New Parking System in Place

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.

Public Space Consultation

Plans to make St James Street more pedestrian friendly in the New Year have been paused to allow time for further consultation

The Council had planned to implement the closure to traffic between North Street and Lower Middle Street in January following publication of the Traffic Regulation Order and statutory consultation

Although the TRO consultation generated 31 letters of support and only 19 against, local traders also organised a petition against the proposals which received just over 300

The Council has listened to their concerns and will contact all interested stakeholders with a view to setting up a working group to move the proposal forward early in the New

Cllr Richard Parrish, Executive member for Planning Policy and Transportation, said:

“The Council is committed to making 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. We aim to create a better environment for residents, shoppers and visitors, which will help attract investment and also allow businesses to thrive. With this in mind, despite having received a great deal of support for the plan, we feel it is important to listen to the concerns of those that have signed the petition. We all share a common desire to act in the best interests of Taunton so need to work together on

The public space improvement project was set to be completed in two phases with the closure of a section of St James Street followed by an 18-month trial closure of Hammet Street and East Street to all vehicles except buses and cyclists. The Council will need to re-consult on revised schemes for Hammett St and East St so decided it makes sense to reconsider St James St in this further

Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council will continue working on the details of the proposed changes with the appointed transport and urban design specialists WSP.

Keys To Business Success On Offer

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 h.winter@tauntondeane.gov.uk

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