Taunton hotelier slams council after travellers remain on Firepool

Taunton hotelier slams council after travellers remain on Firepool

Travellers on Firepool.

A computer-generate image of possible plans for the site.

The photo posted on Twitter by @MusicQuantocks

First published in News
Last updated
Somerset County Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

FIREPOOL in Taunton – earmarked as a primary development opportunity – continues to be used as a travellers camp site this week.

Several caravans arrived at the former livestock market on Priory Bridge Road last Thursday and they remained on the site today (March 4).

The travellers did not want to speak to the County Gazette when approached yesterday (March 3) and a photo posted on social media caused a stir when it showed Taunton Deane Council’s sign “delivering Taunton’s vision” next to Firepool with the traveller’s caravans in the background.

Kit Chapman, proprietor of The Castle at Taunton and member of Taunton Forward, a taskforce of people trying to improve Taunton’s business, shopping, tourism and leisure sectors, said the irony of the situation was “quite delicious”.

He added: “The huge hoarding at Firepool with the traveller’s site next to it sends out a bad message and shows we have an incompetent council.

“In one breath this is very funny, but in the next it is a joke too far.

“We are trying to drive inward investment but this is bad publicity for Taunton and for people like me and dozens of others who are trying to improve the town.”

Taunton Deane Council have earmarked Firepool as one of the main areas to regenerate as they look to provide for a population likely to increase by 20,000 to 85,000 by 2028.

Their plans for the site include a south-facing waterfront and a boulevard connecting the railway station to Coal Orchard, providing a gateway to the town centre from the north.

Other potential uses could include a number of large shops, including a major food store, a cinema and other leisure facilities, a cafe/restaurant, 400 homes or a multi-storey car park with up to 700 spaces.

Mr Chapman said Taunton is perfectly located with good communication networks and beautiful countrysides but claimed the council are frittering it all away.

He added: “It is driving me mad – we [Taunton Forward] want to work with the council and I have tried to arrange meetings because we are all in this together so I cannot understand why their Conservative members will not link arms with us to take this forward.

“It really does upset me and I am often accused of doing Taunton down but it is actually the reverse, I want to get something done.”

A council spokesman said officers have taken the first formal legal steps to clear the traveller encampment by serving them with a Notice of Direction to leave the site today (March 4).

The notice will require them to leave by 6pm tomorrow - if they don’t then a court order would be sought.

This follows efforts to encourage them to leave voluntarily.

 

Comments (5)

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10:32am Tue 4 Mar 14

TauntonBloke29 says...

Don't care about the Traveller's being there. That is short term. The long term future rests on the council making some decisions and fast. Perhaps forget the shiny nice plans and go for things people want and will serve a purpose for a large proportion of the town and not just a few with some money that want to watch shopping trolleys sunk in the river and tramps comparing their flee ridden dogs.
Don't care about the Traveller's being there. That is short term. The long term future rests on the council making some decisions and fast. Perhaps forget the shiny nice plans and go for things people want and will serve a purpose for a large proportion of the town and not just a few with some money that want to watch shopping trolleys sunk in the river and tramps comparing their flee ridden dogs. TauntonBloke29
  • Score: 13

6:38pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Dr Dave says...

Send in the bulldozers!
Send in the bulldozers! Dr Dave
  • Score: 11

1:52pm Wed 5 Mar 14

heather147 says...

This area is an eyesore. We don't want yet more ugly houses or apartments there. Would it be too much to ask if a cinema/leisure complex could be built there . There isn't one in Taunton, the nearest one is off the M5 at Bathpool.
This area is an eyesore. We don't want yet more ugly houses or apartments there. Would it be too much to ask if a cinema/leisure complex could be built there . There isn't one in Taunton, the nearest one is off the M5 at Bathpool. heather147
  • Score: 5

7:17am Thu 6 Mar 14

prickles says...

The whole area is an eyesore. Instead of talking about what they are going to do with it get on and do it. Can we have some shops that people can afford to go in. The council and all these other groups can afford to shop in exspensive shops, they seem to forget about the people on minimum wage who need lower price shops to go in. And honestly with the amount of homeless/drunks hanging around taunton can't see a few travellers really affecting taunton at the moment. If mr chapman is so concerned about taunton then maybe he should do something about all the homeless/beggars that are always sat outside his hotel. Surely that is not very good for his business. Even Bridgwater is getting better shops than taunton. Maybe all the groups to help taunton should meet up with the ones in Bridgwater then maybe taunton might get it right . I am surprised how many people actually go to Bridgwater now as they have some good not over priced shops there.
The whole area is an eyesore. Instead of talking about what they are going to do with it get on and do it. Can we have some shops that people can afford to go in. The council and all these other groups can afford to shop in exspensive shops, they seem to forget about the people on minimum wage who need lower price shops to go in. And honestly with the amount of homeless/drunks hanging around taunton can't see a few travellers really affecting taunton at the moment. If mr chapman is so concerned about taunton then maybe he should do something about all the homeless/beggars that are always sat outside his hotel. Surely that is not very good for his business. Even Bridgwater is getting better shops than taunton. Maybe all the groups to help taunton should meet up with the ones in Bridgwater then maybe taunton might get it right . I am surprised how many people actually go to Bridgwater now as they have some good not over priced shops there. prickles
  • Score: 3

12:41pm Fri 7 Mar 14

mansell5 says...

prickles wrote:
The whole area is an eyesore. Instead of talking about what they are going to do with it get on and do it. Can we have some shops that people can afford to go in. The council and all these other groups can afford to shop in exspensive shops, they seem to forget about the people on minimum wage who need lower price shops to go in. And honestly with the amount of homeless/drunks hanging around taunton can't see a few travellers really affecting taunton at the moment. If mr chapman is so concerned about taunton then maybe he should do something about all the homeless/beggars that are always sat outside his hotel. Surely that is not very good for his business. Even Bridgwater is getting better shops than taunton. Maybe all the groups to help taunton should meet up with the ones in Bridgwater then maybe taunton might get it right . I am surprised how many people actually go to Bridgwater now as they have some good not over priced shops there.
This is beyond ridiculous. Shops get planning permission for a retail use. The council has no control over which actual retailers go in those shop units. It is the market that decides if one gets a Primark or a Janet Raeger, the council has absolutely no control or influence over it.
[quote][p][bold]prickles[/bold] wrote: The whole area is an eyesore. Instead of talking about what they are going to do with it get on and do it. Can we have some shops that people can afford to go in. The council and all these other groups can afford to shop in exspensive shops, they seem to forget about the people on minimum wage who need lower price shops to go in. And honestly with the amount of homeless/drunks hanging around taunton can't see a few travellers really affecting taunton at the moment. If mr chapman is so concerned about taunton then maybe he should do something about all the homeless/beggars that are always sat outside his hotel. Surely that is not very good for his business. Even Bridgwater is getting better shops than taunton. Maybe all the groups to help taunton should meet up with the ones in Bridgwater then maybe taunton might get it right . I am surprised how many people actually go to Bridgwater now as they have some good not over priced shops there.[/p][/quote]This is beyond ridiculous. Shops get planning permission for a retail use. The council has no control over which actual retailers go in those shop units. It is the market that decides if one gets a Primark or a Janet Raeger, the council has absolutely no control or influence over it. mansell5
  • Score: 1

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