Consultation to start on Nexus 25 proposals 20 July 2017

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.

Councillor 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 Consultation

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 5.00 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.

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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.

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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.  Now, 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.”

Cllr 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.

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.

Contact:

Taunton Deane Borough Council: Cllr Mark Edwards Executive Councillor for Business Development, Asset Management and Communications 07860 172749

Debbie Rundle, Public & Media Relations Officer 01823 356407 or 07714 759899

Taunton Theatre Association

 

 

 

 

 

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Open 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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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

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