A FIRE started by vandals which caused 'extensive damage' has seen a block of public toilets in Chard closed.

The block, in Boden Street, had been set to close in the future by South Somerset District Council to allow for work on the Chard Regeneration project.

However, after vandals struck the block over the Easter weekend, the council brought forward the closure, and the block is off limits from today (May 15).

"Sadly, the fire was one of many recent incidents of anti-social behaviour at the site," said a council spokesperson.

"The early closure will allow our contractors to begin work on the demolition of the facility and signage will be posted advising residents that there is an alternative facility a few minutes away in Bath Street, Chard."

Works on the Chard regeneration project recommenced on April 14, following a full risk assessment by the contractors working on the site, the council said.

"The Government has been clear that the construction industry should continue to work but must do so within the safety guidelines issued," the spokesperson added.

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

In addition, the scheme proposes a number of other measures to boost business in the town, support events and revitalise the market.