The last year has been tough for many people in our town, not least for local businesses who’ve endured a rollercoaster of opening and closing with each new peak in the virus. Now, finally we hope, the vaccine has given us fresh reason to believe that life will return to something like normal in the not too distant future. When that time comes, we want to encourage people to visit Shepton, to do their shopping here and linger a while, meet friends, enjoy events, activities and festivals, and relax over a coffee or a meal. Whether they live here, or they’re just visiting, we want Shepton Mallet to become their town of choice, and to recommend it to their friends and family.

The Town Council is eager to play its part in helping to make our town as attractive and welcoming as possible. For some time, we’ve been working with Mendip District Council and the County Council to agree improvements to the town centre, funded by all three councils. Like many other things, the plans have been delayed due to the virus but I’m very pleased to say that work’s about to start on replacing the tired, uneven paving of Town Street and the Market Square with one that will enhance the centre of our historic market town.

Although the work is being managed by Somerset County Council, we’ll be working with the contractors to help ensure businesses and residents in Town Street and the Market Square are disrupted as little as possible and people are still able to access properties without difficulty. Mendip District Council have now confirmed the Friday market will relocate to Great Ostry car park for the duration of the works. A decision taken in consultation with traders and local businesses.
Please don’t let the work stop you from using the shops and cafes once they’re able to open again from around 12 April. They all need our support and I know you’ll get a very warm welcome when you visit them.

These improvements are just one of a number of projects which we’re working on to revitalise and improve the town centre. Work on refurbishing the library to create a new community hub with space for meetings and activities, some new wayfaring signs for the town centre and a series of heritage trails to celebrate the history and uniqueness of our town are all in the pipeline.

Finally, you may have noticed we’ve adopted a new look as well to help the town stand out and draw people in. It’s been designed to showcase Shepton and all that it has to offer – a warm, welcoming, quirky and diverse town with lots to offer, from food, drink and independent shopping to art, culture, heritage and festivals.

Shepton has everything to play for. I hope we can work together to make it happen.

Until next time.
Matt Harrison, Chairperson