UNCERTAINTY still surrounds the future of Taunton's derelict former livestock market site, which has lain vacant for a decade.

Although the last market was held on January 19, 2008, bringing to an end its 1,000-year history in the town, councillors are still unsure when they will get to debate a planning application for the 16.5-acre Firepool site.

In stark contrast, the Sedgemoor Auction Centre, which lured the market away from Taunton Deane, is celebrating its tenth anniversary on Saturday by launching a charity to fund a health room where farmers can see an NHS nurse.

Taunton Deane Borough Council leader Cllr John Williams (Conservative) says it is important to get things right, but an opposition councillor says the saga has been dragging on far too long.

A planning application for shops, a supermarket, homes, bars and restaurants and leisure facilities, including a cinema, was submitted last spring by the council's partner St Modwen after previous proposals were rejected.

READ MORE: Firepool planning application rejected

Explaining the delay in putting the latest application to councillors, Mr Williams said the strategic site is hugely important to Taunton's development.

He added that the council, as the planning authority, must ensure that issues centred on transport and infrastructure identified in the failed application are fully addressed.

"I know how hard those involved are working to ensure these issues are resolved as soon as possible so that we can bring the application to the planning committee soon," said Mr Williams.

"As said previously, it is important that the plans for this strategic site meet all our requirements in line with wider proposals which put the River Tone at the heart of Taunton providing links to the town centre and railway station.

"This is the opportunity to get things right as everyone wants to see high quality development on this important site."

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But LibDem Cllr Habib Farbahi described Firepool as "the jewel in Taunton's crown" that must be valued accordingly for future generations.

"It was a vibrant cattle market bringing people from all over Somerset to the county town and we shouldn't have got rid of it before we had something creditable to go in its place," said Mr Farbahi.

"Not managing to come up with something in ten years is unacceptable.

"People want to come to Taunton, but you have to give them a reason, otherwise they'll look at Exeter and Bristol.

"We need to understand what the emerging markets are so we can entice people with quality jobs in sectors such as renewable energy, education and digital technology."