Funding for Chard town centre?

LOCAL MP David Laws has written to a Government minister to call for extra funding to boost Chard town centre.

Chard missed out again in Round Two of the Portas Pilot bid last week and Mr Laws has written to Local Government Minister Grant Shapps to voice his support for a new scheme that will give retailers in areas such as Chard a share of £5.5m.

Chard, along with other communities that were unsuccessful in their bid to become Portas Pilot towns, will have access to a new pool of funding.

Mr Laws told the News that the Government is expected to announce in the autumn how much money Chard could receive as part of the new scheme.

“I have written to the Minister to press Chard’s case and will do all I can to back the work being down locally to help revive our high streets and the economy of Chard,” he said.

Cllr Garry Shortland, chairman of the Chard Town Team, said it was ‘sad’ it had been unsuccessful again in its Portas bid.

He said a survey carried out in the town had revealed interesting results with an overwhelming thumbs-up for ‘convenience shopping’ in Chard.

But 58% of those questioned said they did most of their non-grocery shopping out of town.

“People said there was a lack of choice and price,” he said. “They also said that the town centre and its approach was very much in need of improvement.”

Some 244 surveys were completed, mostly by people from Chard with 39% aged over 65.

The survey showed that top of people’s shopping list for Chard was a new dedicated greengrocer. A number of people said they did not want to see any more supermarkets or charity shops in the town.

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