Helping to shape Taunton's development

Leading campaigns for Taunton's Heritage

Taunton’s 'Garden Town' designation means that rapid expansion of the town is already underway ...

Arts Taunton remains deeply committed to the built heritage of the town and the quality of design in Taunton more generally. Taunton’s ‘Garden Town’ designation means that rapid expansion of the town is already underway and AT has been actively campaigning for both better protection for heritage buildings and better design for new ones.

We have led the campaign to save the fine Art Deco Debenham’s building in the town centre, which was threatened not only with demolition but replacement with a vast and overbearing block of flats on what is a sensitive historic site. At the time of writing, the owner, the BP pension fund, has withdrawn the much-criticised plans.

We have engaged in all urban planning and design consultations held by the Council, including those relating to the Firepool site, and vigorously supported the Council’s Public Realm Design Guides, which are an important step in defining what kind of built future Taunton wants.

Taunton’s expansion includes proposals for an enormous quantity of new housing. In response, we have established a highly successful working relationship with the campaign group Create Streets, world-leaders in sustainable and beautiful urban design. By sponsoring seminars and brokering meetings between Create Streets and local planners, we’ve encouraged the highest possible quality of design in all new development across the town. This has led to well-received ‘friendly critiques’ of the Monkton Heathfield site, ensuring a greater emphasis on walkability, public transport, cycling, local building materials and beauty. The impact of these reports has been significant and the warm relationships developed when discussing them has been heartening.