The project’s aim is to enhance the sense of place, vitality and distinctiveness of Wiveliscombe Square and town centre
The place-making project has been established by a town recovery steering group for Wiveliscombe. It is one of a number of local projects funded by Somerset West and Taunton Council, the European Union and Government.
In July 2021, the steering group agreed to fund a place-making project to prepare a plan for improving The Square. This will include traffic management and parking in the town centre and will look at the role of the Town Hall. A sub-group was set-up to take forward this project and Richard Guise appointed as lead consultant. Richard recently prepared a planning design guide for Somerset West and Taunton. He will be working with Phil Parker, who is a highways design specialist.
The place-making project will engage with local businesses and the local community (see timeline). It aims to produce a plan and report that benefits the town and wider area and which has widespread support. Both low cost improvements and longer term design will be considered.
The primary aim is to enhance the sense of place, vitality and distinctiveness of The Square, whilst improving the access for pedestrians and the management of vehicles (moving, delivering and parking).
The first step was a survey launched on Saturday, 16th October in The Square. Residents, shoppers and anyone else with an interest were invited to come to our stall (10am – 12 noon) to have their say on what they liked and did not like about The Square and town centre, how it could be improved and any concerns about making changes. The survey could also be filled in online. The survey closed on 31 October 2021.
A further round of consultation took place in late January, early February with drop-in events on 28-29 January 2022 at Wiveliscombe Community Centre and online consultation. This focused on a number of options which emerged from the comments given in the October consultation, other research and supporting evidence. The results were published in March.
The final draft proposals were published in June 2022. A further round of consultation took place (leaflet drop to every household in Wiveliscombe and online promotion) and ended on 30 June.
The responses to the final draft proposals will be considered. The final plan will be presented to the Town Council later in the year. An implementation plan will then be developed.
It is intended that the final plan produced can be used by community organisations and by the principal council/s to implement improvement projects for the town centre. Community organisations taking forward projects may include the Town Council, 10 Parishes Business Group, the Town Hall Trust and possibly other new groups; as well as the principal councils for our area (currently Somerset West and Taunton Council and Somerset County Council).