WORK is underway preparing a massive derelict site in Taunton for a multi-million pound development.

Enabling works on the former livestock market started this week include breaking up the concrete for infrastructure and and utility work.

And work is due to start shortly on refurbishing the GWR building so it can be used initially as the site office on the Firepool plot, which has been vacant since January 2008, when the last market was held.

Somerset West and Taunton Council leader Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts said: "We are making Firepool a top priority in line with our corporate strategy objectives to facilitate development and boost the economy as an enterprising council.

"It is vital as we recover from the effects of coronavirus that we press ahead with our plans to deliver a quality scheme that not only attracts growth and investment, but creates an enjoyable space that reflects our garden town status."

Somerset County Gazette: Firepool £270m development plans unveiled
A previous vision for Firepool

Proposals for the regeneration of Firepool, which were approved by the council in June 2019, outline a framework for delivering the site in blocks for specific uses.

Part of the site has already been brought back into temporary use with a grassed area and footpath.

Work will also begin shortly to create a boulevard link from the railway station, which is currently being redeveloped with the entrance re-orientated to face into Taunton, allowing direct access through Firepool to the town centre.

As a cycleway and footpath, it will be a permanent key feature of the final scheme.

The council is progressing the planning permission through a Local Development Order, which will be available for consultation later in the year and is aimed at speeding up the process.

It is also considering setting up a new company to lead the physical development of the site.