RESIDENTS are having their say on the exciting plans to regenerate Chard.

Over the past month, Somerset District Council has been inundated with responses to its consultation over the future of the Boden Mill site.

More than 500 people visited the Guildhall in June to find out more about the proposal.

Responses so far include: 

  • They would like to see spaces for public events.
  • They would would like to see a new leisure centre including a swimming pool.
  • More places to eat and socialise are being called for.
  • A ‘community hub’ would be welcome.
  • They want a scheme to incorporate small independent retailers and welcomed the idea of a covered market.

The scheme focuses on regenerating the Boden Mill site in the centre of the town, and proposed components could include a new leisure centre and swimming pool, alongside a blend of housing and commercial developments. 

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for environment and cconomic development, said: “We were thrilled to share our vision and proposals with the community and hear feedback.”

Here’s a brief guide to what is proposed as part of the Chard Regeneration Scheme

  • New Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool

A brand new leisure centre is suggested in the plans, on the former ACI factory site, that would include improved facilities for the local community and visitors. Proposed facilities could include a swimming pool, café and studio space. This aims to provide a high quality, modern, new development to support health and wellbeing for residents, and increased footfall from people visiting the town.

  • Boden Mill

Within the proposals, the Boden Mill itself is envisioned as a cultural and public sector hub, with everything the community needs in one space. The ground floor could include a variety of services, such as the library, museum, a learning hub and a customer hub where residents can speak to their local team. It may also include residential units on the upper floors.

  • Public space

The Council believes that public space in the town centre could be even better so that the community can enjoy it to the full. With this in mind the proposals suggest a new, attractive, open public space in the town that the community can use for a variety of purposes and functions. This versatile space could be used by the community as a place for social gatherings, public art, family play areas, and community events. There will also be space allocated for car and coach parking.

  • Supporting local businesses and additional options

There is also potential to consider different elements within Boden Mill and the public space, including a medical centre, business units, a covered market and a play area. What’s more, the scheme is about more than just physical changes, and will include ongoing support for local businesses and residents. It will support local and independent businesses with special events and promotions, develop the current market, improve broadband connectivity and provide business advice.