Arts Taunton has a particular interest in the sensitive redevelopment of Firepool. Firepool is the derelict 14 acre site of the old livestock market, which links the railway station and the River Tone in the centre of the town. Arts Taunton’s vision and hope is that a multi-purpose venue be installed here that is flexible enough to cater for all our town’s requirements, be it entertainment, business conferencing or exhibitions. We believe a venue of this nature will be well utilised by local people and draw visitors to our town.
Once in a lifetime
Firepool is a prime site, and we think it offers Taunton a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform itself. We want our county town to be a major regional destination for the quality of its arts and culture and to connect our arts offering to our magical countryside.
We were pleased to see that all of these factors are reflected in Taunton’s ‘Vision for our Garden Town’ published by the council in February 2019. We’re delighted to learn that the recently elected administration of the new Somerset West & Taunton District Council shares our hopes. We look forward to working in partnership with the Council to help realise this vision.
We see a coherent plan for Firepool as an urgent priority and the people of Taunton are often telling us this, at our public meetings and on our Facebook site. We hear that a multi-purpose venue, a big flexible entertainment space, is what they want. We also hear that people want lots of parking, a large pedestrianised area with cafes, independent shops and a whole range of cultural activities families can enjoy. We urge the Council to reject any piecemeal redevelopment of this valuable site and to think big and think bold.
A recent article carried in The Guardian (20 May 2019) clearly showcases what can happen when a town gets together with a vision. Read about it here
Place-making and a natural USP
All our research confirms that this is what people are looking for to regenerate our county town and, geographically, there is no better location in the West of England! All routes – by motorway, road or rail – lead to Taunton.
One other important thought on the redevelopment of Firepool: as you will read here about the Glover Review. Taunton is surrounded by stunning countryside – the Quantocks, Exmoor, the Blackdown Hills and the Somerset Levels – and this offers us a unique selling point.
In this online, accessible world, place-making is everything. We believe that a visitor centre on Firepool which celebrates the wonders and beauty of the unique land and seascapes surrounding us would make the town a magnet for tourists to the region.