Businesses to have their say on hotel proposals

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/

Firepool: A New Future

Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) and St. Modwen have been development partners for the Firepool site for the past nine years.  Following a review it has now been decided to end the partnership.

During the partnership, St. Modwen has worked tirelessly with TDBC, investing St. Modwen expertise and resource to bring forward delivery of the development to reflect the joint aspirations for this important town centre site.

In view of ongoing major changes in external market conditions, the Council respects St. Modwen’s decision to focus its business on commercial/industrial and residential developments, rather than the mixed use, town centre regeneration scheme proposed for Firepool.

It is important to stress what has been achieved by the partnership over recent years: this has included the Viridor HQ offices employing hundreds of staff, 49 new homes with high quality public space next to the River Tone, as well as securing outline planning consent on a very difficult site that will underpin future delivery.

The resolution to grant outline planning consent in March 2018 provides an important foundation for any future development, incorporating issues such as quality of design across the site, frontage to the river and other high profile areas, and traffic and transport management.  It also provides the basis for continued discussion with a number of interested occupiers and flexibility to consider other potential uses within the overall mix.   The Council will be taking these discussions forward and will also listen and consider views from the community in shaping and delivering this key town centre scheme.

“We remain fully committed to developing a high quality mixed use regeneration scheme for Firepool, providing a fantastic riverside environment and creating strong links between the town centre and the railway station”, said Cllr John Williams, Leader of the Council.

Cllr Williams added: “Taunton’s wider regeneration and our focus on growing our Garden Town is already under way. In the town centre, the Coal Orchard site has received detailed planning consent to be transformed into a thriving mixed use new place on the river.   The enhancement of Taunton Railway Station – creating a new south facing gateway to the town – will begin in 2019, complementing the introduction of modern, more frequent and faster trains connecting Taunton to London and other major towns and cities”.

“These projects are examples of an increasingly commercial approach where we are investing directly to create social and economic benefit as well as generating financial return for investment in community services.  The end of the partnership between the Council and St Modwen will not affect the Council’s intention to deliver such schemes and develop our commercial approach further.”

Coal Orchard plans get green light

Coal Orchard Artist's Impression

The plans for the Coal Orchard were developed by the Council with its project and development management partner, Mace Group.

The plans include a mix of apartments, retail, workspace, restaurants and gym, and

incorporate a riverfront plaza with a stepped terrace to make the most of its position on the River Tone.

Work at the Coal Orchard could start as early as spring 2019 and will create the first link in a chain of developments connecting the station directly to the established town centre.

Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive Councillor for Business Development said: “The plans respect the character of Coal Orchard and will bring new vitality to the area putting the River Tone at the heart of Taunton. They are carefully created to strike a balance between retaining the character, enhancing the environment and our aspirations for growth reflecting our Garden Town status. They are a vital link in the chain of a wider plans for Taunton town centre and I am genuinely excited that they will be coming to reality. There has already been considerable interest in the commercial and retail units, and I believe there will be similar interest in the residential apartments in this unique location.”

Andrew Clancy, Projects Director from Mace Group said “We are excited by the potential of the Coal Orchard site, one that we having been working on with the Council for the past three years. We are delighted to be involved in the project, and believe that it will act as a catalyst for other regeneration projects in the town. The Council’s vision for the site has been clear for over 10 years through their adopted policies and I am proud to have personally being involved.”

St James Street Pool will be demolished but key features will be retained in the development – for example the historic foundation stone will be incorporated into the public realm scheme.

The area around the Brewhouse Theatre will also be protected for potential expansion under a separate project being led by TDBC in partnership with The Taunton Theatre Association.

High tech parking signs unveiled

THE first Variable Message Signing (VMS) boards are being unveiled in Taunton as work on changing the parking regime in key town centre car parks moves forward.

The signs are being unveiled by Taunton Deane Borough Council, working in partnership with Somerset County Council and contractors SWARCO and WSP.

The council is introducing pay on exit and VMS in seven central car parks as it invests £1.2m to make it easier for people to find vacant parking slots – and to make a payment when they leave, rather than when they arrive. VMS will also be linked to Taunton’s two park & ride sites.

Pay on exit will be introduced in the following car parks: Orchard, High Street, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield. The changes, being introduced car park by car park to minimise disruption, are planned to be completed in August.

Cllr John Williams, Leader of the council, said: “We committed £1.2m to implementing this initiative to make life a little easier for the motorist and to underline our commitment to Taunton Deane’s economy.

“The new electronic signs will help people find where space is available in some of our busiest car parks while pay on exit means they pay for the time they have parked, rather than pay for time they think they might need.

“This has long been an aspiration for the council and I am delighted to see it come to fruition.”

Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive member for planning policy and transportation, added: “Taunton is growing and, as a Garden Town, we don’t want to see people having to drive around, wasting fuel, time and adding to pollution, in the search for a parking spot.”

Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive member for business, said: “Our traders have been supportive of this new system as it will make life easier for visitors, shoppers and those who do business in Taunton. This will remove the stress of having to return to the car in their allocated time, and allow shoppers to enjoy their experience in Taunton.

“I am grateful for the support we have received from our local businesses and from the partners we have worked with throughout.”

Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This project has been an excellent example of collaborative working between two authorities and I’m pleased to see it going live. VMS signs are a welcome addition to the town and should help prevent wasted journeys by directly guiding drivers to available parking spaces.”

The first sign was unveiled in Priorswood Road, Taunton, on the inbound approach, and is one of nine to be provided in key locations, signposting drivers to the seven pay-on-exit car parks and the two park and ride sites.

CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019 FIXTURES ARE RELEASED

EXCITEMENT BUILDS AS ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019 FIXTURES ARE RELEASED

• England to open ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at The Oval against South Africa on 30 May
• Lord’s will host a record 5th ICC Cricket World Cup final on 14 July
• India will take on rivals Pakistan at Old Trafford on 16 June
• England play five time and current World Cup champions Australia at Lord’s on 25 June

Somerset has been awarded three games at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 as the tournament returns to England and Wales next year.
The opening fixture at Taunton will be played under the soon to be installed floodlights when Afghanistan face New Zealand on Saturday 8th June 2019. The second fixture will be highly anticipated by all when the current champions face the winners of the Champions Trophy with Pakistan v Australia on Wednesday 12th June 2019. Finally, Taunton will host Bangladesh v West Indies on Monday 17th June 2019.
England will play the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup England and Wales 2019 at The Oval against South Africa on 30 May 2019.
The tournament will culminate in a record fifth final at a packed Lord’s Cricket Ground – the Home of Cricket – on 14 July 2019.
Edgbaston and Old Trafford will host semi-finals on 9 and 11 July, respectively and Old Trafford will host the much-anticipated India v Pakistan match on 16 June 2019.
In total, 11 venues will be used for the 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup. Lord’s and The Oval will be used in London, in addition to Edgbaston, Old Trafford, Bristol County Ground, Cardiff Wales Stadium, The Riverside, Headingley, Hampshire Bowl, Trent Bridge and The County Ground, Taunton.
The ECB was awarded the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in 2006 following its withdrawal from the bidding to host the 2015 World Cup. This is the first time that a ICC Cricket World Cup has been held in the UK since 1999. ECB hosted the first three ICC Cricket World Cup tournaments in 1975, 1979 and 1983.
Somerset CEO Andrew Cornish is delighted with our fixtures: “Somerset County Cricket Club are honoured to be a host venue for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Today’s announcement of the finalised fixtures brings in to sharp focus exactly what cricket fans can expect to enjoy in June next year.
“To open our fixtures with a day/night game will be outstanding. An international match under lights featuring the team who finished as runners up in the last tournament is the perfect way for us to showcase what Taunton has to offer.
“To be able to follow that fixture with a clash between the current World Champions and the Champions Trophy holders is a genuine feather in the cap for us.
“Given our links to the West Indies over the years, I am sure that their visit will also prove to be hugely popular with cricket fans in the region and, of course, further afield.
“We saw in 2017 with our IT20 that the appetite for International cricket here in the South West is enormous. That match proved to be of huge benefit to the local economy as a whole and it is excellent news for the whole region that these matches will be held in Taunton next summer.
“I am in no doubt that these matches will be hugely memorable for everyone who attends, and we are delighted to be part of what promises to be a genuine festival of cricket.”
Cllr Mark Edwards, Deputy Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “It’s brilliant to be part of all the cricket celebrations for next year’s Cricket World Cup. Sports fans can be assured of a very warm welcome and we hope they enjoy visiting this beautiful part of the world. The cricket ground itself is in the heart of the town – a wonderful setting for a world competition.”
Steve Elworthy, the ECB Tournament Director, added: ‘‘Today’s announcement of the schedule is another important moment in the build-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 – the moment that the tournament comes to life for teams and cricket lovers across the world. This is the flagship event in one day cricket.
“There are some fantastic head to head fixtures – England v Australia at Lord’s and India v Pakistan at Old Trafford as well as England v India at Edgbaston spring to mind. As organisers we can promise the teams and fans we will work hard to provide the perfect stage for this event.
“Because of the UK’s diverse population, every competing team will also be guaranteed a ‘home crowd’ every time they play at some of the most iconic cricket grounds in the world.
“The Cricket World Cup is the 3rd most watched global event and has huge interest and appeal amongst cricket fans. Our ambition is to grow the game and deliver the greatest ever cricket celebration and with that in mind we have very carefully developed our ticket prices. The prices have been tested with thousands of fans over the last 6 months, we have used external experts and consulted widely to ensure that they are good value vs other global sporting events. The prices balance accessibility with delivering the investment required to deliver a world class event. All revenue is invested back in the game to grow cricket. Notably, we have will offer:

• 80,000+ tickets at £20 (over half of the group stage matches)
• 200,000+ tickets at £50 or less
• Child tickets at every match, starting from £6
• Family of 4 for £52

After facing South Africa at The Oval, England will then play ICC Champions Trophy 2017 winners Pakistan at Nottingham on 3 June, Bangladesh at Cardiff on 8 June, the Windies at Southampton 14 June and Afghanistan at Old Trafford on 18 June.
In the all-play-all 10-team format, England will conclude their first-round matches against the 1996 champions Sri Lanka at Headingley on 21 June, then Australia at Lord’s on 25 June, India at Edgbaston on 30 June and New Zealand at Durham on 3 July.
Reigning champions Australia start against qualifiers Afghanistan at Bristol in a day/night fixture on 1 June, the ICC Champions Trophy holders Pakistan will play the 1975 and 1979 ICC Cricket World Cup winners West Indies on 31 May at Trent Bridge in their first fixture while India’s opening game is against South Africa on 5 June at Southampton.
The full schedule can be accessed here.
Fans will have the opportunity to be the first to apply for tickets during the Cricket Family Ballot, which opens at 10AM on Tuesday 8 May.
Members of the Cricket Family can pre-register their accounts from Tuesday 1 May in preparation for the ballot, which will remain open until 8pm on Friday 1 June.
Those eligible for the Cricket Family Ballot will receive a specific URL via email in the coming few days.
Ticket prices for each ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 fixture can be found here
Details about Hospitality packages will be released later this summer on cricketworldcup.com
Register to be part of the Cricket Family Ballot by signing up here ahead of 8 May.

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