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The Business Case for TauntonForward (February 2014)

The Business Case for TauntonForward (February 2014)

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Published by Mike Rigby
TauntonForward is a taskforce of businesses, employers and talented individuals determined to transform Taunton Deane into the prime regional centre for business, shopping, tourism, the arts and entertainment.
TauntonForward is a taskforce of businesses, employers and talented individuals determined to transform Taunton Deane into the prime regional centre for business, shopping, tourism, the arts and entertainment.

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Published by: Mike Rigby on Mar 04, 2014
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February 2014
 
TauntonForward is a taskforce of businesses, employers and talented individuals determined to transform Taunton Deane into the prime regional centre for business, shopping, tourism, the arts and entertainment.
TIME TO CAPITALISE
A central location in the West of England, excellent air, road and rail links, prime development land, a great place to live, glorious countryside, the finest schools, excellent healthcare, world-class cricket
 With assets like these Taunton Deane should have an unbeatable competitive edge. Yet we have failed to capitalise. Held back by a parochial market town mentality, we are losing the fight for major inward investment and new jobs. Instead of being one of the South West
’s
success stories, Taunton is now second best to Exeter, Bridgwater and Weston super Mare. Unlike Taunton, and in spite of the great recession, all are booming thanks to
a ‘go
-
getting’
,
‘can do’
attitude towards investors. The private sector is playing a huge part in driving Exeter forward. Using the
slogan ‘open for business’
, an impressive entrepreneurial team markets the city with stunning results. In reaching the
UK’s
top 2% for job creation Exeter has outperformed most rivals.
Bridgwater’s r
esults are impressive too. By 2012 Sedgemoor had surged into the top 35 districts for business based growth.
TIME TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Taunton Deane must change fast to fight back. Above all, we must act quickly to attract skilled, better paid jobs not only to encourage the brightest members of the existing workforce to invest their futures here, but also to bring more people like them to the area. Equally, more residents must be persuaded to spend more of their earnings locally. Too many shop elsewhere drawn away by a superior retail offer and experience. Taunton
’s night
-time economy is poor for the same reasons. The need for change is urgent. Within 15 years
Taunton’s population is planned to grow to
85,000 (a 30% increase) with the addition of 13,000 new homes. Nearby towns and districts will also grow substantially.
TIME TO THINK LIKE A CITY
It’s time
to mastermind Taunton
Deane’s
renaissance.
It’s time for Taunton to think like a city, Somerset’s ‘capital city’.
 Taunton must be proactively marketed to investors around the world, as dynamically, as professionally as our competitors. In the West Country, all roads lead to Taunton. We should be the vibrant economic and cultural hub for the region between Bristol and Plymouth. We should be a prime UK destination for business, shopping, tourism, the arts and entertainment. Within ten to 15 years Taunton could be transformed by imaginative projects such as:
 
an iconic, architectural landmark building on the Firepool or Coal Orchard sites.
 
a redeveloped River Tone waterfront.
 
a 1,000-seat venue for arts, entertainment, exhibitions and conferences.
 
an international arts festival.
 
a private university or a campus associated with an established university.
TIME TO DELIVER
Taunton Deane Borough Council cannot be expected to have the resources, the people, the entrepreneurial flair, the dynamism, the drive to
spearhead Taunton’s renaissance
.
Only a taskforce of ‘all the talents’ can do t
hat. To meet the challenge, top employers led by Dr John Newton, Head of Taunton School, have formed
Taunton
Forward 
,
a non-political team set
on bringing together Taunton’s best brains.
 Taunton
Forward 
 is not a
talking shop
 and our members will have a stake and a major say in shaping policy and decision-making. We aim to build a membership of 300 local businesses and individuals
 a force that will be highly influential and have real credibility.
This is no time for apathy. It’s time to
get involved, to get together.
It’s time to
deliver.
We need your support.  Join us!
Business
 
Case
 
The
 
 
February 2014
 
MISSION
Our mission is to
transform Taunton
. Our vision is for Taunton Deane to be the prime regional centre for business, shopping, tourism, the arts and entertainment. Taunton
Forward 
 will be action-oriented. Our core business will be to identify imaginative short and long-term projects to boost Taunton
Deane’s economy and
 to improve
the area’s
appeal for businesses, shoppers and visitors. Working collaboratively with the public sector, employers and investors we will find the resources and the developers to deliver these projects within the next ten years. Throughout, we will market Taunton nationally and internationally competing aggressively for every new job and every pound of inward investment.
TASKFORCE
The need for a taskforce was first discussed in 2013 when a group of leading business people and local councillors met to discuss Taunton
Deane’s future.
 All shared the widely held frustration that Taunton is stuck in a state of economic inertia, a malaise and parochial mindset that is eroding its competitive edge. Taunton
Forward 
’s first meeting
 was held at The Castle Hotel on 26th September 2013. The 25
founding members
 are listed below. Members serving on the
Executive Team
 are: Dr. John Newton, Chairman; Richard Haste, Vice-chairman; Kit Chapman; Habib Farbahi; Jefferson Horsley; Lizzie James and Peter Lewis.
FOUNDING MEMBERS
 
Dr. John Newton
,
Headmaster, Taunton School -
Taunton
Forward 
 Chairman
 
Richard Haste
,
Partner, Amicus Law 
 
 Taunton
Forward 
 Vice-chairman
 
Chris Alcock
,
Headmaster, Queen
’  
s College
 
 
Keith Bigwood
,
Proprietor, Bigwoods Agri Ltd, Walford Cross
 
 
Guy Bottard
,
Future Law Ltd; Chairman, Taunton Town Centre Company 
 
 
Kit Chapman
MBE
,
Proprietor, The Castle at Taunton
 
 
Douglas Cordeaux
,
Chief Executive, Fox Brothers, Wellington
 
 
Cllr Habib Farbahi
,
TDBC LibDems, Shadow Economic Development portfolio
 
 
Michael Finn
,
Owner, Wellington Motors
 
 
Sidney French
,
Proprietor, Charles French & Son, Farmers & Property Developers
 
 
Brian Haimes
,
Owner, Scotsgrove Holdings
 
 
Cllr Jefferson Horsley
,
LibDems Leader, Taunton Deane Borough Council 
 
 
Lizzie James
,
Director, LJ Assist 
 
 
Peter Lewis
,
Trustee, Music on the Quantocks
 
 
Chris Marrow
,
Chair, LEP Business Forum, Wellington
 
 
Andrew Maynard
,
Partner, Alder King 
 
 
Paul Munro
,
Regional Director, Galliford Try Partnerships South West 
 
 
Rory O'Donnell
,
Partner, Dixon Walsh  Accountants
 
 
Barbara Richardson
,
Director, Yarlington Homes
 
 
Rebecca Pow
,
Prospective Conservative candidate for Taunton Deane constituency 
 
 
Cllr Mike Rigby
 , Independent Somerset County Councillor, Lydeard Division
 
 
Chris Tester
,
Local Director, Debenhams
 
 
Tony Wardell
,
 former 
 
CEO, Swallowfield 
 
 
Simon Willetts
,
Owner, Combers Taunton
 
 
Chris Winter
,
Managing Director, Summerfield Developments (SW) Ltd
Mission
 
Statement
 
Our

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