Consultation on final design proposals will begin on Thursday 24 September, when the most recent work will be published on the consultation website for public feedback.
In addition, there will be a webinar on Tuesday 29 September, 6pm to 7pm to give members of the public the opportunity to ask questions directly.
Although the design and consultation process is now moving into its final phase, there is still no knowledge of Debenhams future plans for the store and hope remains that Debenhams will survive current difficulties.
The best case for everyone is for Debenhams to continue trading in Taunton on an economically viable basis for both Debenhams and the current owners.
However, the need for a contingency plan remains, to limit the damage in case this is not possible. Over the last year the Crossmark Team have been working on such a plan, and the first stage of public consultation began in May.
Mark Lewis, from Crossmark, has told Tone News:
It was evident early on that there was little demand for retail premises of any size nationally and effectively no demand at all for stores of this size.
Unfortunately, since we began the process, the difficulties already facing town centres across the country have been made even worse by the pandemic, making recovery planning even more urgent.
From the outset, we also recognised the need for a contingency plan that is right for Taunton; one that is resilient in the face of the many changes we’re all facing; one that contributes to the economic health of North Street; and one that is well designed and contributes to the streetscape.
This is why we started consultation early and adopted a staged approach. We really appreciate all the feedback we have received to date and we’re look forward to presenting our final design proposals.
One change that has been made in response to the consultation is that the application will now be for unrestricted use apartments rather than age restricted.
The final consultation will focus on the design of the building and the reasons for the design decisions taken.
Further information about the design process to date, including site analyses, design evolution and approach to materials remains available on the consultation website at www.19to26northstreet.co.uk.