OH dear! Once again I find myself writing to bemoan the lack of beauty and imagination displayed in current Taunton building developments.

My thoughts are prompted first by the recent unveiling of the new blocks on the site of the former swimming pool in St James’ Street, a prime site in a lovely street which now boasts two ugly and featureless square brick blocks where the much loved pool once stood.

My second grumble is particularly directed at the huge 2,000 home Comeytrull development of Orchard Grove (though it applies to many other residential developments), where small, featureless red brick boxes are in course of erection across what were beautiful green fields.

Is cost minimisation, and the pursuit of profit, the only development criterion these days?

It must cost a relatively small amount to provide such features as a bow window, an interesting porch, or even a chimney – the Gatchells development in Trull a few years ago did not include open fireplaces but nevertheless provided each property with an artificial chimney which considerably enhanced its appearance!

Likewise the Amingford Mead development in Staplehay (though consisting of larger houses) shows what can be done if a green field site is treated with some sensitivity.
What has happened to beauty and imagination in property design?

READ MORE: Demolition work starts on St James Street pool in Taunton
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Come on, Somerset West Councillors and planners, let’s have greater encouragement for developers to be a little bolder in their submissions and create homes and other buildings which are a pleasure to look at and live/work in.

Is it too late to bring such considerations to the Firepool site, which despite the new Lib Dem Council’s promise of early transformation, remains a concrete wilderness?

Do we have to rely on a shrinking number of lovely buildings such as our churches, the Museum and The Market House, or may we look forward to something better?