Proposals to regenerate Midsomer Norton High Street and create an attractive multi-use public space have been unveiled today and residents are encouraged to give their views.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has launched an online public consultation on the designs, which are part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme to enhance the historic character of the town.
The proposals for the open space and market square outside the Town Hall aim to provide a welcoming, safe and attractive place that enhances the western end of the High Street and supports local retailers, as well as creating a space for markets and cultural events.
The improvements are the first of many projects in the £2m Midsomer Norton High Streets Heritage Action Zone to celebrate the historic high street and encourage sustainable economic growth. These will include a new pedestrian passageway between the High Street and the car park, renewed shopfront signage, community workshops and other initiatives including planting schemes and pop-up shops.
The High Street Heritage Action Zone is funded by a grant from Historic England, support from the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets funding and match funding from Midsomer Norton Town Council.
The designs can be viewed on the council website and residents are encouraged to take part in the public consultation before it ends on December 29.
Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “Heritage in Bath and North East Somerset extends far beyond the famous landmarks of Bath to our important historic towns. Community input into these new designs for Midsomer Norton will be crucial in making sure this public space works for the community. This is an important moment in the regeneration of the town, so please have your say in the public consultation.”
Midsomer Norton’s Mayor and Town Councillor, Lynda Robertson, and Town Clerk, Donna Ford, said: “We are encouraged by the plans for the Island and we are looking forward to the end result. It is an exciting time for Midsomer Norton and we welcome this much-needed investment for the town.”
Bev Iles, Acting Chair of the Midsomer Norton Community Trust, who run the Town Hall and are on the project steering group, said: “The Community Trust welcome the improvements at The Island with great enthusiasm as they will support locally-run events and offer fantastic opportunities to showcase the heritage of the town. The redevelopment will restore The Island to a functioning community space which can be used by a range of community groups and local businesses for retail, fundraising and much more.”
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “I created and invested in the Love our High Streets programme to transform our town centres and give them a renewed vigour, ensuring our high streets remain the anchors of our local communities. I encourage everyone to share their views on the planned improvements, to help Midsomer Norton look to the future; retaining its appeal for residents and visitors alike.”
Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England said: “This is an excellent opportunity for local people to have their say on the future of Midsomer Norton’s historic heart and help unlock its regeneration potential. We hope everyone who cares about the High Street will get involved and share their views.”
For more information on High Street Heritage Action Zones visit: https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/regenerating-historic-high-streets/
Full details of WECA’s Love Our High Streets initiative can be found here