31 August 2021
Work set to begin on series of public realm improvement schemes in Yeovil town centre
Above: Councillor Peter Gubbins (Executive Member for Yeovil Refresh), left; Ian Timms (Yeovil Refresh Project Manager), right; Chris Bartlett (Operations Director from Midas Construction), second left; Kerry Lane (ESP Coordinator from Midas Construction), second right – at the junction of Westminster Street to celebrate the start of public realm works at the site.
Work is set to begin in Yeovil which will help improve the look of the town centre and fundamentally change how people move around, making it easier and more accessible.
Westminster Street in Yeovil will be the first area in the town centre to see improvement work under the Yeovil Refresh public realm enhancements that will help to improve the look of the town centre for shoppers, businesses, residents and workers.
Midas is delighted to have been appointed to undertake the scheme of work. The area is being cleared of clutter and a site compound erected at South Street car park, in readiness for the start of construction works before the end of September.
Public realm improvement work at Westminster Street will see additional space for pedestrians as well as enhanced paving, new street planting, improved lighting plus other key features.
When work commences, full details of any road closures will be published at www.yeovilrefresh.co.uk/westminsterstreet. There will be signs put in place in advance of any closures at the roundabout approaching the town centre.
Councillor Peter Gubbins, executive member for Yeovil Refresh, said: “I’m really pleased to see work commence in the town centre. This is a real priority programme for South Somerset District Council and it’s more important than ever, with high streets reopening after the global Covid-19 pandemic, to create an experience in the town which people will enjoy and will want to come. It will also entice businesses to come to Yeovil as they see more and more investment in the town centre.
“Westminster Street is a key gateway into the town centre because there is a lot of footfall that flows from Tesco car park to the town centre. We want to ensure that when people first step into the town, they see something they like, they find it appealing and want to come back to Yeovil because of the pleasant experience.”
Chris Bartlett, Operations Director from Midas Construction, added: ‘We’re delighted to be delivering the first phase of Yeovil Refresh for South Somerset District Council’ ‘The thoroughfare from Tesco in to the main town centre is such an important link and will really set the tone for all of the improvements to come’ ‘Our community liaison team are working from our office in the centre of town, keeping locals abreast of progress and at the same time working with local charities, schools and of course Yeovil College to maximise work and training opportunities locally’
Nationally, the old traditional high street idea that town centres are filled with rows of shops is outdated. South Somerset Disgrict Council wants to create an experience where the high street offers a mix of housing, service industry and shops to help counter the effects of online shopping. Multi-stores are starting to decline in town centre, with a new trend emerging of bijou style shops, cafes and independent traders.
Clean Air and reduced pollution in town and city centres is becoming increasingly important. The local authority has designed a place which strives to improve air quality; reducing traffic in the centre of the town, in turn helping to improve air quality for residents and visitors. Yeovil has an air quality action plan, and the Council is working towards meeting environmental targets outlined its Environment Strategy.
About the Yeovil Refresh project
The Yeovil Refresh project aims to create a town centre that will be a vibrant place to live, work, shop, learn and visit. Working with consultants and key partners, South Somerset District Council has been exploring how it can best invest in Yeovil’s future.
Consultation events were held in 2018 to help identify priority projects. From the feedback obtained, the following priority projects were set:
- Assessing further pedestrianisation of parts of Middle Street.
- The creation of a Public Realm Design Guide to help shape the use and look of open spaces in the town centre
- An assessment of access to the town centre
- A review of car parks in Yeovil (assessing current and future provision, cycle parking, electric charging points and more)
Yeovil Refresh projects will be delivered over a 4 to 5 year programme, with the items listed above receiving early priority.
Find out more about the Yeovil Refresh programme at www.yeovilrefresh.co.uk.