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June start for Westminster Street public realm work

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Westminster Street in Yeovil will be the first area in the town centre to see improvement work under the Yeovil Refresh public realm enhancements that will help to improve the look of the town centre for shoppers, businesses, residents and workers.

Midas Group have been appointed to undertaken the scheme of work at Westminster Street with an anticipated start date of the week commencing 28th June 2021.

Midas representative Mike Brocowski with Ian timms and Natalie Fortt of SSDC at Westminster Street

Image above: Mike Borkowski, Business Development Director for Midas Construction (left) with Ian Timms, Yeovil Refresh Project Manager and Natalie Fortt, Regeneration Programme Manager on Westminster Street in Yeovil.

In advance of this date, Midas Group will be doing pre-works to prepare the area which will include creating a site compound at South Street car park, undertaking survey work and clearing the site of clutter. Both South Somerset District Council and Midas Group will be communicating and engaging with nearby local businesses in advance of the work taking place as well.

To enable work to be undertaken, a complete closure of Westminster Street will need to happen with a diversionary route put in place. Midas Group will be applying to Somerset County Council for the appropriate street closures with the application to decision date expected to take approximately 12 weeks. As soon as proposed diversionary routes are drawn up, we’ll let you know and also when they have been agreed.

It is estimated that the work at Westminster Street will be completed by the end of September 2021 and by this time, it’s expected that work at The Triangle and Wine Street will have commenced towards the end of summer / start of autumn with the tendering process for this public realm framework contract taking place in the coming weeks.

An artists impression of how Westminster Street could look after public realm improvement work

Photo above: Artists' impression of how Westminster Street could look once public realm enhancement works have been completed.

Other elements of the public realm improvement scheme will see enhancement works at The Borough, Middle Street, Lower Middle Street and the High Street in Yeovil as part of the Yeovil Refresh programme.

Ian Timms, Yeovil Refresh Project Manager, said: “We are really pleased to be able to firm up a date that will see spade in ground for the first set of public realm enhancement works. This is the first of a series of work that will be undertaken in the town centre over the next couple of years as we aim to improve the experience in several of our key town centres across South Somerset and I am delighted that we can help to fundamentally change how you can move around, making it easier for pedestrians to move around the spaces in and out of Yeovil town centre.”

This is the first of the public realm framework contracts to be awarded for public realm improvements in Yeovil which will help to transform the way that the town centre will look. Construction and improvements will take place in areas where the public move or congregate and will make areas more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses.

Mike Borkowski, Business Development Director for Midas Construction, said: “It’s great to be working with South Somerset District Council on such an important project to revitalise Yeovil town centre. Almost every town centre in the UK is under review at the moment, reflecting on their relevance and appeal so that local residents and visitors alike continue to use them against a backdrop of significant change in retail habits. Hats off to South Somerset for moving ahead with improvements before most other areas – and along with other significant investment in leisure and entertainment this ‘refresh’ for the town centre will help keep Yeovil as an important regional centre”.

After a lengthy and detailed tendering process in late 2020, Alun Griffiths Ltd, SWH South West Highways, Midas Construction and Knights Brown were successfully appointed to bid for construction of public realm associated with the regeneration programmes of the council. The framework set out also covers major capital projects that our assets team may wish to carry out, plus any other towns that may wish to join and see regeneration over time.

The framework agreed with the contractors will be delivered over the next 4-6 years and gives good value for our residents through aiming to create positive social value, meeting the council’s environmental strategy goals and is value for money.

Embedding social value into procuring contracts has many values including:

  • Better value for money – delivering more for the public pound by requiring suppliers to do more than just deliver the core services
  • Increase local spend – by rewarding organisations that are local or have a local supply chain
  • Increased opportunities for disadvantaged people and promoting social mobility
  • Promoting a responsible supply chain by requiring businesses to compete
  • Leading to a cleaner and greener district
  • Building stronger more resilient communities
  • Leading to greater innovation and long term thinking.

What part of the town centre is affected by the first scheme of works?

The area that will see improvements is Westminster Street which runs from the traffic light controlled crossed across to the Tesco car park to the clock tower located in the town centre, however this scheme of work will not include work to the clock tower area. In a future scheme of work, we intend to improve the area around the clock tower, but not move it.

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.

You can find out more about the Yeovil Refresh programme at www.yeovilrefresh.co.uk.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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