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19 to 26 North Street

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Could the ground floor be used for small independent businesses and potentially an indoor market?

Encouraging lively ground floor uses that contribute to the vitality of the town centre is a priority, and we asked what ground floor uses you would like to see.

To date, from the options provided, ‘Leisure uses’ and ‘Food and beverage’ have received the most votes (7 each) with ‘Gallery or showrooms’ and ‘Community use’ coming second (5 votes each). ‘Clinic/health care’, ‘Office/coworking’ and ‘Retail’ are currently joint third (4 votes each) and ‘Professional services’ is last (2 votes). (There is still plenty of time to add your views.)

Many of the comments made suggested that the ground floor could be used by small independent businesses and/or a quality indoor market with a focus on food, and that such use could complement existing farmer’s markets, farm shops and food festivals. A number of examples were cited, including: Boxpark (in Wembley, Croydon and Shoreditch), the Corn Exchange/St Nicholas Market (Bristol), The Artisan Food Hall (Hull), and Darts Farm (Exeter). A town centre outlet for Rumwell Farm Shop was suggested.

Community uses were also suggested, with ideas for a public art gallery, an art centre with a small performance space, co-working space, spaces for hire, a drop-in centre for use by various groups and organisations on different days, and a multi-purpose sports area.

Ben Read, Black Box Planning, commented ‘Our proposals will adopt a flexible approach to active ground floor use to help preserve a vital and viable town centre. This will make it possible for there to be a range of appropriate uses in a mix of size formats.’

However, the final use of the space will not be determined by Crossmark.

Kieran Mitchell, Crossmark, said ‘To make it possible for this to be a multi-use space, there would need to be a tenant who wanted take the financial responsibility for the main lease and manage the space. This tenant would then sub-let spaces to the traders. They would need proof of track record and need to be financially robust to justify the set-up costs, such as fit out. As with all occupiers, this means they would need evidence of their ability to pay the rent and rates’.

Should Debenhams cease trading in Taunton, which we continue to hope will not be the case, Crossmark are happy to consider the possibility of a multi-use trial on a Meanwhile Use basis. This would give a potential occupier the opportunity to test the idea at minimal risk in the period between Debenhams closing and redevelopment beginning.

The project team are continuing to work on scheme designs, and we hope to be in a position to announce the publication of these soon. This will signal the start of Stage Two consultation, at which point we will be hold a public webinar. To be kept informed, and if you haven’t already, please do sign up for news updates (at the top right-hand side of this page).

Posted on 19th June 2020

by Alison Bancroft