PROPOSALS for shops, work spaces, restaurants, flats and public areas on a riverside car park look set to be given the go-ahead.

The outline plans for Coal Orchard, off Taunton town centre, also include the demolition of the disused St James swimming pool.

Taunton Deane Borough Council's planning committee is being recommended to grant conditional approval to the scheme at its meeting on Wednesday.

The 90 objections made to the authority, which has submitted the application itself, include loss of parking space, negative impact on The Brewhouse Theatre and existing traders in the area, blocking of views to the River Tone, potential missed appointments at the nearby medical centre and buildings out of character with the area.

ArtsTaunton is also opposing the project, branding it "a high-density commercial development" on a site which had been earmarked as a "cultural hub" with "a revitalised theatre and arts centre, art studios and independent shops" - there was however some joy for the organisation this week with the announcement of proposals to redevelop the Brewhouse (see Pages 4 and 5).

The two and three storey buildings in five blocks include 13 shops and offices, 800 square metres of office or workspace, four restaurant or cafe units and 36 homes.

Recommending the application for conditional approval, an officer report to next week's meetings says: "The scheme is considered to safeguard the character and appearance of the conservation area and while it will impact on the setting of the Old Brewery house, this impact is not considered substantial and the benefits of the redevelopment of the area in terms of townscape and employment is considered to outweigh the limited harm.

"The parking provision retained on the site is considered suitable to serve the development and adjacent uses subject to suitable management of the car park.

"There are no objections from the main statutory consultees and the development is considered is considered in line with the core planning principles set out in paragraph 17 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

"As such the scheme is considered an acceptable redevelopment of the site and is recommended for approval."