Frequently asked questions

Why are you investing time, money and effort into regenerating Yeovil town centre?


We undertook a piece of work looking at the needs of the town in 2018 and it was really clear that there are a number of developments which are needed to improve it and fundamentally change the way it works. The town is not working for the community in 2020 as it is till designed for how we lived 50 years ago.

Yeovil is the primary market town in South Somerset and when you visit, we want you to have a great experience so that you want to come back. But it’s not just about visiting the town centre; we want to provide opportunities for people to live there, with a mix of housing so that residents will shop local and create a vibrant town centre that other people will want to visit and retailers will want to be a part of. Offering a variety of choice to dine is also important and will help independent and national businesses to flourish in Yeovil.




Why are you not filling the empty shops in the town centre?


We don't own all of the premises in the town centre, in fact, SSDC only owns the Wilkos and Marks & Spencer buildings in the town centre, so it's up to shop premise owners to get their retail units vacated. Nationally, the old traditional high street idea that town centres are filled with rows and rows of shops is outdated. We want to create an experience where the high street offers a mix of housing, service industry and shops to help counter the effects of online shopping.




Can you not simply reduce the business rates to get more businesses in the town centre?


SSDC does not set the business rate value, this is done by central government and we cannot control the rateable value, which is how your business rates are worked out.




Surely you can help businesses in the town centre?


Asolutely we can, yes. We can apply Business Rates Relief to those businesses that are eligible. You can visit the SSDC website and see if you are eligible for Business Rates Relief at https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/services/business-rates/business-rate-relief/.




I made a comment during a consultation that opposed what you have decided to do. Why haven't I been listened to?


Every comment made is taken into consideration when making final decisions as part of the Yeovil Refresh programme. Everyone has differing opinions and we use feedback from consultations, officer and expert recommendations and advice to guide the work we do. Any decisions are then formally approved by the Yeovil Refresh Board and then at committees such as District Executive and Full Council.




Why have you removed disabled parking from the town centre?


Disabled parking has not been removed from the town centre, it's simply been relocated to a different area. We want to make the town centre an accessible area for all and concerns were raised during the initial consultation that traffic in some areas such as Middle Street was dangerous. We therefore decided to implement a Traffic Regulation Order that restricts traffic coming onto Middle Street and removed some disabled bays to reduce the number of cars coming into this area. We took a close look at how this area of the street due to its relative narrow exit in to the Borough. As we are trying to improve access and make it easier for people to move around, we have designed a space which widens the pavement. This has meant that we can no longer retain bays on the north side of the street. Some designated bays have been moved around the corner to Union street and we have kept bays on the south side of the street.




How will changing the public realm attract people to the town? We need decent shops.


The look and feel of a town centre enhances the reputation and if people have a positive experience when visiting, they are more likely to come back and visit again. Additionally, if a town centre looks attractive and can prove good visitor numbers, the better the chances that more high street chain shops and restaurants would want to come to the town or the more confident independent retailers would feel setting up business in the town centre.




I'm a business owner and want to set up shop in the town centre. What should I do?


We've set up as dedicated area on our Yeovil Refresh website that can help you. Visit the 'About' tab and select the 'Business in Yeovil' option for further advice.




What are you trying to do?


We have four areas for projects that we are tackling; these are:

1. Public realm – Improving and Rebuilding the main streets so they work better and are less dominated by traffic. Within this area we plan to create new spaces at the Triangle, improve the Borough and make the streets easier to navigate.

2. Major Development sites – we are supporting plans to develop the Old Cattle Market and Glovers Walk. We are also seeking to bring new workspace into the centre.

3. Transport Systems – we aim to improve the road network, access for pedestrians and cyclists, provide a new bus station and support the bus routes.

4. Activity – we support a range of events, activities and initiatives in the town centre. These together will mean that we have things we can do in the town centre to support the economy.




When will we see work happen?


We have been working hard on the ground work for all of the four areas. We will start building the public realm in 2021. The major development sites have been delayed by Covid but we are working with their owners to bring them forwards as soon as is possible. The transport systems are being redesigned and we hope you will start to see some construction in 2021.




Where is all the money coming from for the Yeovil Refresh project and the work?


This is a mix of funding that we already have combined with funds that we hope to be provided from Central Government. We already have money committed from the Council’s budget and commitments to sell plots of land and assets that are surplus to requirements. This will combine with funds from developers through Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 agreements. We have also applied for two Government funds:

Future High Streets Fund (FSHF) - Yeovil was one of the first fifty towns to be selected for this fund. We have a bid seeking £12 million to support our ambitions and hope to hear the result shortly.

Active Travel 2 – Following Covid Related social distance Closures we worked with Somerset County Council to submit two schemes. These are and the installation of a bus gate in High Street to manage traffic entering the Borough and Lyde Road Strategic Cycleway which is outside the Refresh area. We are now working up proposals which we will consult on for these schemes in the next few months.




What parking is available in the town centre?


We have a range of car parks, on street parking and private car parks in the town. We know from survey work that these are rarely full and most usually have spare capacity. In the council car parks we have designated blue badge bays and a range of on street provision. Quedam also provide significant parking and host a Shopmobility service.

For blue badge holders, there are a range of designated bays in central streets, council car parks and private car parks. Blue badge holders can of course also use their badge to park on double yellow lines where this isn`t creating an obstruction or in a dangerous position.