IT'S been quite a year for Taunton, here's from highlights from January through to June: 


  •  TAUNTON received a New Year present when the Government designated it as one of three new garden towns. It meant the area would be given £350,000 to plan improved countryside access around developments at Monkton Heathfield, Comeytrowe/Trull and Staplegrove.
  •  TAUNTON Deane Borough Council announced plans for an 18-month trial to pedestrianise East Street and St James Street between North Street and Lower Middle Street, while traffic would be barred from Hammet Street during the day. The scheme is being brought in early in 2018.
  •  THE Farmers Arms, at Combe Florey was almost totally destroyed in a devastating fire. Following their disastrous start to 2017, owners Tim Young and Jane Bishop vowed to get the popular thatched pub up and running again and have since been permission to rebuild it.


  •  FORMER Taunton Deane Mayor Cllr Jefferson Horsley admitted a tweet he sent and later deleted on Holocaust Memorial Day comparing borough council leader Cllr John Williams to Hitler was “inappropriate and in poor taste”. Mr Horsley was commenting on a video posted anonymously on YouTube which showed Hitler – named as Johannes Williams – looking at a map with the council leader’s voice overlayed.
  •  THERE were mixed fortunes for two companies. Bishops Lydeard’s Quantock Brewery was rescued by a mystery investor after going into administration, vowing to “change direction a little”. No such luck for Creech St Michael building firm Blue Swan Solutions, which crashed with debts of £500,000.
  •  VULNERABLE widow Freda Mudalige,75, was forced out of her Bishops Lydeard home after being fleeced out of her £10,000 life savings by scammers. They conned her into buying £3,400 of iTunes vouchers and stocks of tablets she didn’t need.


  •  THEY say honesty always pays - Refugee Aid For Taunton (RAFT) founder Federica Smith called the police after a donation of a pair of socks destined for refugees in mainland Europe was found to contain £1,000 in banknotes.
  •  AROUND 20 homes in Wedlands, Taunton, received letters from a hoaxer claiming the body of murdered schoolgirl Genette Tate was buried in a garden on the estate. Genette, who used to live in Priorswood, disappeared on a paper round in Devon in 1978 aged 13.
  •  CROWDS turned out in force as pop star Peter Andre hit Taunton’s Orchard Shopping Centre to launch his new fragrance, Timeless.


  •  DEVELOPERS St Modwen announced it was submitting fresh multi-million plans to develop the former livestock market at Firepool, Taunton, after a previous application was thrown out. The council is expected to rule on the plans early next year.
  •  RAIL passengers had a shock when the 64-mile trip from Taunton to Trowbridge was advertised by Trainline at £10,000. Great Western Railway blamed the error on “an IT glitch”.
  •  IT was announced that Taunton Flower Show would be held in Vivary Park for the last time this year after Taunton Deane Borough Council imposed a five-figure fee on the 166-year-old event.
  •  LOVE Musgrove - the charity of Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital - launched a year-long £1 million appeal to buy a new MRI scanner.


  •  MARINE A Alexander Blackman, from Taunton, was freed from prison. He had originally been jailed for murder after killing an injured insurgent on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but a campaign led by his wife, Claire, saw the charge downgraded to manslaughter and he was released halfway through a seven-year stretch.
  •  A CONTROVERSY that rumbled on all year saw residents slamming Highways England for a perceived lack of consultation over proposed improvements to the A358 - opponents claimed they were not given a chance to give their views on all the options.
  •  THE Conservatives romped home in the Somerset County Council elections to remain in power at County Hall, although the previous leader Cllr John Osman was dumped by the electorate and succeeded by David Fothergill.


  •  PIGEONS and seagulls in Taunton were put on notice as a pair of peregrines falcons built their nest on top of St Mary Magdalene Church. A nesting box has since been installed on top of the tower to encourage the pair to return and breed.
  •  POLICE armed with machine guns mounted patrols on the street of Taunton following the suicide attack on Manchester Arena, which claimed 22 lives.
  •  PLANS were unveiled to a £20 million transformation of Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre, including an enhanced auditorium, a studio theatre, community studios and changing rooms and cinema.