WORK on the multi-million pound redevelopment of one of Taunton's largest employers is well underway.

Staff at marine chart makers UK Hydrographic Office are set to move into their modern offices in the spring of next year once construction has been completed.

The new environmentally-friendly premises on the agency's existing Admiralty Way site will replace ageing buildings that are inefficient and expensive to maintain.

Construction work began in May last year following the demolition of a number of surplus buildings and the existing car park and the team recently celebrated the new building's topping out ceremony to mark it reaching its maximum height.

Somerset County Gazette:

The UKHO site before work on the new office started.

UKHO project manager Jo Funnell said the new office would boast up-to-date technology enabling the global leader to sustain it long-term data-centric future.

She added: "I’m delighted with the progress that has been made to date.

"The new build will support smarter ways of working here at the UKHO, using new technology and modern office practices, which is hugely exciting for us.

"The project will also ensure that our world-leading organisation will remain in Taunton for many years to come, so we hope that the design will be something the community can be proud of."

Somerset County Gazette:

Image of what the completed Hydro office will look like.

AHR Architects, BAM Construction, Mace Group, J Price Consulting and Hydrock engineering have been appointed to work on the redevelopment and all costs associated with the project are being met by the UKHO from business receipts as a self-funded agency rather than from taxpayers' money.

The building will be operational from spring 2019, when work will begin on decommissioning and demolishing the remaining old buildings, creating surplus land at the front of the site which will be sold for housing development.

The UKHO's future at its current base in Taunton was confirmed in recent years following a period of uncertainty when the Ministry of Defence looked into the possibility of relocating it.

Bosses investigated transferring the organisation to Exeter or to another site in Taunton such as Firepool, but the Government decided to redevelop the existing site after fierce lobbying from interested parties in the Taunton area.