Who should decide now (Developer or Residents)?
We invite you to have your say:
Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) has been working with its appointed partner St Modwen Developments Ltd for over 8 years to bring forward the planned development of Firepool site next to Taunton rail station.
The St Modwen scheme for the derelict Firepool site including a supermarket with 450 car parking spaces, homes, cinema, bars and restaurant was rejected by Taunton Deane planning committee on 31 August after a recommendation of refusal by senior planning officers.
The planners were concerned both about the potential negative impact of the retail-led scheme on the town centre, and the poor quality of the design. They went on to say,
“What we have got before us are large units, surface parking and no services.”
“It has the appearance of a retail park - single access and very inward looking.”
The officer added,
“I am convinced. … That this is not the only option. I think we can do much better than this and Taunton deserves much better than this.”
It is time to come up with an alternative scheme for this important site, a plan that enhances Taunton town centre, creates local opportunities, and truly reflects the ambition and aspiration that Taunton has for its future.
The refusal of the St Modwen scheme has provided Taunton Deane residents with a unique opportunity to decide what they wish to see on this extremely important site.
To make Taunton a true destination and County town, this site should be the gateway to the centre and have innovative, well-designed features to create a reason for people to break their rail and road journeys and visit the town.
A development that embraces innovation and growth industries such as research and development, renewable energy, health care, digital businesses and education. An outward looking development plan that encourages young people to come back because there will be business opportunities and quality job prospects. In this competitive world we need to be ahead of the game if we are to compete with other town and cities.
The scheme also needs to recognise the flooding concerns of the residents in North town and offer proper mitigation plans, in tune with environment as well as good use of land such as multi-storey parking.
We recognise that the plan must be deliverable and financially viable. It should keep what was good about the rejected scheme such as entertainment, and a reduced amount of retail and housing, while providing more offices and business space; it should have less emphasis on surface level car parking, better pedestrian links to the town centre, and more imaginative use of public open space.
We owe it to the next generation to get this right!
This is your chance to have your ideas put directly to the Council. We would like you to come up with your own top five ideas to complement the town centre, please take a few minutes and fill the online survey at the bottom of this letter so we can submit your ideas to Taunton Planning and Economic Development Unit for their considerations. The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2016