SCORES of people have given their reaction to plans to develop a massive plot off Taunton town centre that has been vacant for almost 12 years.

The latest proposals for what to do with the former livestock market site at Firepool were unveiled to the public at an information event on Monday and Tuesday.

A display at Deane House outlined what little progress there has been since the market closed in January 2008 and was relocated to North Petherton.

But earlier this year outline planning permission was granted to develop Firepool with a performance venue, innovation space, a boutique cinema, pavement cafe, gallery space, restaurants and bars and small scale specialist shops.

A boulevard leading from the train station into the town centre is also planned, including a cycle route and an avenue of trees.

Cllr Marcus Kravis, portfolio holder for asset management and economic development at Somerset West and Taunton Council, said: "These are conceptual plans. As a masterplan, it's a good basis to start from.

"We're really pleased at how many people turned up and are interested to see what comments we get back.

"Firepool is one of our major priorities. It's been sat empty since 2008. We're going to get Firepool sorted.

"It's about time for people in the whole area. Taunton is the county town, a garden town and also the primary shopping centre. This is for the whole district."


TIM DANIELS: "I'm very interested to see it. There's lots of potential. I'm particularly interested to know what they will do with the venue and whether they've considered the opportunity for having a velodrome there. There's no facility like that in the West Country. It's an ideal opportunity."

KEITH GUDGEON: "I've also got a keen interest in a velodrome. But the plans just refer to a performing venue, which could mean anything. The site is a mess at the moment."

JEAN FARMER: "We live in the flats in Dellers Wharf and have been seeing what's been going on at Firepool. I wanted to see what they're planning, but I still don't think it will happen in my lifetime. It took them ten years to put down a piece of grass which they're going to rip up again."

GERALD FARMER: "The plans look good, but time will tell."

MIRIAM NORTON: "It's interesting and I'm impressed. It's about time as it's just a mess at the moment. There have been problems with travellers there. I'll be glad when something gets done. Let's just say I hope it actually happens."