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Firepool development still facing challenges

The troubled Firepool development faces further challenges from a group of businesses who are calling for the council to invest in the town centre rather than in an hotel development.  The proposed application for the council owned Market and Priory Bridge site would leave potential for the hotel with the authority making a commercial investment to build the accommodation, retaining ownership of the lease to make a return on the investment.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce have always maintained that the site needs to represent a mixed-use development with business, leisure and residential catered for that compliments and increases viability of business in the town centre.  Chris Langdon – Interim CEO commented. “As the options for this site are being considered it is very important that the council properly consults and takes accounts of the viability of businesses that have already heavily invested in Taunton. I question whether public sector funds should be utilised in ways that results in unfair competition with private sector investment – perhaps the answer is some positive collaboration!”

Nigel Pearce of Taunton Chamber of Commerce commented “We’ve had a long-term interest in the Firepool site and are in regular contact with all parties including the Council and businesses within the town centre.  Obviously any commercial enterprise needs to provide a viable return on investment but it must not compromise investment into the high street and town as a whole.”

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