PEOPLE are being asked for their views as a public consultation gets underway on a proposed business development just off Junction 25 of the M5 at Taunton.

The initiative, supported by Taunton Deane Borough Council, started yesterday (Wednesday) and will be open for four weeks.

The new strategic employment site, called Nexus 25, was introduced at a business launch and public exhibition at the Holiday Inn at Junction 25.

Nexus 25 could create thousands of new and skilled jobs.

The ‘green campus’ will have space for research and development and high quality offices, alongside light industrial units and warehouses to provide a range of flexible premises suitable for many types of business.

The name was chosen because of its meaning, which reflects both the location and the connectivity that the development will provide.

Cllr Mark Edwards, deputy leader at the Deane House and executive member for business development, said: “We want to thank all the businesses and residents who took the time to come and see the public exhibition.

"The project team is in the early stages of development so we want to hear people's views to shape the proposals going forward to the next full consultation in May.

“Nexus 25 is an essential part of our plans for Taunton’s future growth, enabling us to attract new business and new investment.”

He said that businesses that attended the launch were supportive of the development.

Somerset County Council has brought forward plans to improve Junction 25.

The work to improve Junction 25 and the A358 is being undertaken by Somerset County Council and Highways England and will include access to the site.

Taunton Deane has commissioned Peter Brett Associates to prepare a Local Development Order (LDO) to set out the planning and design principles and other site-specific requirements to guide development of the site.

LDOs were introduced by the Government to enable local authorities to speed up the planning process, while ensuring that the usual environmental safeguards are properly applied.

Once approved by the council, the LDO will set out the extent and nature of the proposed development together with all the criteria and requirements that proposals must meet to satisfy the terms of the order.

Developers must demonstrate to the Council that their proposals satisfy the requirements of the LDO in order for them to proceed.

A full consultation on the LDO is planned for May, ahead of submission to the council in June 2017. The LDO could be adopted in August 2017.

Information and feedback forms are available by clicking here or you can send your comments to The Planning Policy Team, The Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton TA1 1HE.

The proposals are being developed by a team drawn from the public and private sectors.


Q: How how big is the proposed employment site at Junction 25?

A: The approximate size of the site is 25 hectares (about 25 rugby pitches).

Q: What are the plans for managing the increased traffic?

A: Junction 25 and connecting roads are already well used, especially at peak times and a key objective is to firstly ensure the current situation was not worsened.

Somerset County Council and Highways England have brought forward plans to improve Junction 25. The scheme will provide access to the site and from the start of the A358 dualling between the M5 and A303. Park and ride schemes as well as cycling walking and routes to the town centre will help to reduce car use.

Q: Some of the site is flood plain. What plans will be put in place to mitigate development on the flood plain? Should you not be looking to develop sites that are not on the flood plain?

A: The proposed development site is located predominately in the area with the lowest probability of flooding, defined as Flood Zone 1. The Council commissioned a Flood Risk Assessment in 2014 to assess the suitability of the site and this will be followed by a comprehensive Flood Modelling Assessment that will form part of the mitigation requirements of the Local Development Order. While parts of the site are located in Flood Zones 2 and 3 there will be no construction in these areas, but they will be suitably landscaped to manage flood risk.

Explanatory note: Flood zone 1 has a very low probability of flooding (1 in 1000 year event or less) while Flood zone 3 has a high probability of flooding (1 in 100 year event or greater).

Q:How does a Local Development Order work?

A: LDOs were introduced by the Government to enable local authorities to speed up the planning process. The cCouncil sets out the criteria and regulations that the development must meet within the order. Once the developer has shown that the proposals comply with the LDO, the council will grant a formal certificate of compliance that allows development to proceed.