Roosting birds of prey at a Taunton landmark have been given a leg – er, talon – up on the housing ladder thanks to public funds.

Taunton Deane Borough Council is planning to contribute £3,500 towards the £7,000 cost of setting up a nest box for peregrine falcons that have set up home at St Mary Magdalene Church tower and a webcam so people can keep a close eye on them.

The peregrine falcons have become a real talking point in town and they have an extra benefit in scaring away pesky pigeons and gulls.

The grant is one of several recently approved by the Taunton Unparished Area Committee that allocates money collected by the council for Taunton-specific, community focused groups and projects.

Councillor Jane Warmington, executive member for community leadership, said: “The falcons have become an attraction in their own right and, if they return as expected to St Mary’s, they would have somewhere to nest and rear young.

“The webcam will give people a chance to watch these beautiful birds without disturbing them. Of course, there is the practical point that the falcons will help control pigeons and gulls that can be a nuisance.”

The agreed funding will be released once the balance has been raised by the Church.

Other grants approved – subject to the call-in process – are:

  • £919.96 to replace four existing litter bins on Mount Walk, Taunton with bins with fixed lids – to prevent litter being removed from the bins and spread into the surrounding area, including Stockwell Stream, by gulls and crows looking for food.
  • £784 for a plaque commemorating the visit by the composer Franz Liszt to Taunton in 1840. While in the town he performed at the Assembly Rooms in The Market House as part of his European Tour. The plaque would be sited on The Market House alongside the one commemorating the Monmouth Rebellion.
  • A contribution of £5,785 towards the overall cost of £15,381 to provide a range of adult, outdoor gym equipment to be sited on the Hawthorn Play Area off Rowan Drive, Taunton. The main part of the funding will be derived from a money in the Community Leisure budget which resulted from the development in Normandy Drive, Taunton.
  • £700 to buy a replacement building ‘Poppy’ for positioning on The Market House in the centre of Taunton in the weeks before Remembrance Sunday.
  • A further grant of £175 to pave a route around the newly completed toilet block at Galmington Allotments to serve an emergency fire escape door which is to be made in the fence dividing the allotment site and the adjoining Trident Centre Play Group.
  • To meet 50 per cent of the £5,000 cost of enabling 12 young people from the Taunton Academy to participate in a ‘Phoenix’ course to be run by the Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue Service. The course will provide a unique opportunity for the young people who are at risk of being excluded from school and/or involved in anti-social behaviour to work with the Fire Service and take part in a variety of physical and mental challenges that will help develop life-long skills.
  • A contribution of £500 to the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society towards the £1,800 printing costs of a book on the life of Sir Benjamin Hammet.


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