Riverside balconies and a range of shops… Taunton Debenhams ideas revealed

BALCONIES overlooking the River Tone, with shops on the ground floor…

Developer Crossfire and architects AWW revealed the computer-generated images of how the North Street site could look at a virtual event on Tuesday evening.

The firms were keen to stress that the plans are very much in the development stage and how the plans are a contingency only, should should the struggling retailer close the outlet.

They have been produced after the first stage of a consultation project over the plans.

Mark Lewis, from Crossmark, said: “Our ongoing hope is that Debenhams will be able to resolve their ongoing difficulties, possibly under new ownership, as the best outcome for all concerned is for Debenhams to continue to trade successfully in Taunton.

“However, we are also very aware of the damage that will be caused if they leave without contingency plans in place.

“A large empty store in this location would not only affect the owner of the building, but also exacerbate the challenges being faced by other retailers in the town centre.

“We are doing our best to ensure that this does not happen, and we are now moving to the second stage of our public consultation process.”

READ MORE: ‘Contingency plans’ unveiled for Debenhams store
READ MORE: Sketches outline design ideas for Debenhams site in Taunton

People are being encouraged to have their say on the plans – via www.19to26northstreet.co.uk – with a range of options being considered for any planning application.

“During Stage One consultation, one of the main themes that emerged was a desire to see unrestricted age apartments (rather than apartments for over 55s),” the company said.

“Following this feedback, the Project Team have been looking at ways of changing the apartments to unrestricted age use, and discussions are ongoing to see if this will be possible.

“The key issue is parking, as higher parking numbers are generally required for non-age restricted schemes.

“However, as councils across the country declare a climate emergency, approaches to parking provision are changing, particularly in sustainable locations such as this, and new policies are emerging nationally, including policies for less on-site car parking in sustainable locations.

“Given the town centre location, with strong transport links and all day to day facilities and services within walking distance, there is a strong argument for unrestricted age apartments with low parking numbers.

“This reduction in parking spaces would be supported by a range of other measures, including an accredited, publicly accessible car club, with charging points for hybrid/fully electric vehicles.

“Significant amounts of cycle parking will be provided, with approximately 200 cycle storage spaces. A bike pool and e-bike charging facilities are also being considered.”

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