The regeneration of Midsomer Norton Town Hall into a modern and accessible space for the community is set to be completed later this year after new community funding of £450,000 was secured for the project, with an extra £37,000 for the overall renewal of the High Street.
The transformation of the building, now owned by Midsomer Norton Town Council as a community asset, is the centrepiece of the £2.8m scheme to regenerate Midsomer Norton High Street.
The project is part of the £922k High Street Heritage Action Zone, a partnership between Bath & North East Somerset Council, Historic England and local partners to regenerate the town’s historic buildings and celebrate its culture.
The Town Hall is being fully restored with the Market Hall reinstated to its original double height and is expected to open by the end of 2023, providing a new facility for the community to enjoy.
The development is well under way, helped by £450,000 of extra funding allocated from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. A further £37,000 has also been secured through CIL for the continuation of the overall High Street renewal programme.
Councillor Paul Roper, cabinet member for Economic & Cultural Sustainable Development, said: “The restored Town Hall which dates back to 1859 will be a real asset to the community as a resilient and adaptable space contributing to the next 160 years of Midsomer Norton life. When works began, the building was revealed to be in worse condition than expected so I’m pleased that the project remains on track. I look forward to seeing residents and visitors begin to enjoy this transformed community space at the end of this year.
“This is an excellent example of partners working together with us to achieve a transformative project for the community. The regeneration of the Town Hall has been a community aspiration for a number of years which is now being realised.”
Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England said: “This injection of funding is fantastic news. It means the much-needed repairs and refurbishment of the Town Hall will be completed very soon and the building in use once again. That’s a huge achievement for Midsomer Norton and a major milestone for the High Street HAZ.”
Councillor Gordon Mackay, Midsomer Norton Mayor, said: “There has been some public misconception that this project is all about delivering a fancy new Council building, but the reality is this will be a community-owned asset for running markets, exhibitions and events. Combined with the redevelopment of The Island, it’s going to be the catalyst for improvement throughout the High Street. Midsomer Norton residents will be delighted to see the return of the cinema not to mention the public toilets! The funding, very gratefully received, has allowed phase one of the project to be delivered with minimal cost to the Town Council putting us in a great position to complete the project and maximise the huge potential of this community asset for generations to come."
The iconic Midsomer Norton Town Hall was built in 1859 and has been the home of a number of organisations over the past 160 years, undergoing various alterations over the years to help meet the requirements of successive tenants. The alterations varied in quality and purpose, leaving the building in a poor state. The building was one of four constructed close together at around the same time and in a similar architectural style by John Harris Smith and was listed at Grade II in 1979.
For more information about the progress of the Market Hall Reinstatement construction works and the HSHAZ programme visit the project website at: yourmidsomernorton.co.uk/project-updates