Several years of involvement in the regeneration of Taunton is finally making the transition from LHC’s real and virtual drawing boards, to on-the-ground reality in Somerset’s county town.
LHC has worked for a number of clients over the four year period, originally designing a masterplan for Taunton Railway Station and its surrounding goods yards for Network Rail in 2012; the LHC team then produced the main Taunton Rethink masterplan for Taunton Deane Council in 2013 which set out a revised vision for the town centre and waterfront; and most recently have designed the public realm and landscape proposals for the £105M, 17 acre Firepool Regeneration on behalf of developer, St Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist.
Part of the Firepool development is already underway with 49 riverside dwellings under construction; but the main Firepool scheme, part of one of the largest regeneration projects in the South West, was submitted to planners this week. It is a vital link in the overarching regeneration strategy for the town and sits at the heart of the Rethink masterplan. It includes the redevelopment of the derelict cattle market into a vibrant mixed-use waterfront shopping, residential and leisure complex.
Watch this short video to find out more about Taunton’s renaissance >>> http://www.taunton.uk.com/regeneration/firepool-scheme.htm
Already the subject of considerable consultation with stakeholders and the public, Firepool will be developed around a central boulevard, together with connecting ‘green wildlife corridors’ and brand-new public spaces featuring outdoor dining areas and terraces stepping down to the water’s edge. This significant new public realm will connect Taunton Railway Station to the nearby town centre, and to the currently under-used and often inaccessible waterfront of the River Tone. Strategic tree and shrub planting will create a strong landscape structure, complementing the contemporary architectural forms, while public art will be incorporated into the paving, structures and street furniture.
Sitting at the entrance to this wider regeneration project is Taunton Railway Station. John Baulch’s 2012 masterplan proposed switching the main entrance from north to south and adding a new visitor concourse with café, visitor facilities, new business premises, as well as potentially a new work hub and hotel, all designed to create a welcoming, significant transport gateway befitting a county town. Defunct goods yards were also earmarked for development in the masterplan, some of which have already been brought forward into residential development. Funding for the station works was secured in 2014.
It is rewarding to be involved in a regeneration with such transformative potential. Taunton is a lovely and vibrant town with hidden assets which we’re delighted to be helping to enhance, make accessible and bring to the fore.
Paul Osborne, Urban Design Director LHC