Work under way in first part of £13.9m improvement scheme in Taunton town centre

Work has begun on a green link between Taunton Railway Station and the town’s riverside.

The northern section of the Firepool Boulevard will provide a walking and cycling route from the recently revamped station, past the new Innovation Centre and connect Trenchard Way to Canal Road.

As well as the space for walkers and cyclists, the route will feature seating and green spaces/rain gardens for people to stop and relax.

Funded by a Government grant, the boulevard will be a safe, green throughfare for people travelling from the north of the town towards the centre – including thousands of cricket fans heading for the Somerset County Cricket Ground from the station.

The boulevard plans are part of the twice consulted on Firepool masterplan, developed after Somerset West and Taunton Council was awarded government funding.

The work is the first half of a £13.96m project that will eventually create a 1.5km long safe, accessible and enjoyable cycling and walking link all the way from the railway station to Vivary Park.

Councillor Ros Wyke, Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning & Assets, said: “This should be a real game-changer for the way that people get around our County Town, be it local residents or visitors arriving by train and bus.

“Investment like this is vitally important to Taunton’s vibrant future so we’re thrilled to see this ambitious scheme underway. It’s part of a bigger picture which is about creating a cleaner, greener, flourishing town centre which will benefit everyone, including businesses.”

The council’s contractor, Milestone, has started groundworks on the northern section of the boulevard and the scheme is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

The development will use same York stone paving used at the recent Railway Station multistorey car park development. This stone will continue down the Boulevard all the way to the Riverside and has also been used at the Coal Orchard development.

Contracts for the delivery of the southern section of the boulevard, from the Riverside to Vivary Park, are due to be awarded later this summer.

Both parts of the site will be delivered using Future High Street Funding.

The council received £13.96m for Firepool, Coal Orchard and Active Travel improvements.