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Another step forward for SSDC's Wincanton Town Centre Strategy

Thursday 18 July 2019, 16:30
By South Somerset District Council

A sketch of Carrington Way proposals from the Wincanton Town Centre Strategy draft

Following public consultation earlier in the year, at its meeting last week, South Somerset District Council’s Area East Committee approved amendments to the Wincanton Town Centre Strategy. Representatives of Wincanton Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce both attended the meeting to speak in support of the strategy.

The Wincanton Town Centre Strategy aims to boost footfall and help create a more vibrant town centre, in which Wincanton’s businesses can flourish. The strategy provides a frameworks which seeks to:

  • Encourage quality investment from private and public sector
  • Improve the town centre environment & commercial confidence
  • Inform future decision making
  • Co-ordinate town centre activities/management to achieve complementary improvements
  • Promote and market the town centre
  • Encourage and support partnerships to collaborate on implementing the strategy

Improvements to the town centre environment are suggested through a number of public realm schemes including widening footways, introducing different surface dressings, better delineation of on street parking and planting schemes. These proposals will be subject to detailed design work but the suggested locations are:

  • Market Place
  • High Street (central area, numbers 7-15, and the eastern gateway)
  • Carrington Way

This complements another strand of work, with owners to increase the appeal of existing properties, incentivising occupancy and a possible grant programme.

The consultation period, which ended on 31st March, provided an opportunity for members of the public as well as a variety of key stakeholders such as the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce, pupils from King Arthurs School and community organisations to engage and provide feedback on proposals prepared by Chilmark Consulting, who had been contracted by SSDC to prepare the strategy.

Although the consultation indicated general support for the strategy, some site-specific concerns were raised and some common themes emerged from the feedback including:

  • Loss of car parking
  • Charging for use of public car parks
  • The level of proposed residential development
  • Need to enhance the retail offering
  • Limited number of events/markets
  • Limited mix of uses

The consultation responses together with a review of deliverability informed a number of suggested revisions to the strategy including a reduction in the number of residential units and preservation of car parking. These revisions were unanimously supported by councillors.

A similar approach has been adopted in Chard and Yeovil town centres which are further along in the process. Good progress is being made to bring forward improvements in both towns. Wincanton Town Centre Strategy is a priority in South Somerset District Council’s Plan 2016-2021.

“Today’s approval is a significant step towards regenerating Wincanton town centre. There are several businesses which are doing a terrific job drawing people to the town; we want to work with those businesses and other stakeholders to support activities and projects which bring people to the town centre.”

“We are at the start of an exciting process. The next step will be to work with partners to prepare a delivery plan and begin the process of securing the funding needed to implement the proposals.”

 - Councillor Henry Hobhouse, Area East Committee Chairman and portfolio holder for Wincanton regeneration

 


Related articles

19th July 2019: Planning the future of Wincanton
15th January 2019: Wincanton Town Centre Strategy draft is now available for public consultation



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