RSS FeedRSS Feed

Taunton transformed, from sleepy market town to SW beacon12th July 2012

River Tone, Taunton

Taunton's regeneration vision began a decade ago. The plan was to turn a sleepy market town, albeit Somerset’s county capital, into a major centre for the South West, with the jobs, roads, shops, housing and quality of life to match.

Now the aspirations have turned into reality with the vision realised through Project Taunton, which has been delivering large and small scale regeneration in the teeth of deep recession nationally.

The achievements include – new roads, flood prevention measures, commercial buildings, housing, top quality public open space – with much, much more in the pipeline.

Key to the regeneration is Taunton’s river, neglected by the town for decades. Now, instead of turning its back on the River Tone – the waterway that gave the town its name – it is becoming the artery giving life to Taunton in the 21st century.

The first commercial building, a new headquarters for waste management company Viridor, faces the water and new homes about to get under way will have river frontage.

Both projects are at Firepool where development partner St. Modwen has just completed work on the new headquarters for Viridor. Firepool will be redeveloped on a phased basis and on completion, it will provide up to 500,000 sq ft of office space and up to 4,000 new jobs. Some 350 new homes will be provided at Firepool Lock – the former East Goods Yard – and around 400 at Firepool – the former car park and cattle market sites.

It’s not just about buildings, though, as Project Taunton and Taunton Deane Borough Council are turning Castle Green in the centre of town into open space, which will revitalise the area by providing an open air activity centre for everything from markets to music.

Castle Green will also connect the town centre to the river via a glass-sided bridge, which will give the impression of floating above the moat and will be lit at night.

Work is also progressing on High Street to refresh its tired appearance with clever lighting, new seats, landscaping and by telling its story through words and images.

Goodland Gardens has been transformed and turned into a more user-friendly and lively public space next to the River Tone and Longrun Meadow provides Taunton with its own country park within a ten-minute walk of the town centre. Longrun Meadow also acts as a flood defence for Taunton and is home to the iconic Willow Cathedral.

The Project Taunton team is working with Taunton Transition Town on guerrilla gardening ideas, starting with herb planting in Somerset Square where a weekly Farmers’ Market is now planned.

Ian Franklin, who has led Project Taunton from the early days, said: “There is now some amazing open space in Taunton that really needs to be used. We have delivered what we said we would – now we want people to make the most of it.

“We have had some incredibly successful events already this year – Goodland Gardens was a fantastic venue for bands, food demos and activities when the Olympic Torch Relay came to town in May. People loved the day - and loved the buzz. More events – and more of that buzz – will really put Taunton on the map.”

Recent Headlines

Click here for more news stories...

Commercial Property Events

Have you any commercial property events you'd like to tell us about? It could be networking, exhibitions, seminars, industry lunches or sporting fixtures. We will list them for free. Just email with the following details: Event name, date, time, venue, cost, booking info and a brief description of the event.

Commercial Property Jobs

To list your property job vacancies on Property News. Email:

Sign up to our free e-alerts for all your property news and views.
Follow Property News on Facebook Follow Property News on Twitter Follow Property News on Google+ Follow Property News on Linkedin Property News RSS Feed