Yeovil Refresh: Agreement to proposals ensures value and a better future for the town centre
Released On 8th Jan 2023
Proposals to amend elements of the public realm enhancement works which form part of the Yeovil Refresh project have today been agreed by South Somerset District Executive.
The decision will enable works to continue as planned and to ensure uncompromised delivery of public realm enhancements, transport upgrades and town centre investment for the long-term benefit of residents, businesses and visitors to the area.
Cllr Peter Gubbins, Portfolio Holder Yeovil Refresh commented:
“While we recognise the disappointment that many will feel in respect of the delays and disruption that the Yeovil Refresh project has faced, this council is committed to ensuring the successful delivery of what will undoubtedly be an exceptional town centre development once completed.
As with many projects of this scale and complexity, Yeovil Refresh has been subject to economic impacts outside of the council’s control. Despite these, significant progress has been achieved to date: Wine Street has been pedestrianised, with new paving and drainage work successfully completed as has the completion of work to BT chambers, in November 2022. Regeneration works on Westminster Street South have been substantively completed with work continuing on Westminster Street North. At The Triangle, significant work with utilities has been carried out to enable the creation of the entertainment space. More widely, work is being undertaken behind the scenes to develop a transport scheme which will be built over the next 18 months.
The proposals put forward sought to redefine certain elements of the project scope to reflect current forecast costs, without compromising the integrity and original vision of the programme. I am pleased that the proposed project amendments have been approved and that the project can continue to successful completion.”
The full published report and proposals can be viewed here.
Yeovil Refresh is an ambitious and innovative programme which will transform Yeovil as South Somerset’s main retail and leisure centre, through a range of projects and interventions. It aims to deliver a comprehensive package of public realm improvements to transform the visitor experience, increase pedestrian safety and provide a new multi-use square for events and activities. The enhancement work will positively change the areas that people move or congregate around, creating experiences and making spaces more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses alike.
This investment will also access and stimulate investor confidence in adjacent empty units, with a focus on existing derelict and vacant buildings. Unlocking town centre sites by addressing viability constraints will deliver much needed housing to support the sustainability and vitality of Yeovil’s town centre.
The programme is split into four themes which will be delivered by a number of different stakeholders. These are broadly defined as:
- Developments. This relates to bringing forward empty buildings and stalled development sites within the town centre
- Public Realm enhancements. Improvements to core streets including Westminster Street, High Street, Borough, Middle Street, Triangle and Wyndham Street area. This will create a better shared space which will be greener and easier to navigate. A new events square will be created at the Triangle
- Transport system changes. Changes to road systems, additional cycle ways, improved walking routes, review of bus routes, car parking improvements and possible highways junctions
- Soft interventions. This includes events programmes, markets, management of spaces in the town, evening economy changes and a range of other economic activities
Work began in September 2021 with the public realm improvements, the first areas of focus being Westminster Street, Triangle and Wine Street. Work to the High Street is scheduled to commence in mid-January 2023. Full details about the programme, its ambition and purpose can be found at www.yeovilrefresh.co.uk
Image credit, LHC Design.