Taunton Visitors Centre
Taunton’s Visitors Centre provides advice and information on the range of attractions in Taunton and the surrounding area. As a popular tourist destination, Taunton Deane Borough Council decided to relocate the Centre to a prime location in the centre of the town, encouraging more visitors to stop by and helping to promote local businesses.
The Centre was relocated to Market House on Fore Street, a grade 2 listed building formerly used as pub storage with offices above. The project involved transforming the building into a centre that was attractive to passers-by and easily accessible by all, whilst preserving its character and heritage.
Our works included:
- The construction of a disability ramp outside the centre with support railings
- The development of a new entrance, including a frameless glass door
- Downstairs developments including the structuring of the main ‘tourist information centre’ room, with supporting back office space
- Upstairs developments including the restoration of a toilet, kitchen, and four office spaces
- The design and installation of energy efficient lighting
- Installation and repair works to flooring
- Installation of doors
- The removal of two large metal safes
- The application of secondary glazing to existing windows
- The removal and reinstatement of footpaths, whilst maintaining electrical supply to street traders
All of the works were completed within the regulations for grade 2 listed buildings, including protecting the structural components and relevant fabric of the building. To ensure that the ramp fitted in with the design of the existing building, we sourced ‘colour match’ bricks and materials. These were reviewed by the client prior to any works commencing to ensure complete satisfaction.
One of the main challenges when completing the works was due to the building’s busy town location – positioned next to a bus stop and near many retailers. Extensive planning and co-ordination was required to ensure that surrounding businesses and members of the public were not inconvenienced by any element of the works, such as site deliveries or noise. Before the works took place, all nearby businesses were provided with the opportunity to engage in a consultation process to ensure that we could mitigate any potential problems before they arose. For example, a dance teacher regularly ran a dance class in part of the building that was being developed for the Centre and used a shared staircase to access her studio. To ensure that our works had minimal impact on her classes, we installed a temporary door at the bottom of the staircase to separate her from our works. Additionally, we took care to ensure that the staircase was kept clean and free of dust. We also provided information leaflets for members of the public advising of the improvement works taking place.
An essential part of the Council’s specification was energy saving, with over £40,000 allocated to mechanical and electrical works, including efficient lighting. SWH Build identified an opportunity to reduce expenditure and provided an alternative lighting solution, saving the Council over £4,000 and still meeting their requirements for energy conservation. These savings provided the Council with funding to install additional electrical equipment such as CCTV cameras.
The project was successfully completed in 14 weeks, 2 weeks ahead of schedule.
“I can’t fault SWH Build in any shape or form. They were superb from our inception meeting and throughout the whole process. I’ve not worked with a better group of contractors. It was a pleasure working with the Site Supervisor and all of the team – I heartily recommend the company.”
Andrew Hopkins, Marketing and Visitor Centre Manager, Taunton Visitor Centre
“Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a team of builders working in the Market House. They are building a tourist information centre. I was sceptical when I saw a sign saying they wanted to ‘improve the image of the building trade’. I can happily say they have been great. I run a food unit next to them. They are friendly and polite, and don't act in the usual loutish behaviour. Anyone who knows me is aware I am quick to complain, so I should like to give praise for once. They are tidy, and even considerate when moving vehicles around. Well done”
David, local food trader