Over £ 400,000 in additional funding has been approved to ensure regeneration efforts in Chard town center can move forward.
South Somerset District Council is delivering a new swimming pool and recreation center as part of its flagship Chard regeneration program.
Many improvements to Chard’s public realm are planned as part of the project, including alterations to the alignment of Holyrood Street, improvements to the “east gate” and the redevelopment of the entrances to two parking lots near the recreation center.
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But to ensure these projects can move forward, the council voted to provide an additional £ 412,500 on top of other grants already secured.
The council’s district executive committee took less than half an hour to approve the additional funding when it met virtually Thursday morning (July 7).
Anna Matthews, project manager for the program’s public domain elements, said Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic had resulted in increased costs for different parts of the program.
She said in her written report: “The recovery of domestic construction production to pre-covid levels has been faster than expected. This has resulted in high demand for contractors and limited capacity.
“At the same time, there is also growing pressure around the availability of building materials and higher tariffs on some EU imports.
“This combination of factors results in shortages and extended delivery times, and ultimately has an impact on costs.”
As part of the public domain improvements, the entrances to the two public car parks closest to the leisure center – Boden Street and Marketfield – will be modernized.
This work must be completed by October 31 to ensure the opening of the recreation center during the winter.
The council had previously secured £ 1million from Historic England as part of its Historic High Street Action Zone (HSHAZ) fund – but this must be spent in full by March 31, 2022, Ms Matthews saying it was “very unlikely” that any funding could be carried over to the next fiscal year.
In order to ensure that all the different projects could move forward, the city council had to sign an agreement with its chosen contractor by Monday, July 12 – hence the urgent need to ensure that the additional funding was in place. .
Councilor Peter Seib, holder of the Legal, Financial and Democratic Services portfolio, said other projects (such as the Yeovil Refresh program or the Wincanton regeneration program) would not lose if the council chooses to initiate these. are.
Roof of the new swimming pool and leisure center complex in Chard (Image: South Somerset District Council)
He said: “The effects of this additional commitment are basically to reduce the amount of money we have available to generate income and remove the amount we have set aside for other contingencies.
“There is no project that is directly affected by this allocation.
“We keep general reservations specifically for things that are not planned – and this is one of those circumstances where we have an inevitable situation.”
The provision of the additional funding brings the total net budget for Chard’s regeneration program to £ 3,412,500.
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Councilor Peter Gubbins, portfolio holder of the Yeovil Refresh program, described the granting of the additional funding as “a no-brainer”.
He added: “It would be criminal not to send this money to complete what has already been achieved there. This is something we should wholeheartedly support.
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This notice was published: 2021-07-08 16:49:19