6th July 2012
CHARD: Legal negotiation start on regeneration plans
By Marion Draper
THE CHARD Regeneration partnership is working with Henry Boot Ltd to finalise a legal development agreement which will help to identify the most appropriate ‘end user’ to kick-start town centre development.
According to South Somerset District Council (SSDC) regeneration officer Zoe Harris, all indications are that there are a number of major operators vying for this attractive opportunity.
Henry Boot Ltd was appointed as development partner for the regeneration of the former ACI/Boden Mill site after its preferred scheme from public consultation was approved by SSDC’s district executive in February this year.
Since then, SSDC, in partnership with the Home and Communities Agency, Somerset county and town council have agreed heads of terms with Henry Boot Ltd – successfully fulfilling the first of many milestones required for development to take place.
The respective teams are now putting together a development agreement to clarify exactly what is to be achieved onsite to secure additional retail, public space, increased footfall and strong links to Boden Street and existing retail and attractions in the heart of the town.
Shaped by local residents and businesses, The Chard Regeneration Plan shared the aim to draw shoppers and trade back into the town’s centre, retaining these customers and provide more of a destination shopping experience for visitors from further afield.
At a recent meeting, an agent working with Henry Boot Ltd has indicated strong competition from major retail operators to become the agreed ‘anchor’ store for the scheme, essentially making viable the wider regeneration and town centre improvement included in the overall scheme.
In addition to the 45,000 sq ft food store, these improvements include substantial physical redevelopment of the Boden Mill site with additional retail units, residential, a town square, undercroft parking for nearly 300 cars and refurbishment of Boden Mill for a variety of uses including retail, commercial and residential.
Councillr Jo Roundell Greene, chair of the Chard Regeneration Scheme Board said; “It’s no surprise to us that Chard town centre presents such an attractive opportunity to larger retail providers ñ the Chard Vision highlights the towns potential.
“The key has been to ensure their interests are aligned with those of existing retailers and residents.
“We need to make sure quality public realm is delivered and that the additional footfall generated is dispersed throughout the town centreís existing retail core.
“The town’s traders, who form part of our town team, accept this pedestrian connectivity with the existing centre is a major strength of the proposed scheme.”
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