New plans for Taunton Garden Town, Taunton Station and the adjacent Great Western Hotel building were made available for the public to see for the first time at a very special Expo today (Friday Nov 2nd).
Organised by Taunton Deane Borough Council, in partnership with Great Western Railway and the YMCA, new owners of Great Western House, the event offered a chance to have a look inside Great Western House, to see how the YMCA will use the building to support young people into employment, and to view plans for the station, along with Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Garden Town plans.
Supporting the town’s economic development, improvements for the station are planned to include a new multistorey car park; a new ticket office and entrance; additional bike spaces; an improved bus and taxi interchange and easier access to the town centre and Firepool development.
Speaking at the event, Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow said: “I worked hard with stakeholders to secure the investment for Taunton railway station. With passenger traffic through the station to double within 10 years this upgrade is crucial and I am delighted work will be underway shortly.”
“The development also plays an important part in the regeneration of Firepool and the Town Centre. I am pleased that GWR are also taking note of ideas fed in from my surveys to local people to ensure the designs fit in with the Garden Town strategy.”
GWR Regional Development Manager Matthew Barnes said: “We are proud to be working with Taunton Deane Borough Council and the Heart of South West LEP to deliver the additional car park and bike spaces that Taunton has needed for some time. We want the station to be a key part of the regeneration of Taunton as a Garden Town, and as more of our brand new long distance trains come into service, we want a station that can cope with the extra demand for rail travel.
Taunton Deane Borough Council Leader, Cllr John Williams, said: “The Council is proud to support this project which will greatly improve the experience for customers and visitors to Taunton; and is of wider benefit to businesses and the whole area.”
“The redevelopment of Taunton railway station aligns with our ambitions for growth as the first Garden Town in the South West. It has long been a feature of our town centre regeneration plans and is an integral part of our intention to link the station to the town centre with upgraded and enhanced pedestrian access along the River Tone through Firepool and the Coal Orchard.”
“The provision of multi-storey car parking and public transport facilities is an essential part of the development in planning and investing for the future.”
Dave Jackson of the YMCA said: “We are hugely excited by this whole project, not only do we get to change the lives of young people by providing opportunities for employment and training, but we are really looking forward to working with GWR to provide a gateway to Taunton that the town can be proud of.”