Proposals for progressing the delivery of the regeneration of Firepool are being presented to the new Somerset West and Taunton administration for the first time this week.
A report to Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday (12 June) will outline a framework for delivering the site within the broad parameters of the outline planning permission granted in 2018.
The intention is to divide the site into blocks for specific uses allowing different areas to be developed simultaneously, giving greater flexibility.
The Council would appoint a professional design team to produce a Framework Masterplan which, when adopted, would be a material planning consideration in determining detailed planning applications for the individual plots.
The report outlines the resources required to deliver essential site wide infrastructure and services that will underpin all development work. It also confirms that the Council will not be investing directly in a hotel on the site but plans to engage with the market to identify a suitable investor who will develop a hotel instead.
The report also details proposals for SWT to commission a viability study for a multi-use performance venue. Once the expert consultant has reviewed the market place a report will be brought back to Council with a recommended way forward.
Executive Member for Economic Development, Cllr Habib Farbahi, said: “We are making Firepool a top priority. There are lots of different opportunities for this site but it’s got to be right and financially sustainable for the area. It is vital that we deliver a quality scheme that not only attracts growth and investment but creates an enjoyable space that reflects our Garden Town status.”
Part of the site has already been brought back in to community use. Work is also continuing to create the boulevard link from the railway station, which is soon to be redeveloped, to the riverside and onward to the town centre. This temporary footpath will be a permanent key feature of the final scheme.