Former Working Men’s Club renovated into five new affordable rental apartments in Chard

The former three-storey Working Men’s Club in Fore Street, Chard, has been renovated and transformed into five smart new one and two-bedroom apartments by affordable housing provider Stonewater, creating much-needed affordable housing in the area.

The iconic building which is located in the heart of Chard Town Centre, had been empty for a period of time; however the property was bought back into use by Stonewater and recently renovated.

The redevelopment was carried out under the Empty Homes Programme with Stonewater securing grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and South Somerset District Council for the scheme.

The Club’s old signage and flagpole have been donated by the housing organisation to the Chard Museum which in return, has provided Stonewater with old photographs of the building and high street which have been printed on large acoustic panels and hung in the building.

A further four houses are to be built at the rear of the building which will provide even more new and much-needed affordable housing in the town. There are currently 269 new affordable homes in the pipeline to be built in South Somerset.

Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing said, “Bringing this prominent local eyesore back into use eluded everyone year on year as its condition deteriorated at the very gateway to Chard’s High street. Eventually Stonewater rose to the challenge and took on the risk in partnership with the District Council. The result has been a total transformation both inside and out.

“The quality of the new accommodation, skilfully blended into the historic building, is exceptional and everyone involved can be justifiably proud of the outcome. For individuals and families moving in it already looks and feels like a home with imaginative finishing touches that have really raised the bar and set a new accommodation standard. This has been a fantastic team effort in saving a building and creating new homes of the highest quality for Chard residents and I could not be more pleased with the outcome”.

This latest town centre housing scheme in Chard follows a development of 56 affordable new homes for low-cost rent and shared ownership which Stonewater completed at the end of last year in Great Western Road. Stonewater currently has 885 properties in South Somerset and around 100 under development

“We are thrilled to have worked with South Somerset District Council to convert this iconic building in Chard High Street into high quality new homes for affordable rent,” says Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater Assistant Director of Development. “The scheme strikes the perfect balance of providing truly affordable homes for local people without losing the character and historic significance of the existing buildings that give Chard its charm. We hope our new residents will really enjoy living in these smart new apartments and their fantastic central location in the town. We’re also looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with the Council and delivering more high-quality affordable housing where it’s most needed in the District.”

Over the past two years, South Somerset District Council and Stonewater - formed this year after Jephson and Raglan merged - have delivered more than 100 new homes in the district.

There are currently just over 2,000 applicants registered on Homefinder Somerset for rented accommodation in South Somerset.

Any member of the public can register with Homefinder Somerset by completing the online registration form at www.homefindersomerset.co.uk. If you do not have access to the internet, there are public access computers at the council offices in Chard, Crewkerne, Wincanton and Yeovil (Petters House) where people can access the Homefinder website and register.