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Castle Green in Taunton to open after £3 million regeneration project

By abbiewhouse  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

  • Phil Wyatt (Project Leader), Councillor John Williams and Ian Franklin

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The £3 million regeneration project at Castle Green is set to open to the public this Friday.

The money has been spent on ripping up old tarmac and replacing it with natural stone paving, a large green turf, flowers and shrubs and comfortable wooden seating.

An attractive glass-sided bridge has been built across the Castle's grass moat with high spec lighting that will be illuminating it 24/7.

The immaculate turf has been laid down where the Castle Green car-park used to be and what was previously a grassy picnic spot on the other side has been transformed into a large paved area.

There is no longer car-parking available in this area as instead the council intend to encourage small markets and events to take place in the space.

Ian Franklin, leader of the Project Taunton team, is delighted with the finished project.

He said: "Castle Green is the sort of open space many towns would love to have.

"It is open, easy to reach, welcoming and beautifully finished with natural surfaces, naturalised planting and grass lawns the cricket club would envy."

"It's the perfect place for events, markets and performance and a programme is already being organised. It is a key piece in Taunton's regeneration jigsaw."

Most of the site lies within the precinct of the mediaeval Taunton Castle, a protected scheduled ancient monument, and Castle Green was once the outer bailey of the castle with barns, a chapel and graveyard.

The project has received a mixed response from the community; Jeffrey Dickenson, from Taunton, is not overly impressed with the aesthetics of the new space:

"I think the area should have been left how it was because although it is nice, it just looks too modern.

"It is a nice open space I suppose but the area is so historical and it just doesn't match up."

However, Taunton Councillor John Williams said that the reaction had been mostly positive:

"Most people who have contacted me about the project have been extremely positive about the project.

"I am delighted to see work complete on this truly historic part of the town.

"With the wonderful backdrop of the old Castle and its buildings it is now a beautiful and wonderful space for the community to enjoy."

"The most spectacular feature is the glass-sided bridge that floats across the Castle's grass moat. In-built lighting, coupled with floodlights at the museum, will make it a magical sight at night."

Castle Green, a £3 million joint scheme between Project Taunton and Taunton Deane Borough Council, frames the restored Castle, home to the Museum of Somerset, and blends in with the historic heart of the county town.

The project started last September and was due to take only 10 months however in the middle of the dig, fascinating artefacts dating back to the Middle Ages were found setting the project back two months.

The council is now planning an event to celebrate the end of the project that is due to take place on October 15.

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