.

239 people completed the four week consultation survey, with 21% of respondents identifying themselves to have a disability or long-term health condition. This kind of information has helped shape decisions of the scheme going forward. Just under 60% of respondents broadly supported the proposals presented and responses were mixed in regards to whether changes to the parking arrangements may have an impact the respondent or their business.

As a result of feedback from the consultation, Members of the Chard Regeneration Board have decided:

  • To swap the proposed location of the disabled bays with the proposed location of the standard bays.
  • To keep the loading bay in the existing location, to ensure businesses currently using it are not affected
  • Parking restrictions in the area will be restricted to the daytime only, to aid Holyrood Street residents parking overnight
  • Review the impact of the proposed scheme on vehicle access to/from the Baptist Church and making any changes required

Alterations to the design have now been implemented by the appointed design team Hydrock, LHC and Coreus,) taking account of the Members’ decisions. To achieve the necessary changes, the revised plans reduce the number of disabled parking spaces but will be double of what is currently provided on this stretch of Holyrood Street.

Councillor Jason Baker, South Somerset District Council’s portfolio holder for Chard Regeneration, said, “It was fantastic to receive useful consultation feedback from local people which has resulted in positive change for the area. We are confident that the design is the best solution to deliver the regeneration of the area whilst also accommodating the range of differing views and needs of the public and we are excited now to take the plans forward as part of the HSHAZ which is funded by Heritage England and South Somerset District Council. Projects like this will enhance the experience of the users of the town centre and help to ultimately boost the economy of the town centre of Chard.”

Artists' impression of what Holyrood Street could look like after pubic realm improvements

Image above: an artists' impression of what Holyrood Street in Chard could look like.

Other agreed benefits to the area of Holyrood Street will include:

  • Additional public realm with seating area and open views towards the Baptist Church
  • Disabled parking nearer to Fore Street, therefore easier access to both Holyrood Street and Fore Street
  • Continued free parking for all within the Holyrood Street shopping area

The public realm improvements in the town centre of Chard are part of the HSHAZ. South Somerset District Council was awarded £1 million of Government high street funding through Historic England’s HSHAZ programme and this has been match-funded by SSDC, giving a total of £2 million to spend in the historic heart of Chard’s shopping area.

This money will be invested in and around Chard Fore Street and Holyrood Street, including repairs to a number of historic buildings, renovating shopfronts and improving the streetscape to make it safer and more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors and shoppers.

Ross Simmonds, Regional Director for Historic England in the South West, said: “We’re pleased that so many local people shared their views on the proposed changes to Holyrood Street, helping shape the scheme which will now go forward. This is the first of many opportunities to get involved in the Chard High Street Heritage Action Zone and have a say in the way the town will look and feel in the future”.

Historic England is working with local people and partners through grant funding and sharing our skills to help breathe new life into high streets that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. The High Streets Heritage Action Zones Programme, backed by government funding, aims to help with the recovery of local high streets from regenerating historic buildings to helping to engage local communities through art and cultural projects.

SSDC’s HSHAZ bid comprised of 3 elements – public realm improvements, restoration of historic buildings and community engagement.

Further funding will be secured for a cultural programme, led by a local consortium which more details expected to be announced in due course.

The HSHAZ project is managed by appointed High Street Heritage Action Zone Project Manager and will run until March 2024. It will involve some elements of public consultation such as this one undertaken for Holyrood Street and public engagement when we have the opportunity to do so.

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