£9.75m Future High Street Fund grant to boost Yeovil Refresh programme
Locally delivered major regeneration plans for parts of Yeovil town centre will go ahead now a £9.75million grant award has been approved.
Today (May 19) the government has officially awarded grants from its Future High Street Funds (FHSF) to 57 high street plans across the country - and Yeovil is one of them. Confirmation of the funding was made by the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.
Earlier in the year, news emerged that Yeovil was to provisionally receive FHSF allocation money, however the amount has been officially confirmed today which will help towards the delivery of South Somerset District Councils’ Yeovil Refresh plans.
Following the submission of a detailed business case and detailed discussions with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the grant will help fund transformational works that will enable Yeovil town centre to be a vibrant place to live, work, shop, learn and visit.
The FHSF grant has provided an important contribution to support the delivery of Yeovil Refresh and will go towards improving public spaces and development sites in the town centre.
Councillor Val Keitch, Leader of South Somerset District Council, said: “We are really pleased to receive the Future High Street Fund which will help to revitalise a key town centre in South Somerset.
“When we embarked on this ambitious programme of change for Yeovil, as a Council we said that we would deliver exciting projects that will bring positive and lasting change, guided by what local people want to see. I’m really excited to be the Leader of a local council that will be delivering local projects for local people through funding of our own and also the Future High Street Fund.”
Jan Gamon, Director for Place and Recovery at South Somerset District Council, added: “South Somerset District Council’s submission for Future High Street Fund has been highly successful and together with the allocated £9.75m funding and the funding from SSDC, we are committed to develop and implement a plan to revitalise Yeovil town centre.
“Yeovil needs to adapt to the changing needs of town centres where more people want to leisure than shop because they can easily do that online. The Future High Street Fund enables the District Council to really deliver on its promises to transform Yeovil and enable it to be a place to live, work, shop, learn and visit.”
The Yeovil Refresh programme aims to make fundamental changes to the town centre. This is a significant investment from the council and a range of key local organisations.
What will the FHSF grant be used for?
The grant funding will focus on two main areas of improvement – Public spaces and development sites. Both of these are documented project areas highlighted on the Yeovil Refresh website alongside transport.
- Public spaces
Work will continue with public spaces in the town centre and the core streets that will improve the way they work. 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.
The improved spaces will reduce traffic tackling air pollution in the area, be accessible by reducing street clutter and making it easier to navigate and also greener by introducing trees and planting.
The work which is supported by FSHF includes:
- Creation of a new square at the Triangle which will host events and activities, a big screen for events and advertising plus a water feature making a new focal point for that part of town.
- In the Borough and High Street, we will improve the spaces making this a shared space reducing the dominance of traffic passing through the area.
- Middle street will be improved making it easier to navigate for pedestrians creating connecting spaces which support the town.
Image above: Artists' impression of what The Triangle could look like following improvements to the public realm. The Future High Street Fund awarded today will help towards the cost of this work.
The improvements to public spaces is part funded by SSDC and through the FHSF grant funding.
- Development Sites
The FHSF grant will also provide funding to enable developments at the Old Cattle Market and Glovers Walk.
Both development sites are privately owned, meaning the delivery of them are out of SSDC’s control, but the funding has been allocated for specific works on the sites which will increase the chances of the sites coming forward for development in the town centre.
SSDC is also seeking to acquire some key buildings which will create shared workplace areas based on demand studies that have been undertaken. Once again, the FHSF grant will part fund this work.
You can find out more about the Yeovil Refresh programme on the dedicated website at www.yeovilrefresh.co.uk.
The Future High Streets Fund was launched in December 2018 and is a key part of the Government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres, driving long term growth. Further details can be found at Future High Streets Fund - GOV.UK.