WHAT is believed to be the first Pride Rainbow Path in the UK is set to be created in Taunton town centre.

The design will run from the entrance to Goodland Gardens from Bridge Street, carrying on for 62 metres parallel to the River Tone before curving off into the hard surface area in the gardens.

Somerset West and Taunton Council sports, parks and leisure portfolio holder Cllr Derek Perry has approved the feature, which supporters say will be a testament to the town's inclusivity.

In a statement announcing the decision - which is subject to a call-in - Cllr Perry said: "It is expected, due to the specification of the paint and the volume of footfall, that this footpath will mean that maintenance will not be required for a minimum of 15 years creating a permanent feature in the park.

"The rainbow path will also include the 'progress' colours which will add a chevron along the hoist that features black, brown, light blue, pink, and white stripes to bring those communities - (marginalised people) - to the forefront.

"The arrow points to the right to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress is being made."

The Rainbow Path is the brainchild of Jenny Keogh and Liz Hutchin, of Go Create.

In a statement, they said: "The rainbow footpath will signal to both visitors and the community that Taunton is making considerable steps towards embracing equality, diversity and inclusion and visibly trying to overcome any inequalities.

"We would like to take these practical steps - by creating these bright and colourful installations – towards making Taunton an accepting, inclusive place to be and that everyone is welcome regardless of how they might identify within the community.

"We believe that there are no other rainbow footpaths in the UK. The examples we found are in Australia and Iceland. This could put Taunton on the ‘inclusivity’ map."

They added that sitting the path in Goodland Gardens was a "safe location" that would offer people a "photo opportunity" and guide them towards shops and businesses.

A statement added: "Everyone will benefit from this burst of colour and fun, but the clear signal that Taunton is an open, friendly and inclusive place for everyone is absolutely vital as we emerge from the pandemic - young and old alike will delight in taking photographs on the pathways, which is why we have not planned to paint the road crossings as this would not be responsible in terms of safety and distraction to motorists and pedestrians.

"Although great strides have been made by authorities, organisations, schools and colleges to promote acceptance and understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, there are still young people who fear, or feel uncomfortable being who they are, in public, in Taunton.

"We need to demonstrate that we are making efforts to overcome these inequalities."

The cost of creating the Rainbow Path will come from Taunton’s Emergency Town Centre Recovery Fund.