Former lace mill site in Chard will house new-build leisure centre and library
AHR has won planning permission to redevelop a 19th-century former mill site in the Somerset town of Chard as part of a local authority-led regeneration scheme.
Its proposals, drawn up in conjunction with development partner Alliance Leisure Services, will see the delivery of a new-build leisure centre with a swimming pool at Boden Mill, along with a new library and community building.
South Somerset District Council said subsequent phases of the regeneration project would include new commercial units, housing and public-realm improvements at the site of the mill, which is grade II listed and was built in 1825 for lace-making company Wheatleys.
AHR said it had worked closely with the council to ensure the architecture respects the context and heritage of the site while modernising the town centre to create an attractive and inclusive area that would be valued by residents and visitors.
AHR director Karle Burford said the practice was “thrilled“ to get approval for its plans earlier this month.
“We look forward to seeing the project progress and the transformational effect it will have on Chard’s town centre,” he said.
“With exciting new places to live, eat, learn, exercise and socialise, the development will offer a holistic environment that will benefit the entire community and be something that the town can be truly proud of.”
Jason Baker, South Somerset council’s lead member for regeneration in Chard, said the mill site had been derelict for many years and an “eyesore for the town centre”.
Bath-based Stubbs Rich Architects won a design competition to redevelop Boden Mill site 2012 with a scheme that proposed new shops, housing and a town square. The project was the first phase of a masterplan drawn up by LDA Design for developer Henry Boot.
AHR’s design and access statement for the current proposals said South Somerset council had stepped in after previous commercial proposals “failed to materialise”.