WORK is finally expected to start next month on a multi-million pound homes, shops and restaurants development off Taunton town centre.

The riverside scheme on the car park at Coal Orchard will include 42 one and two-bedroom flats, shops, restaurants, offices and a gym.

Work had been due to start in February following the demolition of the former St James Pool at the end of last year.

But there have been unspecified finance issues that have delayed progress.

Somerset West and Taunton Council earlier this month approved additional spending on the project.

And a bid for Government cash under the Future High Streets Fund has progressed to the next round, with a decision due to be announced next year.

In a report to tomorrow's council meeting, Cllr Marcus Kravis, lead member for asset management and economic development, will say work is expected to start on site late in August, with completion due in spring 2021.

Meanwhile, there is still no date for work to start at the former cattle market site at Firepool, which has been vacant since January 2008.

The council is looking at the best way forward and the next report is due in December.