What is Midsomer Norton’s High Street Heritage Action Zone?
Midsomer Norton’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (‘HSHAZ’) initiative is a partnership programme between local stakeholders –including the Town Council, Community Trust, Town Trust and Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce– Historic England and B&NES Council.
First announced in August 2020, the four-year HSHAZ programme will celebrate the history and heritage of Midsomer Norton and encourage sustainable economic and cultural growth in the town centre and nearby areas. The funding will deliver a range of improvement works and community projects within the HSHAZ area, including:
- A new multi-use Market Square at The Island;
- The reinstatement of the Market Hall at the Town Hall;
- Repair and restoration of High Street shopfronts and signage;
- Conservation Area and ‘heritage asset’ enhancements (e.g. improvements to the public realm and historic buildings); and
- A Cultural Programme of community events and activities.
The High Street Heritage Action Zone programme is overseen by the HSHAZ ‘Steering Group’. This group is formed of local people (including residents, businesses and elected representatives), community stakeholders and funding organisations. The HSHAZ Steering Group currently comprises:
- The full-time High Street Project Manager
- Ward Councillor, Midsomer Norton North (Steering Group Chair)
- Ward Councillor, Midsomer Norton North
- Town Clerk, Midsomer Norton Town Council
- Two Ward Councillors, Midsomer Norton South
- Trust Manager, Midsomer Norton Community Trust
- Two Councillors from Midsomer Norton Town Council
- Representative from Historic England
- Regeneration Manager, B&NES Council
- Representative for High Street businesses (currently vacant due to winding down of Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce)
Where has the funding for the Midsomer Norton High Street Heritage Action Zone come from?
As a partnership programme, the Midsomer Norton HSHAZ project is funded from a variety of sources. Key funders include Historic England, the West of England Combined Authority, B&NES Council, Midsomer Norton Town Council and Midsomer Norton Town Trust.
One important source of project funding is the High Streets Heritage Action Zone Programme, a £95m government initiative overseen by Historic England and funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Following a successful funding bid made by B&NES Council and community stakeholders in 2020, Midsomer Norton was chosen as one of over 60 HSHAZ locations and awarded approximately £798,000 of this funding by Historic England. This funding has since increased to £917,000 following further successful bids.
Another major source of project funding includes a share of the West of England Combined Authority’s ‘Love Our High Streets’ Fund. Provisionally allocated in 2018, this funding comprises £1,095,000 for the redevelopment of The Island, the Full Business Case for which was approved in February 2022.
Other match funding for the HSHAZ project is provided by B&NES Council. This totals £437,000 from both the Community Infrastructure Levy and Corporate Supported Borrowing budgets. UK Shared Prosperity Fund has generously donated £350,000 toward the Town Hall. Midsomer Norton Town Council are showing support for the project by providing £45,000 of funding.
The overall total for the Midsomer Norton HSHAZ is therefore in the region of £2.8m.
Separate but complementary initiatives also link in the with HSHAZ aims and objectives. These projects include the European Regional Development Fund’s ‘Welcome Back’ initiative and the B&NES Vacant Units Action Project which is funded by WECA’s Recovery Fund.
The HSHAZ area is outlined below: