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.
Taunton Deane Borough Council’s business consultation seeking views on the proposed hotel at Firepool is being run throughout October.
The Council’s Planning Committee resolved in March 2018 to grant outline planning consent for a mixed use development at Firepool, including a new hotel. The separate decision to build the hotel as a council led commercial venture was deferred in order to consult with local businesses.
The Council has now produced a leaflet with information about the project, the reasons for it and the benefits it is expected to bring. It also explains the wider commercial approach the council is taking and how the proposed hotel investment is part of that.
Points raised by businesses from the consultation will help to inform the Council’s approach to the hotel project and other commercial ventures that the Council may develop in the future.
Cllr John Williams, Leader of the Council said: “The proposed hotel is a key part of our plans for the regeneration of Taunton town centre and could be a huge asset, bringing significant money into the local economy and creating jobs at both the construction and operational stages for local people.
However we respect that local businesses want to have their say and are keen to hear their opinions through this consultation. Following the departure of St Modwen as the Council’s development partner at Firepool, we are also taking the opportunity to reflect and listen to different ideas coming forward locally in shaping and developing this important town centre site.”
The business consultation will run from Monday 1st October to Wednesday 31st October. All the details and a link to the consultation can be found on the consultation page of Council’s website https://www.tauntondeane.gov.uk/consultations/