DIGGERS will be moving into Taunton’s £3million Castle Green development just months after it was officially opened by Prince Edward, the County Gazette can reveal.

But authorities insist the sevenweek work to replace water mains will not see the area’s iconic stone paving stones dug up.

Wessex Water, which began work in High Street this week, will move onto the site in the first week of March, but Taunton Deane Council said this had been factored in from the start of the project.

A council spokesman said: “The work will involve digging a hole on an earmarked site under a deliberately unfinished corner of the site so that new piping can be pulled through the old mains.

“It will not affect finished areas of paving or the landscaped areas.”

Some residents have expressed surprise that the area will see diggers moving in so soon after it was completed.

Roger Fenge, from Taunton, said: “I couldn’t believe it when they told me they are digging it up.

As a taxpayer I wonder why it was not done before.”

The Project Taunton group said land has been earmarked so a temporary concrete surface could be left to allow Wessex Water to carry out its work. The council says once the pipework is completed the hole will be filled in and the surface reinstated.

The area has a raised lawn, trees and flowers on the borders, a hard landscaped area in natural stone and seating, along with a glasssided bridge connecting the area to Goodland Gardens, which is lit up after dark.

Work was completed on the development on September 28 last year with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, opening the glass bridge on October 15 during his visit to the Museum of Somerset.

Wessex Water said the work to modernise water mains at the former car park was planned two years ago.

A spokesman added: “To minimise disruption we will be using a technique to renew water mains which will reduce the amount of excavations required.

“We will be writing to residents and businesses to explain what the work will involve.”