Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Somerset College outlines halls of residence plans
6:30am Friday 17th August 2012 in News
A HALL of residence could be built on the site of two car parks in a bid to make Taunton a university town.
The blocks would also cater for trainee doctors and nurses from Musgrove Park Hospital.
Taunton Deane Council’s corporate scrutiny committee will hear today (Thursday) that the college is seeking an exclusivity agreement with the authority with an option to buy the site.
College principal Rachel Davies said many current students complain of poor transport links to college during the day, and into town at evenings and weekends, from their current halls at the former Canonsgrove police training centre three miles south of the town.
She said: “The college wishes to relocate the halls of residence to a more convenient town centre location, and for over four years it has worked hard to overcome legal and planning issues around the sale and re-development of halls on a new site.
“Our preference would be for a site near or at the Tangier end of town.
“Musgrove is supportive of the scheme and would wish to occupy some of the rooms.
“In addition, the college intends to develop its international student offer, and we anticipate that some of these students would also utilise the halls.
“Realising this aim would form a part of our overall strategy to create a ‘University Town Taunton’ – an aim which we believe will be economically and reputationally beneficial to the town and businesses in our community.”
A report to councillors says Tangier is the preferred option of the college, which has investigated several possible sites, including part of County Hall.
An exclusivity agreement between the Deane and a private developer, involving building the rooms on a podium so most parking spaces would remain, has expired.