AHR submits planning for new leisure centre and library in Chard, amidst vision for wider regeneration

Plans for the redevelopment of Chard town centre as part of South Somerset District Council’s Chard Regeneration scheme have been submitted by architecture and building consultancy practice, AHR, showcasing how a new leisure centre and library, including community facilities, will help re-activate the area amongst wider regeneration.

AHR’s designs for Development Partner, Alliance Leisure Services Ltd, working with South Somerset District Council, embed the new builds within the context of the local area, to inclusively bring the town centre forward with a combination of leisure, residential, commercial and retail spaces that will meet the needs of the people.

Karle Burford, director at AHR, said:

“Developing our designs for Chard’s Boden Mill site has been a really enjoyable process, and our shared vision with Alliance Leisure and the Council will bring attraction back into the area to create a positive, cohesive environment for the community.  We’ve enveloped our design language in the notable historic qualities of the town, creating new spaces that are in harmony with the town’s history, whilst looking ahead to Chard’s future as an exciting new destination”

Chard Regeneration focuses on regenerating the Boden Mill site in the centre of the town, and proposed components include a 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.

The much-needed new leisure centre responds to the character of the site and local heritage, taking reference from the preceding saw tooth industrial buildings, with use of red brick echoing the nature of nearby listed buildings. Use of large north lights has been carried across from the preceding industrial buildings to the new leisure centre, filling the new building with an abundance of natural light whilst staying true to Chard’s character.

The new, relocated library has been designed to cater for the community’s needs, including space for both exhibitions and classes. The currently redundant Boden Mill will be opened up for both commercial and residential use.

Following engagement with the local community, the wider regeneration seeks to include improved transport links, green space, shops, housing, as well as enhanced public realm, providing Chard town centre with a dedicated area for people to relax, socialise and meet.

AHR is working with several local authorities across the UK on public-sector-led regeneration plans, including North Somerset Council, Gloucester City Council, Braintree District Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council. The practice’s multi-service and multi-sector nature is valuable in transforming the varied places that integrate to help regenerate communities and enhance town centres.