A £1.2million scheme of improvements to car parks and signage in Taunton is ready to go live.
The Council will implement the new pay on exit system at the Orchard, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield car parks on 4 February.
This will link into Variable Message Signing (VMS) in place at key locations in Priorswood Road, Cross Keys, Toneway, East Reach, Silk Mills and Wellington Road.
The Traffic Regulation Order which brings the changes into effect is being published this week following a period of testing and training to ensure the complex system of barriers, payment methods and links is working.
The Council will staff the car parks initially to help introduce the public to the new system and answer queries.
Cllr Richard Parrish, Executive member for Planning Policy and Transportation, said: “As the first Garden Town in the South West we are committed to delivering major regeneration in the town centre, new sustainable communities, improved transport and supporting infrastructure. These significant changes to the parking system are central to this strategy and represent our commitment to Taunton Deane’s ecology and economy. They will make a real difference to drivers, helping them to find car parking space while giving them the freedom to stay for as long as they need. The new system will also improve traffic flow, reduce air pollution and benefit local businesses.”
A new charging regime to help with clearer pricing and designation of TDBC car parks will also come into effect with the pay on exit scheme. There are small increases for some car parks. Others will remain static in their charging for short stays, while for longer stays in the majority of car parks, it will be cheaper for most people.
Spaces for Blue Badge holders will remain but the system does not allow for the one hour of additional parking in the car parks covered by pay on exit. The free hour will still be available in other car parks including the Crescent, Whirligig, Belevdere Road, Coal Orchard, Duke Street, Elms Parade and Fons George.
At the Orchard multi-storey car park in Paul Street, Shopmobility users will be able to use a discount card.
Additionally, Blue Badge holders will be able to use on-street parking as they do now.
The Council is moving ahead with plans to make Taunton town centre more user friendly, improving the area for pedestrians and cyclists in line with its status as the first Garden Town in the South West.
Phase one covering the permanent closure of St James Street between North Street and Lower Middle Street will begin in the New Year.
It will be followed by phase two which will see an 18-month trial closure of Hammet Street and East Street to all vehicles except buses and cyclists.
Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council are currently working on the finer details of the proposed phase two changes with the appointed transport and urban design specialists WSP
A further dedicated consultation will be held for East Street, where the local community can put thoughts forward about the proposed designs. If the trial is successful, the permanent changes to both East Street and Hammet Street will follow as quickly as possible.
The public space project will generate opportunities for businesses, event organisers and artists to explore creative uses of the town’s most attractive areas. It forms part of a much wider plan to enhance Taunton’s appeal along with the regeneration of Coal Orchard and Firepool.
Cllr Richard Parrish, Executive member for Planning Policy and Transportation, said: “Taunton becoming a Garden Town gave us a real opportunity to review our town centre and look at how we can create a better environment for residents, shoppers and visitors, which will help attract investment and allow businesses to thrive.
We’ve seen this work well in other areas, and we’re keen that traffic is redirected to more appropriate routes. We want to free up space for new and improved public areas that are attractive and inviting for everyone with fewer vehicles, less pollution and reduced noise.”
Cllr David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “We’re pleased to be working alongside Taunton Deane Borough Council to support their aspirations to improve the town in keeping with its status as the first Garden Town in the South West. This scheme is all about enhancing the visitor experience in Taunton and making it more appealing for pedestrians and cyclists.”
The Traffic Regulation Order and commencement of the statutory consultation period relating to the closure of St James Street will be published on 22 November.
Further information on the TRO process and an opportunity to make representations can be found at:
To accompany this stage of works, a webpage dedicated to the Public Space Improvement Project is now live. This can be found at
This website contains background information on the project, and an FAQ section relating to the proposed works, and the wider context of town centre improvements that TDBC are committed to in the near future.
Business owners and would-be business start-ups are invited to an event in Bridgwater this month that could make all the difference to their success.
The event from 2pm to 7pm on Monday November 19th at J24 – The Venue includes a talk from business growth specialist John McCarthy at 6pm as well as ‘on-tap’ professional advice and guidance from a team of experts.
Organised by councils from Taunton Deane, West Somerset and Sedgemoor, the event aims to give a vital kick-start to the hundreds of small firms, one-person bands and entrepreneurs with great ideas that are based in the districts.
Doors at J24 – The Venue open at 2pm on the day and visitors will be greeted by representatives from the councils who will be supported by colleagues from planning and revenues.
Organisations with stands at the event include Heart of the South West Growth Hub, Somerset Business Agency, Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and Somerset Energy Innovation Centre.
One of the organisers, Gordon Dwyer, senior economic development officer with Taunton and West Somerset said: “There is some first class business support available in the area but for people starting out on their business journey it can be a confusing picture.
“We have listened to our businesses and we thought an event like this one would help them understand what is available and which services are most suitable for their needs. It will also be a valuable opportunity to meet others in the same situation as themselves.”
“We know it is often difficult for businesses with only a handful of staff or sole traders to get away from their work which is why we have planned this event as a ‘drop in’ and timed it from after lunch into the evening”.
The event is free to attend and there is no need to book a place.
For more details, contact Hattie Winter on email@example.com