Chard regeneration scheme rises up
Eight months into the leisure centre build at the Chard Regeneration site and progress is continuing apace.
Following appointment by Alliance Leisure, contractor Speller Metcalfe began work in March but was almost immediately forced into a temporary site closure following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.
With the quick response of the team, initiation of strict control measures and adherence to government guidance, the build restarted after a short delay and now with close to 40 workers on site daily is being delivered to programme.
Councillors from South Somerset District Council were on site this week to see the progress of scheme, which includes completion of the building structure and roof works to the pool. Internally, the layout of the Centre is becoming visible with the formation of internal walls including changing rooms and office areas.
Once complete, leisure facilities on offer will include a five-lane swimming pool, learner pool, café, soft play area and gym, with ample parking for visitors.
Councillor Jason Baker, Chairman of Area West Committee and portfolio holder for the Chard Regeneration programme, said: “I’m really excited to see the progress of the site and it’s unbelievable to think that just in March, construction of the site commenced with the first steel works going in and now the roof is being put on, the pool is coming along and some internal works have commenced.
“The leisure centre is going to be a vital service to the community of Chard and the surrounding areas. Hopefully we won’t have any more setbacks, but with roughly 40 local and national workers working on the site each day, we are confident that unless there are any other COVID or natural element disruptions, we will see the centre opening in late 2021.”
The new Centre is part of the Chard Regeneration programme whereby the Council has worked with partners to develop an ambitious strategy which will bring significant changes to Chard and the community.
Chard Regeneration focuses on regenerating the Boden Mill site in the centre of the town, and proposed components include the new leisure centre and swimming pool, alongside a blend of housing and commercial developments. In addition to this, the scheme proposes a number of other measures to boost business in the town, support events and revitalise the market.
Mark Hudgeon, regional director at Speller Metcalfe, said: “To see what the project team has achieved – both under a forced closure and now under enhanced health and safety measures on site – has been remarkable.
“Speller Metcalfe has worked extremely closely with Alliance Leisure and the Council to ensure we have been able to get back on track as quickly as possible, ensuring we can bring real benefit to both the town’s residents and visitors to the area under the Council’s ambitious regeneration programme.”
The project is due to complete towards the end of next year.