Taunton Riverside progress

A temporary footpath is being created through the Coal Orchard site in Taunton during the Christmas period. This will allow access into Riverside Place and the Brewhouse from the bridge at Morrisons. It is an opportunity for residents to see how the Somerset West & Taunton Council’s project is progressing.

The riverside between the Brewhouse Theatre and North Street has long had the potential to be more than it is. The Council with development partner Midas Construction is delivering a welcome regeneration. It will see a mix of apartments, retail, workspace, and restaurants. The project includes significant improvements to public spaces around the site. These will include a terrace down to the river, creating a new accessible plaza at the water’s edge. The Quay and the Wharf will be the first accommodation blocks finished to be complete and handed over, with the Jetty following.

The official handover date is March 2022. That would be good news for the traders in the area who have had footfall hit by the work. Unfortunately SWT are not confident the date will be met. They note that “there are still challenges being faced nationally in sourcing some materials and labour.” Even so SWT reckon they are doing just fine. They have already secured lettings or taken reservations on 29 of the 40 apartments. They’ve also received a number of expressions of interest in the commercial units.

Good news for SWT. The project however has been tough on local traders. The many unique Retailers and businesses around St James Street, Riverside Place and the Courtyard have not had an easy ride of late. On top of the pandemic, the construction works have inevitably had an impact on trade. The area around here has many unique retailers and businesses.

SWT is hoping traders in what they have branded “Taunton’s independent quarter” will get a boost from the new footpath.

To help promote the area SWT is providing festive lighting and decorations, along with extra signage to the area. There will also be live music at an event to celebrate Small Business Saturday on 4 December.

Cllr Marcus Kravis explains “The Council wants to help the retail community in this area thrive with the creation of spaces that are attractive and inviting with fewer vehicles and less pollution leading to increased investment.”

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