PLANS for a multi-million pound development to modernise a "run-down" shopping mall and to create 60 new apartments in the centre of Taunton have been unveiled.

Around three-quarters of the shop floor space in and around Crown Walk would be retained, while the rest would be demolished and replaced by commercial use buildings "within a more attractive environment, including public realm.

The walkway through the shopping precinct between High Street and The Crescent car park would remain, but would be "much improved" and would be permanently open, rather than closing during shopping hours, as is currently the case.

Taunton Central Holdings has submitted a planning application for the scheme to Somerset West and Taunton Council.Somerset County Gazette:

The site, which includes 59 to 63 High Street and which comprises three-storey buildings surrounding Crown Walk, would be reconfigured to feature commercial use on the ground floor, with the construction of two more levels.

A statement with the planning application says: "The existing buildings have fallen into disrepair and do not make a positive contribution to the High Street or broader town centre, offering a poor pedestrian environment and an unattractive shopping experience.

"A redevelopment of the site is proposed comprising of the retention of 2, 563sq m of retail and other commercial use floorspace, the demolition of 875 sq m of commercial use floorspace (including the existing walkway through the site) and its replacement with 720sq m of reconfigured commercial use floorspace within a more attractive environment, including public realm.

"In addition, the scheme will deliver 60 new apartments comprising of a mix of one, two and three bedroomed units.

"These will be provided across four upper floors above the ground floor commercial floorspace but will be provided with associated communal amenity space in the form of a terrace garden at first floor level.’

The two apartments already included in the premises would be retained, as would the large Iceland store.

Overall there would be 22 one-bedroom flats; 23 two-bedroom flats; and six three-bedroom flats.

Somerset County Gazette:

The summary of the proposals says: "The application proposes the redevelopment of a run-down, town centre shopping precinct which will deliver a reconfigured and enhanced commercial floorspace; a permanent and more attractive pedestrian route between the Crescent car park and High Street and the associated public realm enhancement that would bring; an enhanced frontage to Crescent car park; and town centre housing in a highly sustainable location making efficient use of a brownfield site.

"The proposals would bring much-needed investment in this part of the town centre."