A BUSINESSMAN who has "fallen in love with Taunton" hopes to boost other companies and attract people into the town.

Jon Air is converting a former restaurant overlooking the River Tone into a cafe along with hot desking and co-working space.

The former Riverside Restaurant, in Bridge Street, which closed in the summer, will contain a public cafe area; a meeting room for up to 14 people; a lounge area where home workers can meet suppliers or host meetings; a couple of meeting spaces; and several hot desks.

The restaurant, which is part of Dellers Wharf and is below Zinc nightclub, closed over the summer.

Mr Air, who has an office in Lower Middle Street, said: "I have now embarked on creating a vibrant hot desking/co-working space to draw people into Taunton town centre and to strengthen the links to remote workers and build a community.

"I've lived in the Taunton area for around five years and I've fallen in love with it.

"But various things need doing to make a reason for people to come into town."

Mr Air, whose background is in tech and who has started up and sold a couple of ventures in Bristol, added: "I've been looking to build a business in Taunton and over time I realised the kind of office space I was thinking about wasn't going to be in one of the office parks on the outskirts.

"It was clear there is a need for hot desking where people who work at home or who are consultants can come together."

People can take out membership of the new venture, which is due to open on January 15, or even day memberships or permanent space bookings.

Mr Air said: "Of all the projects I've ever done, this one has aroused the most interest. I've already couple of business breakfasts booked.

"It's going to give people who maybe work from home the chance to connect with other people - that's a common theme we're getting.

"The cafe bars in Taunton are great, but they're not set up for you to work in."

Mr Air this week appointed a general manager, who will head up a team of around eight staff.

In the future, Mr Air hopes to build a deck out over the river, for which he already has planning permission.