A £20MILLION project to rejuvenate Chard town centre is “well underway” after taking another step forward this week.

The 3.5-acre development of the former ACI/Boden Mill site is expected to bring a 45,000 sq ft supermarket, four shops, an underground car park, homes and a venue for public events, as well as generating up to 320 jobs in the town.

South Somerset District Council has signed a development agreement with developers Henry Boot at the former factory site, and the adjacent Market Fields and Boden Street car parks.

The next steps for the developers include striking a deal with a supermarket chain, though no names have been officially revealed yet.

Garry Shortland, chairman of the Chard Town Team, said anything with the potential to bring more footfall into the town has to be a good idea.

He said: “This has been on the cards a long time, and with a 300-space und-erground car park there’s the potential for 600 people coming into Chard.

“If only a small percentage of those people venture into the town it has to be a good thing for Chard.”

Regeneration chiefs are keen to ensure that everything will be done to encourage shoppers using the new food store to also visit other shops in the town centre.

Cllr Jo Roundell Greene, chair of the Chard Regeneration Scheme Board, said the plan will see significant investment in Chard and boost the local economy.

She said: “It’s an imaginative project that will put Chard town centre firmly on the map for Chard businesses and shoppers.”

Henry Boot Development PLC was selected as the developer for Chard town centre after a public consultation in 2011.

Craig Mathias, of Henry Boot, said: “This project will contribute greatly towards providing a revitalised and diverse town centre that meets the needs of operators, and significantly benefits the local and surrounding communities.”