After over a decade of community consultation and fundraising, plans to transform Midsomer Norton Town Hall have been given the green light by the Town Council and the Phase 1 works are now set to begin.
The project is taking place as part of the Midsomer Norton High Street Heritage Action Zone programme and funded by Historic England, the Town Council and B&NES Council. Construction works are scheduled to commence in September this year.
This significant project will transform the Grade II listed Town Hall and provide much-needed facilities to ensure the building continues to serve the community for the next 100 years.
The first phase of works will see the original 1860s Market Hall reinstated on the ground floor alongside a scheme of conservation and repair works. Once additional fundraising is complete, this will be followed by the construction of a rear extension and further improvement works in Phase 2.
What does this mean for the Community Trust
During the project the Midsomer Norton Community Trust has prepared a plan to provide accommodation to the many community groups who use the building in the assembly room at the Town Hall, our new ‘Unit 14’ facility on South Road and other community spaces.
The whole building will need to close from 5th September for approximately three months, with a phased return starting with the Assembly Room scheduled for December/January and Phase 1 of the project complete by May.
In terms of events, the Paradis Trio concerts will continue at an alternate venue whilst the Cinema and NT Live broadcasts will take an enforced break until December/January.
“After all the planning it is great to know that work is actually going to start shortly to unlock the true potential of this much-loved building. Having the Market Hall reinstated at street level on the High Street, adjacent to the redeveloped Market Square at the Island, will enable us to run markets, events and activities to draw more people to the town centre. At the same time, conserving the Town Hall and improving its facilities will be a huge boost to the 100+ community groups who support some of the most vulnerable members of our community “, said Donna Ford, Town Clerk, Midsomer Norton Town Council.
“This is fantastic news for the community and a real vote of confidence in the voluntary groups based in the Town Hall who work so hard supporting local people. Once completed, improved access, storage, kitchen facilities and increased space will transform the way the building can be used”, said Bev Iles, Chairman of the Midsomer Norton Community Trust.
Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England said: “We’re delighted that works to the Town Hall are ready to begin. The project is a key part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone and, along with works to The Island, will create an exciting new public space for markets, arts and cultural events.”
Councillor Kevin Guy, B&NES Council Leader, added: “We are delighted to support the Town Hall Transformation Project through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme and will continue to work closely with the Town Council to assist their delivery of this exciting and long-held community aspiration. Thriving community spaces, events and footfall are vital for our high streets to flourish, which is why the new Market Hall and redeveloped Market Square together will be so important for Midsomer Norton.”
The transformation of the Town Hall represents one of the final major objectives for the Midsomer Norton Town Council, as set out from its creation and first meeting in 2011. Other achievements include the creation of a Town Park, the return of the Carnival to the town centre and the regaining of Midsomer Norton’s community assets, of which the Town Hall is one.
Regular updates about the Town Hall transformation progress will be posted to this website.
About High Streets Heritage Action Zones
The High Streets Heritage Action Zones is a £95 million government-funded programme led by Historic England, designed to secure lasting improvements and help breathe new life into our historic high streets for the communities and businesses that use them. Historic England is working with local people and partners to unlock the rich heritage on these high streets, through repair and improvement works as well as arts and cultural programmes, making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/regenerating-historic-high-streets/
About Historic England
We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.