FURTHER funding is needed to help finish work on the Chard regeneration programme.

South Somerset District Council's (SSDC) district executive will consider proposals from the programme team on Thursday, July 8.

The team need to increase the budget by £412,500.

SSDC has said the funding is needed due to the 'challenging market conditions' and 'increased workload' of the construction industry.

A spokesperson said: "The recovery of the national construction output to pre-Covid levels has been faster than expected and has led to high demand for contractors and constrained capacity.

"At the same time, there is also increasing pressure around the availability of construction materials, and higher EU duties on some imports.

"The tender process for the work is currently underway so if the further funding is approved, it will allow for committed improvement works in the town centre to go ahead as quickly as possible."

Chard Regeneration focuses on regenerating the Boden Mill site in the centre of the town, and includes a new leisure centre and swimming pool, as well as housing and commercial developments.

The scheme was awarded £1million of Government high street funding through Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme and this has been match-funded by SSDC, giving a total of £2 million to spend.

. Historic England have also contributed a further £79,000 to the scheme in the last few months.

But £412,500 is still needed to deliver the public realm scheme.

“We are committed to deliver all of the work we have said we will in Chard through our regeneration programme, however factors such as Covid-19 and Brexit have played their part in increasing costs which have resulted in the overall budget needing to be increased," said councillor Jason Baker, portfolio holder for Chard Regeneration.

"The programme team are requesting additional funds now at the special district executive meeting in July so that we can deliver the work as quickly as we possibly can.

"The work will help boost the economy of the town centre and provide a much more enjoyable experience to the users.”

To find out more about Chard Regeneration visit chardregeneration.co.uk.