CHARD NEWS: Redevelopment of Boden Mill site moves closer as plans are submitted
THE long-awaited redevelopment of the Boden Mill site within Chard town centre and the creation of new community facilities has taken a step forward following the submission of a full planning and listed building consent application.
The submitted plans form part of a wider Regeneration Scheme for Chard and if approved, phase one will deliver a modern leisure centre with swimming pool, new library and community building. Other phases will include commercial units, housing and public realm improvements - how the area will look overall - throughout.
Chard Regeneration focuses on revitalising the town centre including bringing the Boden Mill site back in to use to support the town centre.
A South Somerset District Council spokesman said: “The planning application for the much-needed leisure centre at the Boden Mill site has now been submitted.
“This marks the progress by the Chard Regeneration team and shows a real commitment to deliver the project.”
South Somerset District Council is working in partnership with Alliance Leisure and Bristol-based architect AHR to redevelop the ACI-Boden Mill site and produce a phased delivery of the scheme.
This will produce new community facilities that attract people to use the town centre as well as enabling better links for residents through the site to Fore Street, Boden Street and Silver Street.
Work was undertaken by heritage specialists to ensure the important historic setting of the site was fully understood. This enabled the design team to put forward proposals that are both appropriate for the setting and provide an enhancement to the retained listed buildings on site.
The district council undertook initial consultation on the options for Chard Regeneration Scheme in June to September 2018, including a launch event where more than 500 residents attended, together with other consultation events and activities over the summer. Following overwhelming community support the proposals for the Boden Mill site focus on community uses and include a new leisure centre and swimming pool, alongside a blend of housing and commercial developments.
In March this year a second consultation event was held and gave those that attended the opportunity to explore the masterplan for the site, to view initial plans of the proposed leisure centre and look at the other proposals that detailed what else could be included.
Initial plans for a library and community hub were also shared, along with plans to ensure the heritage of the site is reflected within the scheme. There was an opportunity to discuss the wider public realm enhancement plans for the town centre alongside the transport and parking provisions that are being considered.
In addition to this, the scheme proposes a number of other measures to boost business in the town, support events and revitalise the market.
The Mayor of Chard, Cllr Jason Baker, who is also chairman of the district council’s Area West committee, is chairman of the Chard Regeneration Board.
“Engagement of the local community through consultation events has been vital in shaping the way this application has moved forward,” he said.
“We came to the public in June 2018 with an idea of developing the site and through consultation, we have moved forward with a scheme that delivers leisure facilities the community has told us they want.
“It has been important to us that the community have shaped the plans to regenerate their town.”
Cllr Baker added: “This development will help to boost business in the town through the increased visitors and footfall in the town centre.
“We are excited to get things moving along now and we will wait for this application to come to Area West and the district council’s regulation committee in the near future.”
Plans will now be considered by planning specialists at South Somerset District Council before it then goes to Area West committee and regulation committee for consideration.