CHARD's new leisure centre is coming on in 'leaps and bounds' with the site set to open to the public next year, the mayor of Chard has said.

Last week saw workers starting to place a roof on the giant Silver Street structure which makes up Phase One of the Chard Regeneration site.

The leisure centre build is currently eight months in and due to be completed in 'late 2021' according to South Somerset District Council.

Chard's new five lane swimming pool is based in the western wing of the new building, where the roofing work has been completed.

That area will also house a learner pool, while the main part of the structure will feature a cafe, soft play area, gym, changing rooms and offices.

Jason Baker is the mayor of Chard and SSDC's portfolio holder for the Chard Regeneration Scheme.

He said: "We got to the stage where everyone in Chard decided what they wanted and had a lot of backing for this project and we were able to get going. It is now coming on in leaps and bounds.

"There isn't a day that goes past where we aren't adding something to the structure. It is absolutely brilliant."

The build is currently a few weeks behind its original schedule as a result of earlier Covid-19 restrictions.

Dan Bennett, Chard Regeneration project manager, said: "There is a lot of talk at the moment about 'circuit breaker' lockdowns.

"We will comply with any guidelines and that may bring delays, but at the moment we are on track to open before the end of 2021."

There are currently 40 people working on site across different areas.

An SSDC spokesman added: "The metal structure of the building is all complete, with roofing over the pool also completed and starting to happen over the other areas of the centre.

"Internal walls for the changing room and office area can now be seen rising from the ground and some stone work for external walls has taken place.

"But importantly, the building of the pool has also commenced with testing of the pool likely to take place before Christmas."

Despite the delays, the project is still set to be delivered on budget.

Councillor Jason Baker, 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 – as a District Council, we engaged with you and asked you what you wanted at the regeneration site and we’re delivering that as promised.

"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.”