In taking forward the scheme, South Somerset District Council and the regeneration partners are committed to involving the communities of Chard in the future of their town.


A core component of the scheme is bringing back into economic and community use the Boden Mill / ACI site. Detailed plans for the Boden Mill site in Chard were unveiled to over 500 people who attended a consultation event on the Chard Regeneration Scheme in March. These plans build on the feedback received from residents during the consultation held in Summer 2018.


On Saturday 16 March, South Somerset District Council held its second consultation event regarding the regeneration plans for the town centre, which includes exciting plans to develop the Boden Mill site. This includes; bringing forward a brand new leisure centre and swimming pool, a range of community uses and a blend of housing and commercial developments.


Those who attended the consultation event were given 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. The plans were also put on the Council website for residents to view and comment on.


Since the consultation event in March, South Somerset District Council has been working closely with Alliance Leisure and AHR Architects to develop the detailed design of the leisure centre and other elements of the development. The new leisure centre will offer a diverse array of facilities to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the community, including a 25 metre swimming pool; a gym; group exercise studios; an adventure play area; changing rooms and a café.


The District Council has also commissioned a Chard Regeneration Scheme Public Realm Enhancement Review. Element Urbanism and Hydrock are tasked with providing a review of access to and around the town centre, car and coach parking, a signage and pedestrian wayfinding strategy, a design guide and public realm improvements plan. They are currently fine tuning their ideas and exploring further options for schemes where appropriate. The initial proposals will be made publically available in mid-June for local residents to view and comment on before they are finalised.


Somerset County Council and South Somerset District Council are being supported by Rachel Van Riel from ‘Opening the Book’ to explore options for the library and community hub. This is to ensure that those using the space have the best possible experience and organisations operating there make the most efficient use of the space provided.


The Chard Regeneration Programme also aims to include a range of wider measures to help both existing and new businesses. These will potentially include:


Support to attract creative businesses and artisan / independent retailers.


Support to develop the growth of local food producers and food businesses.


Events and promotion.


The detailed proposals for this are still being developed.


The next steps for the design team are to finalise the detailed designs ready for the planning application to be submitted. Historic England have been providing pre-application advice to the Council to ensure that the scheme is sympathetic to the historic nature of the site.

Update from SSDC 3rd September 2019: Councillor Jason Baker, portfolio holder for the Chard Regeneration Scheme and Chairman of Area West Committee, said:

"I'm pleased to see this application go through Area West Committee today and for the residents of Chard to see that the District Council is committed to delivering its promise to providing a high quality leisure facility on the site, with a swimming pool which is desperately needed by the communities in and around Chard. The Boden Mill site has been derelict for many years now and has been an eye sore in the town centre, but with the regeneration of the site taking place over the coming years, I'm confident that this scheme will help to bring more footfall to the town centre, increase the vitality and help to boost businesses locally."

Next Project Steps: Demolition of existing buildings at the site is expected to commence in winter 2019 and should be completed by spring 2020. Phase 1 construction works can then start and these are expected to be completed by summer 2021.

The Chard Regeneration Programme aims to have a positive impact on the town centre by creating more reasons for people to visit and use the town centre, having more people living in the centre of Chard and by ensuring better access.