Taunton News Articles http://www.taunton.uk.com/news/ Copyright 21st Sep 2017 - 22:21 by Taunton <![CDATA[Calling All Budding Business People]]> The team behind the highly successful ‘Get Business, Get Digital’ project is holding a Business Start-Up Day packed with expert advice and tips for people planning or starting to run their own businesses.

The event, being held at The Glass Box, Taunton Library on Wednesday September 13 from 10am, will take the form of a morning workshop run by enterprise agency Business Information Point aimed at providing all the basics needed to take those first steps in trading.

Lunch is provided and the afternoon will include a talk from someone who has started a business from scratch and succeeded internationally; advice on cyber security and tips on the use of social media. 

As well as offering valuable insights and links to further help, the event will give people a rare opportunity to meet others in the same situation as themselves. 

There will also be a range of companies, organisations and individuals on hand to give free advice on anything from how to apply for grants, who to ask for licences and where to go specialist help.

Organisers of the event are West Somerset, Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor District Councils working with Cosmic and BIP who run Get Business, Get Digital sessions for people living and working in those districts.

Cllr Anne Fraser, portfolio for economic growth at Sedgemoor, said: “We have been really pleased with the impact the project has had so far and felt the time was right for a whole day, one-stop event for people facing the potentially scary prospect of going it alone in business or launching a new idea.”

“We have a higher than average number of smaller business in this part of the world and the third highest self-employment rate in the UK,” said Cllr Andrew Hadley, portfolio holder for Economic Regeneration at West Somerset Council. “Events like these help ensure new start-ups get the best possible start. Meeting like-minded people and knowing that you’re not alone in facing the challenges presented at the initial stages can be a great boost too when starting out in business.”

Kate Dodson, Cosmic Director, said: “We have met so many good businesses in these districts that we have been privileged to give a guiding hand and hope to meet even more through this free event.”

Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive Councillor for Business Development at Taunton Deane Borough Council said “We’re really pleased that Taunton is hosting this day for budding entrepreneurs. I’d encourage anyone whether already started in business or at the stage of the initial idea to come along. There will be plenty of useful hints and tips to help give fledgling businesses the best start.” 

To reserve your place at the event visit www.getbusinessgetdigital.co.uk/events/ scroll down to the event details and click to book.

<![CDATA[Consultation to start on Nexus 25 proposals]]> Residents, businesses and other interested parties are being invited to have their say on the draft Local Development Order (LDO) proposed by Taunton Deane Borough Council which will grant planning permission for the Nexus 25 strategic employment development at Junction 25 of the M5.

The statutory consultation follows the exhibition and informal consultation that took place earlier this year.

Nexus 25 is part of a range of plans, outlined in the Taunton Growth Prospectus, to create substantial numbers of new and skilled jobs and to support Taunton’s economic development up to 2028.  The provision of a new strategic employment site to serve the area is part of the adopted Taunton Deane Core Strategy’s proposals.

The LDO sets out the type of development to be permitted through the Order and the requirements which developers must meet in order to satisfy its conditions.  It will be accompanied by a Statement of Reasons which also forms part of the consultation and a full Environmental Statement.

Nexus 25 will be created as a ‘green campus.’ Space for research and development and high quality offices, alongside light industrial units and warehouses will provide a range of flexible premises suitable for a wide range of business.

Walkways and landscaping, including tree planting, will create an environment in line with Taunton’s new Garden Town status.

Cllr Mark Edwards, Deputy Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council and Executive member for Business Development said: “The Nexus 25 development represents a very significant opportunity to bring new business and investment to Taunton in an environment that supports innovation and growth.

“The site’s excellent location will mean it can attract the uses and high quality jobs which are essential to the future economic health of Taunton, the wider Borough and its contribution to the South West’s economy.”

The Draft LDO and its accompanying documents have been prepared by Peter Brett Associates and LHC on behalf of Taunton Deane Borough Council.  The documents set out the planning and design principles and other site-specific requirements which it is intended will guide the development of the site. 

LDOs were introduced by the Government to enable local planning authorities to speed up the implementation of planned development, while ensuring that all the usual environmental safeguards are 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 before they can proceed.

The plan has been carefully designed to harness green infrastructure and sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDs) to manage surface water run-off through the use of features such as landscaped ponds.

The 25 hectare site is about 2.5 miles from Taunton’s town centre, lying to the south east of Junction 25. The planning application for the work to improve Junction 25 is currently being considered by Somerset County Council and the proposed scheme will provide the access to the site. There will be Park and Ride services as well as pedestrian and cycle links to the town centre to encourage more people to use different forms of transport.

The statutory consultation runs from Thursday 20 July 2017 to Wednesday 30 August 2017.  Copies of the draft Local Development Order and the statement of the Council’s reasons for making the order, together with the supporting Environmental Statement, are available for inspection at Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Offices:   Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1HE, during normal office hours (8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on Friday) and are also published on the Council’s website at http://consultldf.tauntondeane.gov.uk/portal/j25/ldo

Anyone who wishes to make representations about this proposed Local Development Order should write to the Council at:  Planning Policy, Growth and Development, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1HE; or respond by e-mail to: talkingtomorrows@tauntondeane.gov.uk Representations must be received by 5 pm on Wednesday 30 August 2017. 

The proposals for Nexus 25 are being developed by a team drawn from the public and private sectors. Key partners include Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Highways England, the Environment Agency, Summerfield Developments and Henry Boot Developments.

Following this statutory consultation, the Council will take account of all responses received before considering a report on the adoption of the Local Development Order which is expected to take place in October 2017.

<![CDATA[Garden Town: your questions answered]]> AS one of the nation’s new Garden Towns, Taunton is blazing a trail in the South West – and now local people are being given the chance find out more and shape the place where they live.

A dedicated Garden Town exhibition is taking place in Taunton town centre between July 10 and 15 to provide residents with more information about what a Garden Town is and offering them the chance to ask questions and comment.

Taunton is the only Garden Town in the South West, after being awarded the distinction in the New Year by the Government.

It means that future development will benefit from being closely linked to the environment through green corridors giving direct access to the countryside, improved transport, cycle and pedestrian links, more green spaces and links to the riverside.

“While many other towns in the South West are growing rapidly to meet the needs of a growing population, Taunton has the fantastic advantage of being a Garden Town,” said Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive Councillor for planning and transport.

“It gives us a once in a lifetime chance to make sure our growth is properly planned and managed to make it sustainable with the environment at the heart of what we do.”

Regenerating Taunton town centre is a key part of the success of being a Garden Town. Plans for Coal Orchard, putting the river back as its focus, have recently been approved, proposals for Firepool are progressing while ambitions to create a thriving regional arts centre at The Brewhouse Theatre have just been unveiled.

A major upgrade of Taunton railway Station is due within the next two years, improvements to the A358 and Junction 25 of the M5 are proposed to improve traffic flow. A trial public space improvement project in Taunton town centre is also likely to get under way in the New Year.

A new University Centre is being established at the Somerset College campus in Taunton and a new school is open at Monkton Heathfield.

“Garden Town status helps link all the threads together to create a confident, ambitious and economically successful regional centre here in Taunton,” said Cllr Habgood.

“I hope people will take the time to visit the exhibition and learn more. We are at the start of our journey as a Garden Town and community involvement is an important part of our approach.  This exhibition is an opportunity for people to find out more, ask questions and give comments. We really want feedback that will help us make a place where people want to live, work and simply enjoy.”

Exhibition times and venues:
Monday 10 July:  12 – 4pm Market House (Taunton Visitor Centre)
Tuesday July 11:  11am – 3pm Market House (Taunton Visitor Centre)
Wednesday July 12: 11am – 3pm Market House (Taunton Visitor Centre)
Thursday July 13: 11am– 3pm Market House (Taunton Visitor Centre)
Friday July 14: 11am – 3pm Orchard Centre, Taunton
Saturday July 15: 10am – 2pm Orchard Centre, Taunton

<![CDATA[Green light for Coal Orchard plans]]> PLANS to regenerate one of Taunton’s prime riverside quarters have been given outline approval by Taunton Deane Borough Council’s planning committee.

Members agreed to implement the outline proposals developed with the Council’s consultation partner, the Mace Group, at a meeting in Deane House last night.

The development respects the special character of Coal Orchard with its wealth of niche, independent shops, and will bring new vitality to the area putting the River Tone at the heart of Taunton.

The outline proposals include a mixed development of housing, workspace, restaurants and retail. Better access to the river is also planned along with careful consideration of flood defences. 

St James Street Pool will be demolished but key features will be retained in the development – for example the historic foundation stone.

The area around the Brewhouse will also be protected for potential expansion of the theatre as unveiled last week. If the ambitious proposals receive backing the revitalised theatre would feature an enlarged auditorium and a range of spaces such as studios, cinema and gallery, while making the most of the river frontage and creating the potential for pop-up performances, markets and events.

Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive Councillor for Business Development said: “I am delighted that these plans for the Coal Orchard have been approved bringing us a step closer to the creation of a fantastic riverside space for Taunton. They are the result of careful consideration of a number of unique aspects, and points taken into account through a comprehensive consultation process.”

Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transportation, said: “These approved outline plans for Coal Orchard clearly reflect our Garden Town status striking a balance between retaining our character and wonderful environment, and our growth aspirations that will make Taunton more prosperous in the future.”

Further discussions will take place with interested parties as part of the work in drawing up detailed plans that will come back to planning committee as reserved matters in due course. 
The proposals for Coal Orchard are a vital link in the chain of a wider ‘Rethink’ of Taunton Town Centre which includes the regeneration of Firepool with a unifying theme that puts the River at the heart of the Town. Find out more on the Taunton Rethink page.

<![CDATA[Brewhouse ambitions unveiled]]> A dramatic change in the fortunes of The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton has seen the reincarnation of the venue under new management with the venue likened to a Phoenix rising from the ashes.  

Artist Impression BrewhouseNow, three years after reopening, new images showing how the theatre could be transformed from an outdated venue to the talk of the town are being unveiled.

Taunton Deane Borough Council, owner of the Taunton venue, has been working with Taunton Theatre Association (TTA) and partners on plans to expand and revitalise the 70s building.  New plans will create a 21st century regional arts centre to enlighten, engage and entertain people, for generations to come.  
The cost is expected to be around £20 million and the ambitious project could be delivered in three to four years subject to a funding package being secured from a variety of sources. 

The plan was inspired by work with Arts Taunton in 2016 which illustrated what could be achieved to make the most of the space in the future. The venue would dovetail with the wider regeneration of the Coal Orchard area and add to Taunton’s arts and culture scene.
Cllr Mark Edwards, whose portfolio includes the arts, culture and business, said: “Our Council has a strong track record of supporting arts and culture, illustrated by its continuing support for the Brewhouse even through the dark days of 2013, when the venue was forced to close.   We also support a wide range of cultural activities and events locally, such as the annual Somerfest taking place on 17 June.

“It is great to see the venue forging ahead since those troubled times, under the new and excellent management of TTA.  These plans reflect the shared ambition of the Council and TTA to take the Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre to a new level, as a regional venue in the South West.”

Artist Impression Brewhouse Coal OrchardCllr Roger Habgood, Executive Councillor for planning and transport, added: “We are really excited about these plans because they are not ‘pipe dreams’.  They have been drawn up carefully with an eye to what will be commercially viable and deliverable in Taunton.

“The plans form part of a comprehensive regeneration of the whole Coal Orchard area -  all about creating a vibrant and thriving new place on the River Tone that will be buzzing with activity at all times of the day and into the evening.  Experts and architects have confirmed that there is ample space for the Brewhouse expansion as part of a wider comprehensive development, as envisaged in the Taunton Rethink.”

Working with specialist architects and theatre experts, the council can now reveal how The Brewhouse could transform to be the jewel on the River Tone.  The improved venue will permit an enriched programme of live performances and activities for all, with improved acoustic for musical concerts, better facilities for national touring productions and exhibitions and 200 extra seats available for audiences for popular shows, including comedians.

The revitalised theatre would wrap around the existing, enlarged auditorium working in harmony to preserve the adjoining listed 18th century building.  This would provide a range of new and modern spaces such as studios, cinema and gallery while making the most of the river frontage and creating the potential for pop-up performances, markets and events.

Vanessa Lefrancois, Chief Executive of The Brewhouse Theatre, said: “Leading the revival of The Brewhouse has been an exhilarating experience.  Everyone should be able to access great art, it should not be due to an incidental postcode or happy coincidence.  This is why The Brewhouse’s success is so important, we don’t simply want to survive, we want to thrive and in order to do that we need to be ambitious, brave and bold.  

“The plans unveiled today will enable us to be all those things for the benefit of those who live, work or visit the region now and in the future.  We are delighted to be working with Borough Council to turn our vision into a reality and become a vibrant regional hub growing and presenting world-class talent.”Coal Orchard Artist Impression

Val Hammond, who chairs Taunton Theatre Association (TTA), said: ““We’re proud that nearly four years of innovative work with the support of the people of Taunton have enabled TTA to bring the Brewhouse back to life.  We’re delighted now to work with the Council to create this visionary and versatile venue that will enable us to do so much more to bring high quality entertainment and culture of all kinds to the people of Taunton and the Region more generally.”

The images and the evolution of the detailed plan illustrate the council’s commitment to The Brewhouse, the arts and their important role in Taunton’s evolving cultural story. 

A lot of backstage work has taken place that helps set the scene for the next act to take the project forward.  This will include working with partners to create a funding package as well as creating the final design and securing the right permissions to deliver the new centre.

“Securing the funds needed to deliver these ambitious plans for the Brewhouse expansion will not be easy, but having a viable and deliverable plan is a vital first step.  The Borough Council is now committed to working closely with TTA, Arts Taunton and others to secure the necessary funds to bring our ambitions to reality,” said Cllr John Williams, Leader of the Council.

<![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.

<![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.

<![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

<![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.

<![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

<![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.

<![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.”

<![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.

<![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.”

<![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.