TAUNTON’S long history of being a market town stretches back for more than 1,000 years, but that all came to an end in January 2008.
That was because Greenslade Taylor Hunt, who ran Taunton Livestock Market in Priory Bridge Road, took JH Palmer and Sons (the business that ran Highbridge Market) and move both markets to Sedgemoor.
They moved to a new multi-million pound agricultural centre built by the Mead Realisations Group at Junction 24 of the motorway at Bridgwater.
This move left Taunton’s market site at Firepool open for redevelopment as part of Taunton Deane Council’s Project Taunton.
Making the announcement, GTH chairman Charles Scott said: “This is a very exciting development all round.
“We have been working towards this end for some time and with the move away from Taunton, the link-up with respected auctioneers Palmers, and the new start at the state-of-the-art centre, that is so well located on the M5 at junction 24, we will be well set for the 21st Century.”
Graham Ford, partner of GTH, said: “This will be a good move for everyone.
“Sadly we will not be following through with our permission to have a new market at Wellington, but the new site will mean better access for farmers.
“It is not really a sad occasion, just progress into the 21st century.”
Taunton has been a market town for hundreds of years, with the earliest mention of a market over 1100 years ago in the 904 Charter.
Cllr John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Council, said in 2008: “It is disappointing that the market will no longer be in Taunton Deane, but it was not a case of lack of will to retain the market, but as I have been saying for some time, commercial forces will prevail as to its ultimate location.
“However, what we must look forward to is the opportunity provided for the wider economy of Somerset in providing state of the art regional facilities for our all-important agricultural businesses and freeing up an important town centre and riverside site to become a much needed major strategic employment area with other mixed uses.
“It will truly herald the long planned regeneration of Taunton.
“I most certainly look forward to the wonderful opportunities this brings to our community and as sad as I am to see the loss of the market from Taunton Deane, I wish the new regional agricultural business centre every success for the future as it must be good for Somerset as a whole.”
Since it closed, work has taken a long time to get underway at the Firepool site, however earlier this year work did begin on developing the area.
Do you remember going to the Livestock Market at Firepool? Do you miss it?