PROPOSALS have been unveiled to demolish Taunton‘s biggest shop to make way for up to 92 apartments.
A planning application has been lodged with Somerset West and Taunton Council to knock down the Debenhams store in 19 to 26 North Street.
The application on behalf of Ropemaker Properties says the plans are “a contingency approach to the site should the existing occupiers vacate”.
Debenhams is currently in administration and unless a buyer can be found will close by March.
A range of options has been considered for the building, which front onto North Street and looks over Goodland Gardens, including redeveloping the existing premises.
A statement to the planners says: “The existing building has a deep and irregular floor plate and covers the entire extent of the site which measures 0.23 ha.
“It is functionally a single aspect building with no overlooking or interrelationship with the public open space.
“This is a major detractor in the area and isolates rather than integrates Goodland Gardens into the town centre.
“Similarly, it also acts as a barrier between the primary shopping area and the river corridor in this part of the town.
“It has been identified as one of the key locations for enhancement within the adopted Taunton Town Centre Area Action Plan.”
The developers would wish to build the apartments over four floors, with a ground floor frontage of “flexible commercial spaces”
There would be 28 car parking spaces and 200 bike spaces and a new residents’ garden area.
The building currently features 6,815sq m of retail space over four floors, three of them above ground.
It was comprehensively rebuilt in the 1960s when Debenhams took over the building then known as Chapmans.