A SOMERSET high street has received £793,000 to help it recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The money has been offered to Midsomer Norton as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

Midsomer Norton Town Council (MNTC) plans to use the funding to create an indoor market hall, a pedestrian passageway between the high street and the car park, and renew their shop signage.

Lynda Robertson, Mayor of MNTC, said: “Midsomer Norton’s High Street has incredible potential to be transformed into a vibrant place focused on entertainment, leisure and services.

“This funding boost is excellent news as it will revitalise Midsomer Norton as a ‘market town’ again with its own market square, making it a thriving place for the future.

“A number of our high street premises are vacant, and many town centre businesses are fragile in the face of significant changes to the way people shop.”

The council have consent to transform the ground floor of the town hall back into a market hall – similarly to how it was first built in the 1860s.

A proposed plan will be to close The Island to traffic (the space outside the town hall) and use this space for market stalls on sunnier days.

Councillor Paul Crossley, Bath & North East Somerset Council cabinet member for communities, said: “This really is excellent news for Midsomer Norton. The funding will enable us to care for the historic environment in this special town.”

Ten high streets in the South West have been offered nearly £13million in government funding.

The HSHAZ programme is set to help 68 historic high streets across the country.

The initiative is funded by £40million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “High streets sit at the heart of our communities and every part of the country deserves to have one they can be proud of.

“This fund will help breathe new life into high streets in towns and cities across the country, restoring them to their full glory so they are beautiful places for people to shop, work and enjoy.”