Preparatory work for the multimillion pound regeneration of Taunton Station has got underway with the establishment of a site compound, and the closure of the main car park.
Great Western Railway is working with Somerset West and Taunton Council and the Heart of South West Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver the scheme, designed to help support the town’s economic development plans.
Improvements for the station are planned to include a new multi-storey car park; a new ticket office and entrance and additional bike spaces. An improved bus and taxi interchange and easier access to the town centre and Firepool development will all help improve the customer experience for people visiting the town by train – a number that is expected to double over the next 10 years.
With the site compound starting to take shape, actual construction work is due to begin later this Summer, to be completed in spring 2020.
A temporary replacement car park is being provided on the opposite side of the station, as part of the phased construction process.
GWR Head of Commercial Development Clare Kingswood said: “Taunton station is a key gateway to the town and with the overall investment in the rail network – including brand new Intercity Express Trains that have already increased capacity by almost 25% than the trains they have replaced – we are expecting passenger numbers to increase significantly over the next decade.
“We are pleased to be working with Somerset West and Taunton Council and the Heart of South West LEP to deliver the additional car park and bike spaces that Taunton has needed for some time, and it’s fantastic to see another phase of the work begin – with the site compound going in.”
Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Steve Hindley, CBE DL, said: “We are delighted that this major project to improve Taunton station is now getting under way, with a £4.6m contribution from our Local Growth Fund. This significant investment will not only transform the station environment and improve its accessibility, but also act as a catalyst for commercial and residential development in the area around the station.
“It’s part of the LEP’s wider strategic infrastructure programme to improve connectivity throughout the HotSW area of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.”
Executive Member for Economic Development at Somerset West and Taunton Council, Cllr Habib Farbahi, said: “The redevelopment of Taunton railway station including the provision of multi-storey car parking and public transport facilities is an essential part of planning and investing for the future. The creation of a new south-facing gateway onto Firepool aligns with our own ambitions for business investment and growth, and has long been a feature of the town centre regeneration plans. It’s an integral part of our intention to link the station more strongly with the town centre through our proposed boulevard giving residents and visitors a truly welcoming experience which aligns with our Garden Town status. The upgraded and enhanced pedestrian and cycle access will be part of the first phase of development at Firepool.”
Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“Modern transport hubs and better town centre access are crucial if we want to transform local growth prospects for the better. This is why I am delighted that our £4.6m Growth Deal Investment is helping to make the regeneration of Taunton Railway Station a reality for residents, businesses and visitors of this historic town. Once completed, the benefits of the development will be felt for decades to come as the area makes the most of its true potential.”
The temporary car park can be found beyond the Kilkenny Car Park at TA1 1QP, and customers are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.