Taunton News Articles http://www.taunton.uk.com/news/ Copyright 26th May 2017 - 10:05 by Taunton <![CDATA[Public consultation begins on the new Junction 25 business development]]> People are being asked to give their views on a new business development at Junction 25 of the M5, supported by Taunton Deane Borough Council.

The public consultation started on Wednesday 1 March 2017 and will be open for four weeks.

The new strategic employment site, called Nexus 25, was introduced at a business launch and public exhibition at the Holiday Inn at Junction 25.

Nexus 25 could create thousands of new and skilled jobs.  The 'green campus' will have space for research and development and high quality offices, alongside light industrial units and warehouses to provide a range of flexible premises suitable for many types of business.

The name was chosen because of its meaning, which reflects both the location and the connectivity that the development will provide.

Councillor Mark Edwards, Deputy Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council and Executive member for Business Development said:  "We want to thank all the businesses and residents who took the time to come and see the public exhibition.  The project team are in the early stages of development so we want to hear peoples' views to shape the proposals going forward to the next full consultation in May.

"Nexus 25 is an essential part of our plans for Taunton's future growth, enabling us to attract new business and new investment."

Businesses who attended the launch were supportive of the development.

Somerset County Council has brought forward plans to improve Junction 25.  The work to improve Junction 25 and the A358 is being undertaken by Somerset County Council and Highways England and will include access to the site.

Taunton Deane has commissioned Peter Brett Associates to prepare a Local Development Order (LDO) to set out the planning and design principles and other site-specific requirements to guide development of the site. 

LDOs were introduced by the Government to enable Local Authorities to speed up the planning process, while ensuring that the usual environmental safeguards are properly applied.  Once approved by the Council, the LDO will set out the extent and nature of the proposed development together with all the criteria and requirements that proposals must meet to satisfy the terms of the Order.  Developers must demonstrate to the Council that their proposals satisfy the requirements of the LDO in order for them to proceed.

The public consultation begins on 1 March 2017, running for four weeks.  A full consultation on the Local Development Order is planned for May 2017, ahead of submission to the Council in June 2017.  The LDO could be adopted in August 2017.

Information and feedback forms are available under the regeneration section of this website, www.taunton.uk.com/regeneration/j25-employment-site.htm and at the Council's planning consultation portal: http://consultldf.tauntondeane.gov.uk/portal

Comments can also be sent to project team at talkingtomorrows@tauntondeane.gov.uk or by post to:  
The Planning Policy Team, The Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton TA1 1HE.

The proposals are being developed by a team drawn from the public and private sectors.

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<![CDATA[Proposals to pedestrianise three Taunton streets]]> Public Space Consultation

Taunton Deane Borough Council is launching a public consultation to present its suggestions for a new and improved Taunton town centre and seek people’s views.

The proposals, outlined in January, include changes to East Street, Hammet Street and St James Street which would redirect traffic to more appropriate routes. The overall aim is to create a thriving town centre environment that is more attractive and inviting for pedestrians and cyclists, is less polluted and noisy, and is better for businesses.

The project goes hand-in-hand with Taunton’s New Year designation as one of a new wave of Garden Towns and is a key part of its growth programme.

On 18 January 2017, the Council and its appointed transport and urban design specialists WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff met with some of the owners and managers of shops and businesses that could be directly affected by changes to town centre streets. The Council explored their needs and concerns, and their general views on the draft proposals.

Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive member for planning and transport, said: “When we met with the many businesses with an interest in the town centre at this pre-consultation session, we received some very useful feedback which was vital in shaping the proposals to be shown at the public exhibition.

“I would like to thank all who got involved and shared their thoughts with us – we all want to see Taunton thrive and realise its ambitions, especially now we are one of three new Garden Towns nationally.”

A public exhibition of the town centre improvements will be held at Taunton Library in Paul Street during normal library opening hours. It will run from Tuesday 21 February to Saturday 18 March 2017. The exhibition will include information on the proposed changes and a questionnaire to seek the views of the public.

Council officers will be in the library to discuss the proposals on:

  • Thursday 23 February 2017, from 11am to 3pm;
  • Saturday 4 March 2017, from 10am to 2pm;
  • Wednesday 8 March 2017, from 3pm to 7pm; and
  • Friday 17 March 2017, from 11am to 3pm.

Exhibition information and an online version of the questionnaire are available at www.taunton.uk.com/regeneration/taunton-public-space-improvements.htm You can email the project team at psip@tauntondeane.gov.uk or write to them at Taunton Town Centre PSIP, The Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton TA1 1HE

Cllr Habgood added, “I would encourage anybody interested in the future of our town centre to visit the public exhibition and discuss the proposals with the project team. We want the views of people from across Taunton to make sure we understand the needs of shoppers, visitors and retailers.” 

If the proposals gain support, the Council would introduce the changes on a trial basis in autumn 2017. The pilot scheme would run for 18 months to monitor and assess the changes before any permanent public space changes come into effect in 2019.

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<![CDATA[Sign up now for FREE business support ]]> THREE Somerset councils are working together to offer another year of support for local businesses in 2017.

Taunton Deane Borough, West Somerset and Sedgemoor Councils have joined forces to fund a year-long programme of events, which combines digital support with help and advice on business basics.

‘How to complete your first year self-assessment’ and ‘how to apply for funding’ are just two examples - along with some great social media and digital workshops. All the courses are expected to be very popular and prompt sign-up is advised.

The Get Business, Get Digital programme builds on support offered since 2015 – this year free workshops are on offer for people living and working in the three council areas.

Cllr Karen Mills, Lead Member for Economic Development at West Somerset Council, said: “This is a practical programme which covers topics which are highly relevant for today’s changing business environment. The programme is about helping businesses stay ahead of the game through focusing on how knowledge learned can be implemented within the business.”

Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive Councillor for Business Development at Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “I am delighted Taunton Deane is involved in this practical business support programme. The events should be of real benefit to a wide spectrum of business people.”

Workshops start this month, so book early to secure your space! Find further information on the events tab of this website or heading to the Get Business Get Digital website: www.getbusinessgetdigital.co.uk

Quick Glance January Dates

 
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<![CDATA[ Taunton Gains Garden Town Status]]> 2017 marks the beginning of a new era for Taunton after being named as one of three new Garden Towns by the Government.

TAUNTON is heralding 2017 as the start of a new era after being named as one of a new wave of Garden Towns by the Government – firmly rooting the county town’s position as a key centre in the South West.

The success of Taunton’s bid was unveiled today and recognises Taunton Deane Borough Council’s strategy to deliver major regeneration in the town centre, new sustainable communities, improved transport and supporting infrastructure, marrying development with access to green spaces.  Cometrowe Concept Plan

Taunton Deane has been awarded the substantial sum of £350K to cover the master planning costs and identify the important infrastructure requirements.  This will be a major benefit in seeking capital funding from the £2.3 billion announced by the Government to support the creation of Garden Towns and Villages.

Development will centre on urban extensions already identified – Monkton Heathfield, Comeytrowe/Trull and Staplegrove.

Planning for the new communities has identified opportunities to improve access to the surrounding countryside and link green space to housing/employment sites through country parks, community woodland and recreation areas.

Monkton Heathfield and Nerrols concept planThe Council has been working closely with partners, including Somerset County Council, on the bid and news of its success has been widely welcomed.

“Taunton already benefits from many of the characteristics of a Garden Town – we want to strike that balance between retaining our character and wonderful environment to our growth aspirations that will make our county town more prosperous in future,” said Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive member for planning and transport.

“The concepts of a garden town, which combines the best of town and country living, have been successfully demonstrated by places such as Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City. Garden towns are even more relevant today than when they were first introduced more than 100 years ago, precisely because of their contribution to the environment combined with sustainable growth.

 
“Garden Town status will contribute to the support we need to deliver the vision and supporting infrastructure. This is a huge recognition of Taunton, its aims and its place as a key player in the South West.”
Taunton MP Rebecca Pow said: “I’m delighted that the county town of Somerset has been selected as one of very few areas nationally to be awarded Garden Town Status. 
“Taunton has an ambitious plan to deliver the homes that are needed and the funding unlocked should enable this to be done in a sustainable way with the correct infrastructure, green spaces, appropriate design, sports facilities and sustainable drainage so that we create places people really want to live in.”Staplegrove concept plan
The largest new garden community is Monkton Heathfield where approximately 4,500 new homes are planned together with employment sites, a new excellent school already provided, a district centre, a country park and woodland in the green wedge between Monkton Heathfield and Priorswood.

There are plans for a multi-purpose “green necklace” around the development with allotments, recreation areas and wildlife habitat. The Bridgwater and Taunton canal provides an off road footpath and cycleway into Taunton.

Approximately1500 new homes are envisaged at Staplegrove with plans to improve links into the surrounding countryside. A new primary school and local centre with open space and recreational opportunities and improved cycle and pedestrian links will provide a sustainable neighbourhood. 

The new community at Comeytrowe/Trull will provide approximately 2,000 homes, a primary school, a new green wedge along the Galmington Stream with open space and social and community facilities. Public transport improvements are planned with a park and bus site, linking to a proposed rapid bus corridor into Taunton.Taunton concept plan.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, not just for Taunton but for the wider South West,” said Cllr John Williams, Leader of the Borough Council.

“Taunton is surrounded by beautiful countryside which, with its location and excellent road, rail and air links, is part of what makes the town such an attractive place to invest. Garden Town status will emphasise the importance of development maximising the potential of the area’s green spaces and Taunton’s easy access to the countryside. 

“It will also help to stimulate improvement and growth of the town centre and help us to deliver the essential infrastructure that we all know is necessary to support our ambitious plans.”

Councillor John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council, said:  “We need new homes and jobs for the long-term prosperity of the county and a new garden town is part of our vision. The announcement today is great news and we will be working closely with district colleagues to take the next steps.

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<![CDATA[Brexit effect on Taunton Deane Businesses]]> The Council recently commissioned consultants to carry out research among local businesses on the effects of the referendum decision to leave the EU. 

The research which drew on interviews with 25 larger businesses and business representative bodies, has given the Council some valuable insights to how businesses feel about the impending Brexit.  

The research also explored the support that businesses will need from local as well as national Government in preparing for Brexit. 

Both businesses and stakeholders found it particularly difficult to forecast the impact of Brexit on their business, as there remains considerable uncertainty over key aspects of Brexit policy. This is making it very difficult for them to plan beyond the immediate period.

Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive Councillor for Business Development, said: “This research has highlighted a number of important issues that we need to consider if we are to give local businesses the support needed as Brexit moves forward. It is of considerable value to the Council and the Economic Development team who work closely with the business community here in Taunton Deane.” 

In summary, the research suggests that the key risks for Taunton Deane area are:
•    Reduction in the ability to recruit staff/labour from EU countries – particularly of relevance to tourism, construction, manufacturing and food processing.  
•    Reduction in the ability to trade freely with the EU – Businesses which exported to the EU were concerned about the imposition of tariffs and other barriers to trade with the EU
•    Wider recession/inflation – A number of businesses highlighted concerns about inflationary pressures arising from the higher costs of imports.

The Council will consider the report’s findings and recommendations and will liaise closely with Rebecca Pow MP to ensure that action is taken nationally as well as locally to support our businesses. 

You can read the full report here: Brexit Research 2016

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<![CDATA[First digital event a success]]> 'Taunton has the potential to be the digital leader in the South West’ was the message taken away by more than 80 business people at the first Digi Event in Taunton.

The event was co-sponsored by Taunton Deane Borough Council and a consortium of local business in The Taunton Digi Steering Group.

Cllr John Williams, Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council said: “The event was incredibly positive, and it provided a great foundation to launch Taunton’s prospectus for digital growth. The great thing about the day was that it was organised mainly by business for business, and was testament to the huge interest in modern ways of working. We’ll continue to work with businesses and education providers to refine our shared vision for a digital future, and to take steps down the path of building new opportunities.”Digital Confernce attendees picture

The day-long event, held at the Cooper Associates County Ground, showcased businesses that are using technology to their advantage, including Samsung and IBM, with a range of presentations and learning sessions.

“Digital technology is at the heart of all successful modern organisations and when digital is done well, it can transform an industry in the way Uber and AirBnB have done”, explained event Chair and CEO of Claims Consortium Group, Jeremy Hyams.
“We have used digital technology to shape the future of our business and I believe this event has shown that the opportunity is there for all businesses to grasp.”

“The day was a great success,” added Kevin Smith from Santander. “Our delegates heard first-hand from some leading brands that have embraced digital, with the aim of inspiring local business to do the same. We hope to hold future events that keep the buzz around digital strong and explore the many new technology opportunities open to us in this region.”

The Taunton Digi Steering Group is currently preparing a Digital Prospectus for the town, which will provide a shared vision supplemented by a clear route map.  Any business that is interested to join the group would be welcome, and should contact David Evans at Taunton Deane Borough Council on 01823 356545.

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<![CDATA[Work progresses on site to create Taunton’s Tangier Central ]]> Work is progressing on site to revitalise two central Taunton office buildings and create Tangier Central, a complex of open plan, modern work space with ample parking.

The revitalised office buildings in Castle Street are undergoing extensive modernisation in a scheme set to release new office space ranging from 2,500 sq ft to 60,000 sq ft onto the market. The first phase of works will make around 30,000 sq ft of space available at the revamped site with refurbishment work to be complete by January 2017.

Work to upgrade the buildings’ exterior is well underway and includes the installation of a contemporary, glazed entrance continuing through to a sleek, new reception area. The site is also benefitting from a new courtyard at the entrance to the buildings, enhancing the arrival experience. Other landscape improvements, such as external seating areas and contemporary landscaping materials will be complete by late autumn this year.

Work has also started on giving the entrance to each building a ‘wow factor’ with the installation of a range of high spec features including innovative Barrisol lighting to the entrance halls, tiled flooring, glazed partitioning and sliding doors, cross walnut veneer internal doors and bespoke wood-finish stairways with glazed inserts. With over two months of work to go, the open plan offices already have new ceilings, LED lighting and high quality carpeting on the upper floors with the ground floor to be completed soon.

Tangier Central aims to offer all the convenience of an out-of-town business park but in a central location that is just a 15-minute walk from Taunton railway station, and a 10-minute drive from Junction 25 on the M5.

Tangier Central’s benefits include secure car parking for up to 200 vehicles, natural-light filled open work space with pleasant views across the tree-lined River Tone and surrounding countryside.

For further information about the opportunities at Tangier Central contact the agents Nigel Hatfield of Hatfield White on 01823 353033 or Andrew Hardwick of Williams Gunter Hardwick on 0117 922 1222.  Details are also available at www.tangiercentral.co.uk.

Nigel Hatfield, Director at Hatfield White, commented: “Tangier Central is really taking shape so you can see the how the new landscape concept, entrances and interior finishes will really make a difference to tenants that come to the scheme.

“These offices tick every box. Tangier Central offers a central location in a growing town yet benefits from a generous car parking provision, more usually found on a business park. Moreover, these offices provide a high quality and pleasant work environment with plenty of space and natural light, as well as great views of the nearby countryside. Good links to local transport infrastructure are another bonus.

“As a growing town, Taunton needs modern, attractive workspace to accommodate expanding businesses and companies that simply want better work space for their staff. Tangier Central can deliver on all these fronts.”

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<![CDATA[Coal Orchard plans submitted]]> Coal Orchard PlansCoal Orchard Plans Submitted

Proposals to regenerate the Coal Orchard have been submitted to the Borough Council as planning authority.

The proposals, submitted by the Borough Council, are for a mixed development of shops, homes, work space and eating places.

They aim to retain the bohemian character of the area which forms a vital link in the Taunton Rethink strategy that seeks to put the River Tone back at the heart of the county town.

Initial proposals went out to public consultation in May and, following feedback, the submitted plans include off and on-street parking provision and changes to the design and layout to preserve views of the local church and Brewhouse Theatre.

Coal Orchard PlansThe St James Street swimming pool which was closed in July will be demolished, subject to a separate consent.

The scheme is designed to be sensitive to an area close to some important listed buildings. It also aims to encourage active streets during the day and night with natural surveillance throughout. The increase in activity would enhance the pedestrian footfall in front of the Brewhouse Theatre, integrating it into the Coal Orchard quarter. 

 

The proposals maintain a level of parking that would allow for the current and proposed retail provision. While housing would be limited to 36 homes - a mix of one and two-bedroom properties.

Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive Councillor for Business Development, said: “A great deal of thought has gone into this application for a significant site in our county town.
It is important that redevelopment of the Coal Orchard works for everybody which is why the views of local residents and businesses have been sought and taken into consideration. We now have the opportunity to create a truly unique area that will ensure our town centre can thrive in the future.”

The proposals can be viewed on the Borough Council’s website – the reference number is 38/16/0357. Comments are invited and should be submitted online, by email to planning.admin@tauntondeane.gov.uk or in writing by October 21.

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<![CDATA[Taunton Deane welcomes Hinkley opportunities]]> Taunton Deane welcomes Hinkley opportunities

The leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, Cllr John Williams, has welcomed news that the Government has now approved construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The Government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation following a comprehensive review of the project, concluding with agreement requiring EDF to consult with Government in the event of any disposal of interest. It will also introduce a series of measures to enhance security for future projects.

Cllr Williams said: “This development which will be the biggest construction project in Europe, has the potential to provide a huge boost to our economy and can only be of benefit to the whole local community.

“We are well placed to make the most of the opportunities offered. Taunton provides the rail gateway to the Hinkley Point C site and our plans at Taunton Station will create a first class transport interchange providing fast access to the site from London, Birmingham, Bristol and beyond including the SW peninsula. The planned investment in junction 25 will also enhance our motorway connections to two regional airports.

“The Council has committed funds to the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and has been working with a host of partners and EDF Energy to ensure local people benefit from training and employment opportunities and local businesses can bid for contracts, adding real value to the local economy.”

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<![CDATA[Hinkley Point C APPROVED]]> Hinkley Point C APPROVED

The proposed £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been given final approval by the UK government following a revised agreement with EDF.

Following a review of the project, the government has given the go ahead, subject to a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain’s critical infrastructure. This will include nuclear energy and apply after Hinkley.

This will enable it to prevent the sale of EDF’s controlling stake prior to the completion of construction, without the prior notification and agreement of ministers.

EDF confirmed its investment in the project in July 2016, paving the way for contracts to be signed with the UK Government and partner China General Nuclear Power Generation (CGN).

However, it was hit by a further delay following the decision by the government to undertake a further review the project, slowing its approval.

Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said: "Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government's agreement. Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.

"Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security."

When complete, Hinkley Point C is expected to meet about 7 per cent of the UK's energy requirements.

The total cost of the power station is expected to be £18bn with CGN having previously agreed a deal to take a one-third stake in the plant, with EDF holding the remainder.

A Contract for Difference is also set to be agreed between EDF and the government that would set a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity provided by Hinkley Point C for 35 years once it begins generating.

About £50bn worth of contracts will available to South West companies across 15 projects over the next 20 years in new build, decommissioning and defence.

It could also support the creation of 25,000 jobs, 1,000 apprenticeships and could inject £100m a year into the region's economy.

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<![CDATA[Taunton Farmers' Market Gets Gold]]> Taunton Farmers' Market Gets Gold

Smiles all round for Taunton Farmers' Market as they picked up Gold in the Taste of the West Awards.   The day welcomed John Sheaves CEO of Taste of the West, Vivienne Stock-Williams Mayor of Taunton Deane and Andrew Hopkins Marketing and Visitor Centre Manager and regular traders that make up Taunton Farmers' Market. 

TAUNTON Farmers' Market received its Taste of the West gold award for the third year running!  The Taste of the West awards programme has been promoting and supporting the South West food and drink industry for over two decades.

A spokesman for the farmers' market, which sets up in Taunton High Street every Thursday, said: "To win this prize three times in a row tells you something about how much Taunton producers and residents value good food and drink.

"It reflects the good taste of Taunton consumers, without whom we would not have a market.

"Without regular customer support, no business can keep going, and without the demand for high quality ingredients and products, there would be no gold standard."

John Sheaves, CEO, Taste of the West said... “the way in which our rural areas in the west country are marketed to the visitor is key to the success of the contributing businesses.  The Taunton Farmers Market successfully brings together small food and drink businesses from the Somerset area and demonstrates what rural businesses can do to market their produce to the discerning visitor.  Together, they provide an eclectic mix of top quality food and drink to entice the visitor to the town centre.  The market itself is very well organised with really inspiring leadership, a quality often missed in other markets and often the driving force for success.  Well done Taunton on their Gold award”.

You can find more about Taunton Farmers' Market by visiting thier website: www.tauntonfarmersmarket.co.uk

Keep up to date, follow them on Twitter and Facebook too.

 

 

 

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<![CDATA[£18 million improvements to Junction 25 of the Motorway]]> £18 million improvements to Junction 25 of the M5 Motorway 

Ambitious plans to upgrade Junction 25 of the M5 will be going on display to the public next month.

Junction 25 is the main access point to Taunton and also provides a critical link to the second strategic route into the South West – the A303 via the A358.

Somerset County Council has been working with partners to develop a scheme to increase the capacity of this vital link to improve traffic flow, ease peak hour congestion and unlock land for employment.

The proposed scheme involves full signalisation and enlarging of the roundabout, improved signs on approach to the junction, widening of the eastern exit, a new roundabout to access the proposed Strategic Employment Site, and improved pedestrian and cycling facilities.

It is expected to cost around £18m with allocated funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal Fund, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, and developer contributions.

In a key step last month, the LEP’s Local Transport Board agreed to approve the entry business case, meaning the scheme can progress to the more detailed design and consultation stage.

Two public events will now be held next month for people to view the plans, ask questions and give feedback.

The drop-in sessions take place from 14:00 to 19:00 at Ruishton Village Hall on Monday 19 September and at Taunton Library on Wednesday 21 September.

Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said:

“Junction 25 is such an important location for the whole of Somerset and beyond. Not only is it the gateway to our county town, but it also links the two main strategic routes into the South West and is critical to our economy.

It’s one of our top priorities for improvement and we’ve been working extremely hard to secure the funding we need.

This latest decision is a significant milestone and means we can now draw up the plans in more detail and start the consultation process. I know people will be keen to find out more so please come along to one of our events and we’ll be happy to discuss the proposals with you.”

Junction 25 currently experiences congestion in both peak hours, with queues frequently extending along the A358 in both directions and occasionally backed up onto the M5.

The upgrade aims to improve journey times, reduce congestion, improve Park & Ride journey time reliability and create a more attractive access to Taunton, Yeovil and the A303 from the M5.

The scheme will also unlock access into a proposed new strategic employment site and support other planned growth across Taunton which includes 13,000 new homes and 6,000 jobs.

Cllr John Williams, Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said the scheme is vitally important for Taunton and key to unlocking a major employment site at J25.

“We are working closely with our partners and it is tremendous news to hear such good progress is being made,” he said.

The employment site could create up to 4,000 new jobs, cementing Taunton’s place as a prime location in the region.

The investment in our area demonstrates the confidence in Taunton Deane as a place that really does mean business.

We have always been ambitious and now those ambitions are being realised as a result of drive, commitment and sheer hard work with all our partners. We are committed to working with developers to have the first phase occupiers on the new site by the end of 2018.”

The J25 employment site proposals have won the support of local and regional business leaders and would cover an area the size of 25 rugby pitches. It would fulfil a market need for businesses needing space close to the motorway and within easy reach of the town centre, excellent local schools and first class leisure facilities.

These designs will be developed alongside Highways England’s plans to upgrade the A358.

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley, said:

“We’re pleased that plans for Junction 25 improvements are being showcased, demonstrating how this scheme will help to open up road links to the peninsula and unlock development land in Taunton.

Greater connectivity is part of the LEP’s top strategic priorities; that we believe, given the right investment, will be the catalyst we need for transformational growth in this area.

Therefore we are very keen to see our Growth Deal funding invested in this important scheme, as part of a package of road improvements in the HotSW area.”

Following public consultation, the next step will be for the County Council to draw up detailed plans and begin the procurement process.

If approved, construction is likely to take up to two years, with work not expected to start before 2018/19.

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<![CDATA[Missing link to be installed]]> Missing link to be installed 

Work is due to start soon on the “missing link” at Longrun Meadow country park in Taunton – the footbridge over the River Tone.  This is the vital link to complete a riverside path without steps forming a disabled-friendly access for the miles from Firepool Lock to the Silk Mills Park and Ride. 

The Taunton Deane Borough Council project has been in the pipeline for a while but was delayed due to land ownership issues, erosion of the river bank and the need to secure a fresh planning consent when the location of the bridge had to be changed.

Now the problems are being overcome after working with the landowner and colleagues from Somerset County Council – planning permission was granted last month – and the start date is being finalised.

Importantly, the bridge will link Silk Mills and Longrun Meadow and is the third in a set of three providing links into the country park to provide easy accessibility for the many people who enjoy the open space.

Work is due to start in early September following the decision to appoint a construction team to undertake the work subject to contracts following detailed agreement on access arrangements. The decision is subject to the five-day call-in period and during this time it is anticipated all necessary permissions for construction to proceed will be in place.

The bridge will is made from traditional materials to match the existing and to fit in with the country park setting and it should be completed by the autumn this year. Work can only start after the end of August under planning conditions set to minimise disturbance to wildlife.

Cllr Mark Edwards, Deputy Leader of the council, said: “I am delighted that this long awaited bridge will be in place before too long. There were delays – largely due to circumstances beyond our control – and that is always frustrating.

“But we have successfully negotiated all the major hurdles and I hope that, once in place, the bridge will be well used by people who enjoy spending time in Longrun Meadow. It’s a tremendous asset for Taunton – a country park close to the heart of the town.

“The park also plays an important role in protecting Taunton from flooding as it acts as a large storage area for excess water and has more than proved its worth in recent years.”

 

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<![CDATA[UKHO submitted plans for new Taunton HQ]]> UKHO submitted plans for new Taunton HQ

(UKHO) as well as a residential development on the site.

The organisation, which provides global hydrographic and geospatial data to defence, mariners and maritime agencies across the world, revealed plans to replace its existing premises last year.

An application for its new offices on the site has now been submitted to Taunton Deane Borough Council. If this is approved UKHO is expected to move in 2019.

Land at the front of the current Admiralty Way site will also be sold for redevelopment and outline planning permission is also being sought for a residential scheme.

The costs associated with the new office will be met by the UKHO from business receipts as a self-funding agency.

The move is expected to provide financial benefits as well as an up-to-date technology infrastructure and working conditions to enable UKHO to sustain its long-term future.

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<![CDATA[Moonraker - Are you up for a Challenge? ]]> Moonraker - Are you up for a Challenge?

The famous Moonraker Challenge is being held on Saturday 8th October 2016 and it is your chance to help raise money for TOG and Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance. Also, test your skills and endurance!

The Rotary Club of Taunton Vale hosts this annual event which starts at Hestercombe Gardens. Teams of 4 to 6 are needed to sign up for a 7 or 14 mile challenge. Please see www.moonraker.org.uk.

Compete against schools, sports clubs, gyms, businesses, cadets and many more organisations in order to achieve the winning time! There are prizes for the best time and best sponsorship.

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