Terry Ledlie, Yeovil Constituency Labour Party Spokesperson, has hit out at the suspension of phase two of the Chard town centre modernisation project. In mid-August the Lib-Dem led South Somerset District Council announced that work on the £2 million Fore Street and Boden Street project would start on 13 September. Just nine days later it was announced that funding could no longer be found for the project, which is now facing an uncertain future. Plans for a £4 million enterprise park in land next to Beaching Close were also announced in August. The Labour Party is pressing for a firm starting date for this project and is determined to ensure that the money will be well-used. Labour spokesperson Terry Ledlie said: “Frankly, this has been a complete mess. The people of Chard deserve much better than this. The town badly needs a boost, following the closure of Oscar Mayer, its biggest employer. Chard needs substantial investment in order to create new jobs. The mishandling of the town centre project must be deeply concerning to all those who are looking to the local authority to make sure that the town has a vibrant economic future.”
Terry continue “As this flagship project has suddenly been scuppered, this makes it even more vital that the proposed enterprise centre goes ahead and that the investment is used to best possible effect. With so much now riding on the enterprise centre, there are three clear tests that the Lib Dem council must meet:
- Build the right sort of spaces – this will need to be based on research into the type of enterprises that are likely to use the new business centre and what they need in terms of facilities.
- Ensure that new businesses coming to Chard make maximum use of the skills of local people who are seeking work.
- Provide best value, which means creating maximum employment, whilst avoiding subsidising employers for doing things that they would do anyway .
“Chard has had plenty of warm words, now it badly needs strong action!”