THE look of Taunton’s historic County Ground changed forever with the launch of a major Somerset County Cricket Club redevelopment, the County Gazette reported back in January 2008.

The bulldozers had moved into the ground off St James Street.

Much of the ground’s western perimeter had been demolished to make way for three new stands with 3,000 seats, a new scoreboard and groundstaff facilities and 65 luxury apartments for the over-55s, half with views of the field and now known as Pegasus Court.

The work began with the demolition of the River Stand before the Stragglers Pavilion was brought down a few days afterwards.

A club spokesperson told the Gazette the stands were expected to be finished during the peak of the cricket season in mid August.

The apartments were expected to be completed ready for the first residents to move in by the following March, in time for the start of the 2009 cricket season.

The redevelopment would also see a new public space between the County Ground, The Brewhouse and the River Tone, fronted by a restaurant and shops.

Ian Franklin, project director of Project Taunton, which oversaw plans for large-scale development in the county town, said: “The development heralds the beginning of the town’s regeneration and is a huge step forward for Project Taunton.”

Mr Franklin said the cricket club was part of a proposed new cultural quarter extending along the River Tone from Priory Bridge and including The Brewhouse, Coal Orchard, the Museum of Somerset and Castle Green.

Peter Askew, chief executive of Pegasus Retirement Homes, which was planning to invest £15million into the housing development, said: “Pegasus’ apartments will have fantastic views of the cricket ground and River Tone.

“And with more than 16,000 over-60s living in Taunton, it will provide much needed, purpose-built retirement property in the area.”

As all cricket fans can testify, the historic ground - now known as the Cooper Associates County Ground - boasts modern facilities enhancing the unique atmosphere on match days.

And thousands of people have in recent years enjoyed music concerts there from stars including Rod Stewart, Elton John and Lionel Richie.