ALTERNATIVE proposals for a multi-million pound riverside development have been drawn up by two retired planners.

Tony Haskell, one-time county planning officer for Somerset, and former assistant director of planning and architecture at Sunderland City Council Martin Pakes have sent their designs to all Taunton Deane councillors.

Outline planning permission was granted to the council for waterfront restaurants, shops, a gym, apartments and public space.

Detailed plans have now been submitted for the project, which would see the demolition of the former St James Pool and result in the loss of several parking spaces.

READ MORE: 1,000 sign petition calling for Coal Orchard plan to be scrapped

But Mr Pakes said the detailed proposals show little regard for what was originally suggested.

He added: "Visually this is a very important site in Taunton alongside the River Tone, adjacent to the Brewhouse Theatre and with a stunning backdrop of St James Church tower.

"Designing any building alongside a waterfront requires a great deal of care and an appreciation of the scale of features in the immediate area.

"That is why we feel the immense size and bulk of the proposed three-storey of residential and restaurant accommodation too overpowering for this location.

"Taunton deserves better than the proposals currently before the council and it should be withdrawn."

Somerset County Gazette: EATERIES: The suggested restaurant development beside the river front

Mr Pakes and Mr Hasell are proposing:

  • a terrace of two-storey town two and three-bedroom town houses on the swimming pool site above five small shops on the ground floor fronting St James Street and garaging facing Coal Orchard;
  • limited accommodation along with offices and shops beside an enhanced footpath linking the Tone bridge from Morrisons, via the Brewhouse to St James Street via Foundry Road;
  • restaurants and cafes kept to two storeys alongside the river aspect;
  • a reduction in parking slots, but keeping "as many as possible" to boost businesses and assist parking for St James Church, the medical centre and the Brewhouse.

    READ MORE: Plans submitted for Coal Orchard redevelopment

Taunton Deane Borough Council ran a public consultation in the lead up to the planning decision and is unable to comment further on a 'live' planning application.