THE next phase of a major low-cost housing scheme in Somerset’s county town can move forward following a key decision by Somerset Council.

The North Taunton Woolaway Project will eventually see 162 ‘defective’ Woolaway homes in the Priorswood area of Taunton demolished and replaced by nearly 230 low-carbon council houses – with a further 27 homes being refurbished.

Phase A of the project is now complete, delivering 47 new homes across five sites, comprising 21 new builds and 26 replacement properties.

The council has now appointed contractors to take forward the next phase of the project, with a further 53 dwellings being delivered once the existing properties have been demolished.

Phases B and C of the project (replacing 136 existing dwellings with 111 higher quality properties) received planning permission from Somerset West and Taunton Council back in July 2022.

Due to the ongoing phosphates crisis, work on these phases has been subdivided to allow planning officers more time to secure mitigation, both within the development site and elsewhere within the River Tone catchment area.

Under the new proposals, Hughes and Salvidge will handle all remaining demolitions under phases B, C and D of the scheme (with phase E comprising the refurbishment of existing homes).

The Portsmouth-based firm will also undertake the demolition of obsolete council properties on Coleridge Crescent and Wordsworth Drive, which will be replaced under a separate scheme.

Somerset County Gazette: Councillors Federica Smith-Roberts and Bill Revans inside one of the new Taunton council housesCouncillors Federica Smith-Roberts and Bill Revans inside one of the new Taunton council houses (Image: Daniel Mumby)

Once the demolition is complete, work will begin on Phase B and part of Phase C, which comprises 51 new homes on and around Durham Place and Oxford Place, along with the creation of two further homes in what was originally intended to be a community centre on Rochester Road.

If the council is satisfied with the new contractor’s performance, the contract includes an optional extension which will allow the same company to deliver the remaining properties in Phase C and the entirety in Phase D – with these later stages yielding a total of 129 new homes.

The council’s original contractor for the scheme, Equans, announced in April 2023 that it was “pulling out of new contracts in the south west”.

While the company has successfully completed work on Phase A of the scheme, it did not put itself forward for the new contract covering the remainder of the work.

The identity of the new contractor has not yet been made public due to commercial sensitivity.

The council’s executive committee signed off on the new contract when it met in Taunton on Wednesday morning (March 6).

Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts, portfolio holder for communities, housing and culture, welcomed the new contract and described the scheme as “life-changing” for local residents.

Council leader Bill Revans added: “It’s lovely to have a good news story.

“Having visited the site, I was very impressed by the quality of the homes.”

Demolition work on the next phases of the site is expected to begin later in the spring. with Phase B expected to be completed in late-2025.

For more information about the North Taunton Woolaway project, visit