A FOUR-storey block with offices above a café or shop and a restaurant on the former Taunton Livestock Market site look set to get the go-ahead from planners today (Thursday, March 17).

Somerset West and Taunton Council's planning committee meeting this afternoon has been recommended to approve the full application on 'Block 3' at Firepool.

The site off Canal Road has been largely unused since the market relocated to North Petherton in January 2008.

The proposed new office building would be on land south of Trenchard Way, while the Great Western Railway building would be extended to form the restaurant.

A landscaped public realm terrace with raised planters with seating, trees and rainwater gardens, as well as spill-out space "to maximise activity" could be implemented on the northern section of the proposed boulevard, which offers a pedestrian and cycle connection from Taunton Station to the Cooper Associates County (cricket) Ground beside the River Tone.

The proposals, originally submitted in November last year, include the installation of an external lift to the main building.

Ancillary uses for the new building, which would include small rentable office spaces, would include cycle, changing places, toilets, disabled parking spaces, a delivery space.

A report to the planning committee says: "The GWR building is to be refurbished and the ground floor is proposed to be extended outwards to provide a larger ground floor footprint that makes use of the external space to the south and west.

"The proposed terrace area which is created by the roof of the ground floor extension and provides an inherent sense of activity around the building and will provide users with views over the proposed boulevard.

"The main entrance will be through the terrace with a secondary/service entrance to the east. This side extension will only take place once an occupant is found."

Initially, an interim vehicular access would be via Canal Road, although permission has already been granted for an alternative access from Trenchard Way, which would be used in the future.

The report adds: "The application is being brought forward by the Somerset West and Taunton Council (which owns the land) after the site has lain dormant for many years and to provide some stimulus to unblock and unlock the site for development."