Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Chard

Spatial Portrait

6.23 Chard (see Inset Maps 3 and 3a: Chard Town Centre) is located in the west of South Somerset, close to the Devon and Dorset borders and only 12 miles from the English Channel. The town is surrounded by attractive countryside and in particular the Blackdown Hills to the west and north which set an important backdrop to the town and a contrast to development. It is South Somerset’s second largest town with a population of 12,983[1] and has a strong heritage of innovation and manufacture. The town is closely linked to the regional trunk road of the A303 and the A30 & A358.

6.24 Residential growth in Chard has spread primarily to the east and west with growth to the north east being  contained by the Chard Reservoir Nature Reserve.

6.25 The ongoing recognition of Chard’s employment heritage, coupled with the high proportion of major manufacturers operating in Chard means that the town is still an important centre for employment and manufacturing. Chard has an employment density of 0.98 (number of jobs to economically active population). The town has a reasonably high level of self-containment (61.2% of people live and work in the town) although, given it’s role and function, there is notable in-commuting from the surrounding area.

6.26 Chard town centre has a varied range of food and non-food retailing concentrated around the High Street and Fore Street with a large Tesco store in an edge of centre location.

6.27 The town has a good range of visitor attractions in the surrounding area including Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park, Ferne Animal Sanctuary, Forde Abbey and Chard Reservoir Nature Reserve.

6.28 Chard Junction railway station closed during the 1960's but main line train connections are available at nearby Axminster.

1. ONS Mid 2007 estimate [back]