High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
Chard is a historic market town in rural South Somerset and was an important wool, weaving and lace-making centre.
The town has several additional claims to fame including as the place where James Gillingham started making the first leather prosthetic limbs, and as the headquarters of Numatic – the home of the Henry vacuum cleaner.
High Street, Holyrood Street and Fore Street, the focus of the High Street Heritage Action Zone, are rich in historic character. The town centre boasts 50 listed buildings, including the Grade I listed Waterloo House and Grade II* listed Chard School, which are on the Heritage at Risk Register.
Whilst the town centre is architecturally attractive, it is lack-lustre and the poor state of repair of many of the buildings and shopfronts is off-putting for both shoppers and prospective businesses. It's also not a pedestrian-friendly zone, with heavy traffic, poor pavements and a general lack of well-signposted routes to help people find their way around.
An award of up to £1 million for Chard High Street Heritage Action Zone will help deliver the Chard Regeneration Plan which has strong local support. Vulnerable historic buildings in the town centre will be repaired. Historic shopfronts will be refurbished to create a more attractive retail environment. Much-needed improvements will be made to pavements and public spaces. This will complement the Boden Mill site becoming a key visitor destination with a new leisure centre.
Alongside the physical regeneration, research and listing activity will cover the entire conservation area; and local people and cultural organisations will work together on events and activities to celebrate Chard’s rich history and showcase what the town has to offer today.
Below you can find just some of the progress being made in the Chard High Street Heritage Action Zone. For more, follow us on Twitter @HistoricEngland. Chard Regeneration also has its own website where for the most up-to-date news:
High Street, Holyrood Street and Fore Street, the focus of the High Street Heritage Action Zone, are rich in historic character. Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.
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