The future of Midsomer Norton Town Hall is one step closer to being secured as construction works for the first phase of the Town Hall Transformation Project have now begun as part of grant-funded initiatives within the town centre.
The first phase is being overseen by Midsomer Norton Town Council with support from the B&NES Regeneration Team and will see the small offices and corridors at the ground floor of the Town Hall opened up to reinstate the original Victorian Market Hall and provide new facilities for the community.
The Phase 1 works also include repair and conservation works for the building and form part of the wider £2.2m High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and High Street Renewal Programme.
The HSHAZ will provide a new multi-use Market Square at the Island, improve shopfronts and signage along the High Street and enhance the public realm and Conservation Area within the town centre.
The HSHAZ project is being carried out by Bath & North East Somerset Council in partnership with community stakeholders, with funding and support provided by Historic England, the West of England Combined Authority’s ‘Love Our High Streets’ grant programme and Midsomer Norton Town Council.
During the construction works, the Town Council and Midsomer Norton Community Trust are providing accommodation to the many community groups who use the Town Hall at the new Unit 14 Make Space facility on South Road and other community spaces. Unit 14 is funded by the West of England Combined Authority’s Investment Fund and Bath & North East Somerset Council’s allocation of the Welcome Back High Streets Fund.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Our high streets and town centres are at the heart of our communities and the places we are proud to call home, so I’m absolutely delighted a £895,000 cash injection from the West of England Combined Authority I lead means these important works can get under way. This really will transform the lives of local people, spreading jobs and opportunities and giving the people of Midsomer Norton a town centre matching up to its bright, bright future ahead.”
Councillor Mark Roper, cabinet member for Economic Development, Regeneration & Growth, said: “We are delighted to support the Town Hall Transformation Project through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme and will continue to work closely with the Town Council on their delivery of this exciting and long-held community aspiration. Thriving community spaces, events and footfall are vital for our high streets to flourish, which is why the new Market Hall and redeveloped Market Square together will be so important for Midsomer Norton.”
Speaking of the progress made and the formal start of construction works, the Town Clerk, Donna Ford, said: “After all the planning it is great to know that work is now starting to unlock the true potential of this much-loved building. Having the Market Hall reinstated at street level on the High Street, adjacent to the redeveloped Market Square at the Island, will enable us to run markets, events and activities to draw more people to the town centre. At the same time, conserving the Town Hall and improving its facilities will be a huge boost to the 100+ community groups who support some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England, which is providing funding for the HSHAZ programme and Phase 1 works, said: “We’re delighted that works to the Town Hall are ready to begin. The project is a key part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone and, along with works to The Island, will create an exciting new public space for markets, arts and cultural events.”
For more information of the progress of the Market Hall Reinstatement construction works, the HSHAZ programme and Heritage Open Days, please visit the project website at: yourmidsomernorton.co.uk/project-updates
Details of the High Street Renewal Programme in B&NES can be found here https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/BathnesHighStreetRenewal