Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration: Successes to date and what happens next
As we approach the transition from South Somerset District Council (SSDC) to the new Somerset Council, the councillors elected to the new authority have undertaken an extensive review of both the revenue and capital budgets for the financial year 2023/24 and beyond.
This has implications for some of the projects currently underway in South Somerset, including Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration.
At the SSDC District Executive meeting held on Thursday 2 February 2023, Members noted the situation including that:
- The total amount of the agreed capital budget for the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration has been reprofiled so that the spend anticipated to be incurred in 2023/24 and in following years has been deferred by a year; and
- Future spend will be dependent upon an updated business case being submitted to the Somerset Council next year for implementation in 2024/25 and beyond
Although the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration project is being deferred, there have already been several successes in delivering the Wincanton Town Centre Strategy.
The strategy was produced in 2019 following public consultation and engagement with key stakeholders. Public feedback informed the main themes including enhancing the attractiveness of the town centre including property grants and creating a destination including holding events and activities.
Good progress has been made in both of these areas, with 25 events funded during the past three years, which have resulted in more than 4,000 ‘in-person’ visits to Wincanton, plus online coverage and promotion, which have helped raise Wincanton’s profile.
Also, the property project has resulted in 17 properties receiving property repair grant allocations, which is improving the built environment and providing a more attractive setting for the town centre and for businesses and the community.
Cllr Sarah Dyke, Chair of the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration Board and Portfolio Holder for the Environment said:
“Wincanton is of huge strategic importance to the South East of the county and I, alongside my colleagues, am committed to regenerating our communities and town centres. As such I will continue to stand up for the economic and social wellbeing of Wincanton. A business case will need to be prepared for consideration by Somerset Council for implementation from 2024/25, which if approved, would be followed by the development of proposed plans for vacant premises in consultation with the public.
This would lead to the regeneration of Wincanton bringing vitality and viability to the town centre, businesses and community. This focus on the re-use of vacant town centre premises was also agreed by members of the Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration Board in the Summer of 2022 and is in line with the third main theme identified in the Wincanton Town Centre Strategy.”