THE Government has pledged £5.5million towards a digital innovation centre in Taunton.

The 3,000 square metre project is expected to be built on the intended zero-carbon former livestock market at Firepool.

It will support clean and productivity-led growth and flexible, high quality innovation and collaboration space.

The scheme will also support services targeted at new start and existing businesses in or moving into the digital economy.

The Government is also allocating £400,000 to meet the unresolved funding shortfall to create road access to Taunton Station and the Firepool development.

It will include a traffic signal junction and associated pedestrian crossing enhancement.

The grants are part of the Government's support for more than 300 'shovel-ready' projects in England to share £900 million investment to build homes and infrastructure and create jobs.

Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow said: “As we kickstart the economy and begin to recover from coronavirus, never has the Government’s agenda to level up the whole country been so important.

Somerset County Gazette:

"That’s why I am delighted Taunton Deane will directly benefit from this Government money – helping to build the infrastructure our community needs while supporting jobs over the months and years ahead.

"I’ve been working with stakeholders to secure a Digital Innovation Centre as the heart of the Firepool development and it is welcome news that this will now come to fruition.

"It will develop an area of expertise that will not just benefit the local economy but will have wider regional and national consequences too.

"The funding for the Firepool and Taunton Station access is also vital and welcome as it will now enable the station upgrade to be completed. This was one of my original election commitments when I was first elected.

"Through important funds such as this, we can build our way back to health – with our communities stronger, more united and more connected than ever before.”

Matthew Golton, interim managing director for GWR, said: “This is fantastic news. Work is underway on the new multi-storey car park, and the station improvements at Taunton and this last piece of the funding jigsaw will mean Somerset County Council will now be able to make the highway changes to improve access.

"This has been a real partnership project from the start, with the support of business, councils and national Government.

"Everyone has worked so hard to get us to this point and this will make such a difference for our customers.”

Cllr David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council said: "I am delighted that we have funding through the LEP for these two really important schemes, especially the Taunton Digital Innovation Centre.

"I am very grateful to Rebecca Pow MP for her hard work and efforts to secure this money.”

We have approached Somerset West and Taunton Council for a comment.