I WRITE in respect of the proposals for the new Taunton Station car park.

As readers of the County Gazette will appreciate from the images in last week’s edition, the new building will be substantial, ugly and appears to be constructed with cheap metal mesh cladding.

Most concerning is the prominent position of the building which will create a permanent blot on the town’s skyline.

Network Rail has presumably identified this site as it is in their ownership and consequently are hoping to avoid having to apply for planning permission.

However, the local authority does have the potential to object and obstruct the development and I would urge the council to do everything in their power to stop this damaging proposal. At the very least the proposal should be subject to independent design review.

READ MORE: REVEALED: Multi-million pound plan for new car park at Taunton train station

Of course, there is a need for more car parking capacity at the station and this should be provided by a multi-story car park on the existing Kilkenny site in the local authority’s ownership.

The south side of the station, as has previously been proposed, should be a bus interchange enabling people visiting the town to access other parts of Taunton and beyond.

There would still be room for Network Rail to develop small-scale shops, offices and conference facilities on their site and hopefully build something that enhances the area and complements the listed buildings in the station concourse.

The exhibition of the proposal (open for five hours during the day and hidden behind the scaffolding of Great Western House) was not a consultation. There were no facilities for recording views, no more information than appeared in the County Gazette and no online facility for registering people’s opinions. It was a complete failure in community engagement.

In 2012, the Firepool Lock flats was one of the runners-up in the annual Carbuncle Cup competition for the worst new building in the UK. It looks like Network Rail is aiming to go one better.