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19 to 26 North Street

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A first look at evolving designs for the Debenhams site, if Debenhams closes

Work is continuing on contingency plans in case Debenhams closes, and designs in development for a proposed new building will be presented at a public webinar on Tuesday 18 August, 6pm to 8pm. Registration is via the consultation website at or direct via .

Following the webinar, the designs will be published on the consultation website at and feedback is welcomed.

Mark Lewis, Crossmark, said, ‘We’re very pleased to be presenting the evolving designs for public feedback. I should emphasise that these are not the final designs, but rather a step along the way and we look forward to hearing people’s views on the work that has been done to date. Of course, all the work we are doing comes with a very important caveat, these are contingency plans and we realise they may never be needed. However, if they are, we want to ensure that we can deliver the best possible alternative for this important location and we’re delighted to be working with AWW, who have a proven track record of excellence.’

Project architects, AWW are an award-winning practice based in Bristol, London and Plymouth. Their designs for the Somerset Energy Innovation Hub delivered in partnership with Willmott Dixon, Somerset County Council, Mott MacDonald and BREEAM Official have recently been shortlisted for a Constructing Excellence South West Award for Building of the Year and they actively promote a transparent, iterative and collaborative design process.

Mark AlkerStone, AWW, said, ‘It’s important to show designs and ideas that are still evolving. We believe that it’s crucial to collaborate with as many interested people as possible to support us in the design journey and to ensure that they participate in the future of their community. At the start of the consultation process in May, we shared our analysis of the site and the local environment, and we recently published further information on how our designs are evolving and our proposed approach to materials. During the webinar we’ll be explaining how we have brought all of this work together, to inform and guide how the building will look. Our design work is still in progress, but we are at the stage where we’ve begun to invite engagement in the designs, and we’ll talk a little about the directions we are taking in the webinar.’

Further information about AWW’s site analysis, design evolution and approach to materials is still available on the consultation website at .

Kara de los Reyes, AWW, added, ‘When you’re working intensely on a project, it’s easy to get immersed, which is why it’s so important to. share our ideas and listen to feedback. It’s an integral part of our process. We hold regular internal peer assessments & reviews that provide our colleagues with the opportunity to challenge our designs as they progress, and we’ve just held our first external Design Panel Review. This is where we present our designs to an independent panel of Architects and other Design Professionals and seek their views. We’re now sharing our work publicly and we’re really looking forward to hearing what people in Taunton think.’

The Crossmark Team will also be talking about how they are responding to the consultation feedback they have already received, and members of the public will have the opportunity to ask questions directly.

Posted on 17th August 2020

by Alison Bancroft