PLANS to build a retirement complex on the site of a demolished office block in Taunton have been approved.

Developer Quantum applied for planning permission to build 88 assisted living extra care apartments in Paul Street, Taunton.

When built the seven-floor development on the site of the former Quantock House will include a ground-floor restaurant, parking for cars and mobility scooters and public art.

Taunton Deane Borough councillors and residents spoke in support of the scheme at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday (September 12) and said they think it will be an ‘asset’ to the community.

Richard Holt from Taunton Dementia Action Alliance said he ‘whole-heartedly supports’ the plans as he thinks they will help bring older people in Taunton into the community.

“I am happy to support these proposals. I am sure you are all aware of the ageing population of Taunton,” Mr Holt said.

“I think that this will be a good thing for the people of Taunton who are reaching retirement age.

“It is good to know that they will have everything on their doorstep. They will have access to libraries, community centres and shops.”

Councillor Marcia Hill also showed support for the plans and said the design is ‘attractive’ and ‘modern’.

“We need modern next to the old in Taunton, I think they will enhance each other,” Cllr Hill said.

“I would give this my 100 per cent backing.”

Councillor Simon Coles said he thinks the development will be a ‘positive change’ for Taunton. 

“I think this is a really intuitive way to use the site, anything will be better than the building there at the moment,” Mr Coles said.

But Cllr Ian Morrell expressed concerns about the project and said he has fears health services will be strained if more people move into Taunton.

"Clearly what we have here is nothing less than what Quantock House was before,"Cllr Morrell said.

Cllr Morrell said reports in the planning application did not address the impact the development will have on health care.

Despite his concerns councillors voted to approve the scheme at the meeting on Wednesday (September 12).