Coal Orchard application

TAUNTON Deane Borough Council has received a detailed planning application for development on land at Coal Orchard in Taunton.

The application is for a mix of uses including restaurants on the waterfront, retail units, gym, apartments all complemented by public space allowing access to the river.

The site already has outline consent so this application will complete the planning process providing more detail to the earlier, outline application. If granted this will allow works to get under way in early 2019.

This application forms the first phase in the development of the Coal Orchard site. This will be complemented by a refurbishment of the Brewhouse which together will create a new place on the river with culture at its heart.

The applicant is the council`s own business development team working in partnership with Mace. They have submitted a range of supporting documents.

The application – reference number 38/18/0185 – is available for inspection at Taunton Deane Borough Council’s offices in Belvedere Road, Taunton, and online at www.tauntondeane.gov.uk

The public has until Friday June 22 to comment on the application – this can be done by letter, by email or online at www.tauntondeane.gov.uk

PROGRESS FOR FIREPOOL AS PLANNING CONSENT IS GRANTED

Taunton’s Town Centre regeneration took a major step forward yesterday, when the revised outline plans for the £105m scheme to transform the Firepool site were approved by Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Planning Committee (14 March 2018).

Firepool is an integral part of the wider economic regeneration plans for Taunton with the potential to create in excess of 1,700 jobs as well as providing office, hotel and residential accommodation and supporting waterfront leisure and retail outlets. The recent planning consent follows many months of detailed consultations between lead developer, St. Modwen, and relevant statutory consultees.

Commenting on this landmark decision, Pete Davies, Commercial Director for St. Modwen, said:
“As a regional and national developer with a strong track record in creating sustainable new communities, we are continually striving to transform places to create better futures. This positive outline planning decision will now enable us to work alongside Taunton Deane Borough Council to provide one of the largest mixed-use schemes in the South West and a lasting legacy for the town.”

Cllr Mark Edwards, Deputy Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council and responsible for business development, said:
“We have a proud history – but we are looking to a prouder future. This scheme to transform Firepool will make the most of our superb riverside environment and create a regional destination for retail, business, leisure and culture for generations to come. It will include high quality pedestrian and cycle links between the railway station and Coal Orchard, and from there into the town centre. This reinforces much improved access to these areas which are themselves coming forward for regeneration as part of our wider Taunton Garden Town Strategy.”

Cllr John Williams, Leader of the Council, added:
“I know how much people want to see this largely derelict site developed. It is key to our overall Garden Town strategy that puts the River Tone back at the heart of the town and, most importantly, will provide new jobs and facilities for our residents. It will also cement our place as a regional centre with excellent links to London and beyond. Taunton is one of the fastest growing towns in the region, the only Garden Town in the South West and has the advantage of excellent road and rail connections, top quality schools and further education, first class medical facilities, great urban open spaces and superb countryside and coast on its doorstep. We need to be competitive and provide high quality facilities to attract continued inward investment and satisfy the needs of its growing population and the mix of uses proposed achieves just that.”

Green light for £18m upgrade of M5 Junction 25

Multi-million pound plans to upgrade Junction 25 of the M5 have moved a step closer following today’s decision to grant planning permission.
Junction 25 is the main access point to Taunton and also provides a critical link to the second strategic route into the South West – via the A358 and A303.
Somerset County Council has been working with partners to develop a scheme to increase the capacity of this vital link to improve traffic flow, ease peak hour congestion and unlock land for employment.
Members of the Council’s Regulation Committee met today to consider the application and voted by a majority to approve the plans.
Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Today’s decision is a significant milestone and great news for the thousands of motorists who use Junction 25 every day.
“It is also great news for Somerset’s business community, with these plans being integral to unlocking nearby land for development.
“The hard work now continues and we’ll be hoping to see diggers in the ground by this time next year.”
The scheme involves full signalisation and enlarging of the roundabout, widening of the eastern exit, a new roundabout to access the proposed Nexus 25 employment site, and improved pedestrian and cycling facilities.
It is expected to cost around £18m with allocated funding of £12.9m from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal Fund, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Highways England, and developer contributions.
Junction 25 currently experiences congestion in both peak hours, with queues frequently extending along the A358 in both directions and occasionally backed up onto the M5.
The upgrade aims to improve journey times, reduce congestion, improve Park & Ride journey time reliability and create a more attractive access to Taunton, Yeovil and the A303 from the M5. The scheme will also unlock access into the proposed Nexus 25 employment site and support other planned growth across Taunton.
Councillor John Williams, Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “The enhancement of Junction 25 and development of the Nexus 25 Strategic Employment Site represents a significant opportunity to bring new business and investment to Somerset and Taunton in a unique environment that supports innovation, collaboration and productivity.”
“We are committed to provide the high quality, long-term jobs that our economy needs. Taunton is growing and it is essential we deliver a balanced economy of housing, jobs and leisure together with improved infrastructure to match.
“It is great that J25 upgrade has received consent as it is not only vital to cope with growth across the town but is the “trigger” required to validate the Local Development Order (LDO) approval for Nexus 25.”
Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley CBE DL said: “I am very pleased to see this important junction improvement get underway which will help us improve connectivity to the Heart of the South West, a factor, that’s crucial to the area’s productivity and growth.
“The A303 is a strategic route into the HotSW area and has been historically under-invested in; a situation which is being partially addressed by increased dualling in sections, so by increasing the capacity of the junction with the M5 will help to improve the efficiency of the route from the south and south east into the south west. It also gives better access to new employments sites as well as better cycling and pedestrian facilities that are all part of the LEP’s vision for investing in infrastructure to generate growth.”
Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry, said: “Growth Deal funding is paving the way for major transport and infrastructure improvements across the country. With these multi-million pound improvements to Junction 25 of the M5, motorists will soon be reaping the benefits of reduced congestion and improved access to a key route on the UK’s road network.”
These designs have been developed alongside Highways England and take into account HE’s ongoing proposals to upgrade the A358. The improvements will provide benefits if the road system stays the same or if it changes in future. You can see Somerset County Council’s response to the current A358 consultation at http://www.somerset.gov.uk/policies-and-plans/schemes-and-initiatives/a30-a303-a358-improvement-project/.
The next step will be for the County Council to go out to tender over the summer. Construction is likely to take up to two years with work expected to start during winter 2018/19.

Press Release Source: Somerset County Council March 2018

Boost for Nexus 25 employment site

TAUNTON’s planned strategic employment site – Nexus 25 – has gained a major boost within days of the Borough Council’s decision resolving to approve the Local Development Order (LDO).

The site, offering direct access to the M5, is crucial to Taunton Deane Borough Council’s ambitious growth and development plans that go hand-in-hand with its status as the South West’s only Garden Town.

Summerfield Developments – which owns the 61-acre site – has announced that Henry Boot developments has been selected to bring forward the employment site which has the potential to create 3,000 jobs locally.

“This is the best start we could wish for in 2018,” said Cllr Mark Edwards, deputy leader of the council and lead member for business development. “It is good to hear that Henry Boot Developments describes Nexus 25 as ‘pivotal’ and a catalyst for the town, securing its place as one of the region’s major growth centres.

“It is a hugely exciting scheme and underlines our commitment to Taunton Deane as the place to do business with provision of high quality jobs. Taunton is growing and as the best connected town in the South West for business, it is essential we deliver a balanced economy of housing, jobs and leisure together with improved infrastructure to match.”

Nexus 25 will provide a range of flexible premises providing space for research and development, health, education, and digital technology alongside high quality offices, light industrial units and warehouses. Designed as a ‘Green Campus,’ the site will include walkways and landscaping to create an environment in line with Taunton’s Garden Town status.

The LDO was prepared by Peter Brett Associates (PBA) and LHC Design on behalf of the council. The documents set out the planning and design principles and other site-specific requirements which will guide the development of the Nexus 25 site.

The plans for Nexus 25 were unveiled in March this year and this was followed by an informal consultation and a subsequent statutory consultation where residents and other stakeholders were invited to comment on the LDO. The Council took account of all responses received and, after meeting to discuss the plans for Nexus 25, voted to approve plans to adopt the LDO.

The LDO will be implemented once improvements at J25 are confirmed. Money has been provided for this work and the scheme is currently awaiting planning approval from Somerset County Council.
LDOs were introduced by the Government to enable local planning authorities to speed up the implementation of planned developments, while ensuring that all the usual environmental safeguards are applied.

Mary Crew, PBA Associate, said: “The resolution to approve the LDO is a positive step for Taunton and for the planning process as a whole. LDOs are a significant move towards simplifying the planning process, creating a more certain planning environment which is attractive to investors. LDOs, as seen here with the development of the Nexus 25 site, can secure positive growth for an area while retaining all the environmental protections provided by traditional planning permissions.”

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

‘Lost Lines’ report ignites hope for Wellington

GOVERNMENT proposals that could see the reopening of rail routes lost half a century ago are being welcomed by Taunton Deane Borough Council.

The authority has been working with partners, including local MP Rebecca Pow, towards the reopening of Wellington station that shut in 1964 under the Beeching axe.

The council wants to see a Metro-style link opened to connect with Taunton and Exeter and helped to fund a business case for the bid, working with neighbouring councils in Devon, Somerset County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the MP.

The link would also see a new station opening at Cullompton in Mid Devon as part of the joint project.

Cllr Mark Edwards, deputy leader of the Borough Council, has led the campaign and welcomed the announcement from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today (Wednesday November 29) that lines closed in the 1960s could be reopened.

Cllr Edwards said: “Today’s report is very welcome – we have genuine support for our proposal to reopen Wellington’s station and reconnect the town to the rail network.

“Extensive work has taken place on possible network timetabling – and that has confirmed that the proposal is definitely feasible.

“We are now carrying out more detailed work on the business case and are hopeful that it will be ready in the spring.

“Wellington is a growing town and the station would provide a real lifeline to residents and businesses.”

Wellington Station first opened in 1843 but fell victim to Dr Beeching, chairman of the British Transport Commission, who recommended mass cuts to the nation’s loss-making railways. More than 2,000 railway stations closed as a result.

 

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