A FORMER pub in Taunton town centre will become a new home for up to 15 people after plans were approved.

The Pen and Quill pub was based on the A38 Shuttern, a stone’s throw from County Hall and Taunton’s former police station, before its closure in early-2012.

Permission was previously granted by Taunton Deane Borough Council to turn the building in seven flats, with work getting under way in March 2021.

However, these plans ultimately did not come to fruition and the building was sold at public auction in December 2022.

Addison Harper LLP has now secured permission from Somerset Council to turn the former pub into a 15-bed house of multiple occupancy (HMO), with conversion work expected to get under way by the end of the summer.

A HMO is a form of licensed residential property where the occupants each have a private bedroom but share a kitchen, bathroom and communal living area.

The grade two listed building lies within walking distance of Taunton’s main shopping streets, along with other facilities – meaning that it does not have to provide a significant amount of parking on the neighbouring streets.

A spokesman for 3bd Architects (representing the developer) said: “The site is well serviced by public transport and is in a central location with close proximity to shops.

“It is therefore believed vehicular parking is not required to be provided on site.

“Secure and covered cycle storage provisions have been included to promote sustainable methods of transport.

“An array of photovoltaic panels is being proposed, to be located on
the south-facing roof planes of the main buildings.

“These will not be visible from the public highway, preserving the appearance of the listed building.”

Taunton Town Council unsuccessfully pushed for a smaller number of dwellings on this site, raising concerns about the lack of on-site parking.

The plans were approved through the delegated powers of Somerset Council’s planning officers, rather than a public decision by its planning committee west (which handles major applications in the former Somerset West and Taunton area).

Work to rearrange the internal layout of the building is expected to get under way in the coming months.