BRIDGWATER'S town centre is to get a boost with a whole raft of initiatives including a summer festival.

The initiatives have been funded by EDF Energy through the planning permission given to prepare the site at Hinkley Point C for construction.

There are four elements to the successful Bridgwater Town Council bid:

1.improving the environment by lighting the town bridge and other landscaping;

2.helping retailers meet the needs of a growing customer base;

3.extending the new England Coast Path to the Docks; 

4.supporting a programme of events, including a summer festival on July 29.

Among the visual improvements planned are new street furniture, improved signage and replacement of dying and diseased trees in Fore Street, which should be completed by spring 2018.

The council has employed award-winning lighting designer Chris Watts to make a feature of the 19th century iron bridge by installing architectural lighting to illuminate historic bridge at night.

Chris said: "I am really excited to be involved with this project and specifically the lighting of the bridge.

"I'm looking forward to using my skills to create the design and quite literally show off the bridge in its best light and hope to finish by the autumn.

Bridgwater Quayside Festival will take place on Saturday, July 29 and will be a day of festivities in and around the town centre.

Events are being organised by leading Somerset-based street arts company, Fuse Performance.

The contract to support town centre shops was won by Cleeco and they have called their project Bridgwater Independent Retailers Training and Support or BIRTS.

They will be offering ideas on shop fronts, websites, merchandising and promotion.

Cleeco is visiting all relevant businesses to find out what they need before the programme starts.

The England Coast Path in Somerset opened last March - and brings walkers to Somerset to tackle the 58-mile long distance route.

Signs will be put up along the Parrett riverbank, encouraging the visitors to come down to visit the historic Docks and into the town to visit the shops, eating places and points of interest.

Bridgwater town clerk, Alan Hurford, said: "We are delighted to be able to use some of the money from the CIM Fund to enhance what our town has to offer as a place with an independent spirit and proud history.

"As people who are in town on a daily basis, we all tend to forget that we have some wonderful buildings, streets full of character and a range of independent shops that can appeal to visitors if we show them off better - that is what these projects will help us do."

David Eccles, head of stakeholder engagement for EDF Energy, said : "We're proud to be investing in Bridgwater, the town is going from strength to strength and it's great to be part of it.

A spokesman for Sedgemoor District Council said: "We are pleased to be working with the town council to deliver a real boost for the town.

"We know that the current road works have caused difficulties for some of our businesses and while there is no scheme in place for compensating individuals, we believe this package of improvements will create a better, brighter and busier town centre for residents and visitors alike and for years to come."

The town council successfully bid for a grant from the Community Impact Mitigation (CIM) Fund put in place through a Section 106 agreement with a portion specifically ear-marked for Bridgwater.

Match funding has also been provided by Sedgemoor District Council, the town council and Bridgwater Town Team.

Making a case for the grant and supported by Sedgemoor District Council, the town council argued that the increase in traffic from the construction of HPC would mean the town needed to put in place measures to retain the loyalty of customers for the centre and attract new ones.

As Bridgwater prepares to welcome increasing numbers of workers from the project to the proposed campus and new hotels, the council said funds were required to enhance the town's appearance and raise the quality of what it offered visitors.