TAUNTON Deane MP Rebecca Pow has welcomed progress at the Firepool development and said she was “instrumental” in securing government funding.

Work on a new road layout between Taunton station and the Firepool site is due to start at the end of January.

The work will create the main access route onto the Firepool site. It will also link the development and the station's car park to the road network.

The changes will allow buses to pick up passengers from the railway station. It is hoped the project will be completed in around five months.

Somerset County Council (SCC), Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT), Great Western Railway and Network Rail are working together on the project.

Funding has come from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Department for Transport, SCC and SWT.

Ms Pow, who has been the MP for Taunton Deane since 2015, says the work will ease congestion at the station.

Somerset County Gazette: Rebecca Pow MP outside the Digital Innovation Centre building site in Taunton.Rebecca Pow MP outside the Digital Innovation Centre building site in Taunton. (Image: Supplied) 

Ms Pow said: “The long-awaited development of Firepool is at last progressing.

“The site will be able to open from the rail station shortly, thanks to government funding, which I was instrumental in securing.

“This will enable improvements to the junction at Trenchard Way at the entrance to the station, and I am pleased that work will start in January.

“This will ease congestion at the station and provide easier access to the Boulevard into Firepool when completed.”

Ms Pow has met members of the Willmott Dixon construction team that is building a Digital Innovation Centre in the county town.

Somerset County Gazette: Rebecca Pow with Willmott Dixon workers at the Firepool site in Taunton.Rebecca Pow with Willmott Dixon workers at the Firepool site in Taunton. (Image: Supplied)

She said: “I was pleased to meet the team from Wilmott Dixon involved in the showcase Digital Innovation Centre being built on the Firepool site.

“I worked with the Local Enterprise Partnership to secure £5 million for the centre, which was one of the few projects in the south west to attract such support.

“This high-tech centre will provide opportunities for start-ups and established tech businesses to operate in a modern environment.

“It will create more jobs in Taunton in tech industries especially for young people.

“This is the kind of enterprise we very much need in the area and I have welcomed working with the government and local stakeholders to enable us.”

Planning permission for the access road into the site from the B3087 Trenchard Way was approved in February.

In March, further permission was granted for two seperate sets of plans related to the Firepool development. 

The plans aim to bring housing, commercial units, a hotel, cinema and possibly a multi-purpose entertainment venue to the former cattle market site.

SWT has launched a consulatation programme on detailed plans for the redevelopment. The council previously consulted the public in November 2019.