AMBITIOUS plans to transform the Firepool area of Taunton took a major step forward this week.

Gadd Homes and Abbey Manor Developments gained planning approval for their masterplan; and initial phase of offices.

The mixed-use scheme comprises offices, apartments - ranging from studios to penthouses - a number of canalside townhouses, plans for a convenience store, and conversion of the listed pumphouse building into a restaurant, set in an extensive public square.

The phased redevelopment will reinstate public access to the towpath on the north bank of the canal, linked to a number of active leisure areas and a wildlife area focused on an attenuation pond.

The first phase of residential area, which consists of 100 apartments and four townhouses, forming a courtyard open to the canalside to the south, will be submitted for detailed planning approval at the beginning of January.

The redevelopment of the derelict site marks the start of Taunton Vision.

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