NEW shops, 36 new homes, work space and more restaurants and cafes could be making their to a popular part of Taunton.

Developers have submitted an application to Taunton Deane Council with proposals to regenerate the Coal Orchard.

Plans have been in under discussion for a number of years to develop the site as part of the Taunton Rethink strategy that seeks to put the River Tone back at the heart of the town.

And developers say they aim to retain the bohemian character of the area.

Initial proposals went out to public consultation in May and, following feedback, the submitted plans include off and on-street parking provision and changes to the design and layout to preserve views of the church and Brewhouse Theatre.

The St James Street swimming pool, which was closed in July, will be demolished subject to a separate consent. The homes would be a mix of 20 one-bed flats and 16 two-bed flats.

If planning permission is granted, the number of car parking spaces available at Coal Orchard would be reduced from 120 to 49, with the potential for some on-street parking.

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But developers say the proposals maintain a level of parking that would allow for the current and proposed retail provision.

At the public consultation in May, concerns were raised over any development reducing the number of parking spaces.

At the time, it was hoped these concerns would be offset by the development of nearby Firepool, however since then, Taunton Deane Council has rejected the plans for that site.

Somerset County Gazette:

The application adds that the scheme is designed to be sensitive to an area close to some important listed buildings.

It also aims to encourage active streets during the day and night with natural surveillance throughout.

The increase in activity would enhance the pedestrian footfall in front of the Brewhouse Theatre, integrating it into the Coal Orchard quarter.

Developers have also submitted ideas on how better to use the waterfront, with suggestions for amphitheatre-style seating leading down to the water.

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Cllr Mark Edwards, executive councillor for business development at Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “A great deal of thought has gone into this application for a significant site in our county town.

It is important that redevelopment of the Coal Orchard works for everybody, which is why the views of local residents and businesses have been sought and taken into consideration.

“We now have the opportunity to create a truly unique area that will ensure our town centre can thrive in the future.”

The proposals can be viewed on the Borough Council’s website – the reference number is 38/16/0357.

Comments are invited and should be submitted online, by e-mail to or in writing by October 21.