The county of Somerset carries two principal arterial routes – the M5 and the A303. Although these roads do not converge, there is a link from the A303 to the M5 at junction 25, which serves Taunton. In addition, Taunton benefits from being on the main London to Exeter rail route: the fastest journey time is one hour 40 minutes.Major property developments are focused on, or close to, these roads and within Taunton. The towns of Bridgwater and Yeovil have also benefited from being close to arterial routes. Frome, the other major town in the north-east of the county, tends to look towards Bath and Bristol for its core business.Retail Somerset has enjoyed increased activity in the past 12 months. Taunton Town Centre, in particular, has seen good results from its enhancement scheme.Marks & Spencer’s recently established presence has affected trading patterns in the town. There has been more activity in the stretch of East Street surrounding Marks & Spencer and opposite, which has led to a dramatic rise in Zone A rents. Nearly 10 years ago, these peaked at just under £100 before falling to £70-£75. The latest letting at 8 East Street shows a Zone A rent of over £100. It will be interesting to see whether this level is supported by further transactions.Taunton is a town which has grown substantially. This factor, along with the tight geography of the town centre, has led to high Zone A levels. It is expected that they will spill over to secondary areas in due course.OfficesThe office market in most Somerset towns tends to be dominated by professionals. With increased business activity, demand for professionals has risen steadily in the past decade and there is no sign of this halting. Several professional firms have outgrown their premises and others are looking to improve their office working environments. So the search is on for better quality buildings. Developers have found it difficult to bring forward schemes to satisfy this demand, which generally does not provide enough single large enquiries to trigger projects. This pressure will continue and it is likely that demand will lead to a development taking place eventually.Industrial and distribution The south-west is not a region which attracts heavy industry. The manufacturing base consists mainly of large numbers of small businesses, and this is set to continue.The location of Taunton, Bridgwater and Wellington has attracted distribution centres such as Argos, with 27,870 sq m (300,000 sq ft) at Bridgwater and Leo, with 16,720 sq m (180,000 sq ft) at Wellington.Recent schemes in Taunton have attracted motor dealers such as Alpha Romeo/Fiat into a new build property and Toyota and Mercedes into existing buildings. There is a new build for Nissan at Chelston and other dealers are seeking sites.The A303 is often overlooked as a commercial artery but at Wincanton, there is a thriving light industrial base. Further land has been allocated for employment development in the draft local plan. There have been a lot of enquiries about this location and it is likely that development will proceed before too long.The south-west will continue to attract light industry and the professional office base will keep growing. The structure plan is seeking to place 50,000 new homes in Somerset before 2011, and prospects for business and retailing look positive.
VoteSC and USG will be using TurboVote, an app that helps to register voters to decrease voting barriers and increase access to voting. (Adriana Sanchez | Daily Trojan)USC is facing UCLA once again. This time, they’re competing to see who can register the most voters before the midterm elections this November.The last time Bruins faced Trojans in voter registration, USC’s rivals won the friendly competition after registering over 10,000 voters compared to USC’s mere 411.The second annual competition began Tuesday to encourage students at both universities to vote in the upcoming elections. VoteSC, a coalition of students focused on voter education, registration and civic engagement and the Unruh Institute of Politics are co-sponsoring the competition to increase the number of students registered in California by Oct. 22, the registration deadline.VoteSC co-chair Eleonora Viotto, who is helping plan the voter registration drive and competition, said USC has lower percentages of registered voters than other campuses its size, with an approximate 15 percent voting rate for all students in the last election and 8 percent for undergraduates. “No matter what political perspective you may have, if our generation had turned up to vote in 2016, it would have been a very different election,” Viotto said. VoteSC and the Undergraduate Student Government will be using TurboVote to help students engage in the voting process. According to USG Director of External Affairs Alec Vandenberg, the program will help all eligible student voters register to vote and head to the polls in November. After students enter their information and voter registration status, the platform can help them register to vote but also apply for an absentee ballot or receive election reminders online, making voting easier for all students on campus. “There’s a lot of voting barriers,” Vandenberg said. “We know there was a lot of lack of accessibility, so we just wanted to make sure the process was simple and easy so everyone can just make sure they can do their civic duty.”Vandenberg said the organizations will host “Midterm Monday” each week with a table on Trousdale to inform students of the competition and answer any questions they may have about the voting process in person.On Sept. 25, National Voter Registration Day, VoteSC will hold its largest voter registration events by Tommy Trojan. Viotto said the coalition also hopes to include some incentives this day like an In-N-Out Burger truck to encourage students to vote with a celebration focused on voter engagement.Jamie Kennerk, a senior at UCLA, assisted with the 2016 voter registration competition. She said she hopes this year’s edition helps educate students on important information and deadlines. “I hope it manages to actually give students another reason to want to be involved in voting,” Kennerk said. “There definitely is a solid USC-UCLA campus spirit that goes on, and I think it can help students see that voting is not necessarily this dry, boring thing that you do, but is exciting and important.”Vandenberg added that he thinks the voting competition and various on-campus events will lead more students to want to vote. He said he hopes this voter registration campaign will help more USC students see the importance of civic engagement and community and political involvement.“We always hear the stereotypes of [USC] not being civically aware or engaged, and I think that’s a perception that both [Viotto and I] wanted to change, especially with an election season coming up again,” Vandenberg said. “So we wanted to make it very clear that every single year is crucial for civic engagement and that this can be a sort of point in time in which USC can change its trajectory and have its students more engaged in the community and politics and beyond.”
Chelsea legend Didier Drogba is promising to provide a bus for each of the 76 clubs in Cote d’Ivoire’s top 2 divisions if he wins the Ivorian FA elections.In addition each of the 14 elite clubs will receive a starting sum of 150 million CFA (approximately $268,000), the 24 Ligue 2 football clubs take 50 million CFA (approximately $90,000) whilst the Division 3 clubs receive 30 million CFA (approximately $54,000) following the elections.Didier Drogba was mobbed by thousands of cheering fans as he makes his way to submit his nominationDrogba was mobbed by thousands of adoring fans as he submitted his candidacy to become president of Ivory Coast football.The 42-year-old will compete with four other hopefuls for the position after launching his bid in the country’s economic capital Abidjan.The elections to be top chief at the Cote d’Ivoire Football Federation take place on September 5.And the former striker hopes his achievements throughout his distinguished club career and with The Elephants will help him be voted in.Indeed the surrounding streets were full of fans desperate to get a glimpse of their idol, carry banners and wearing T-shirts adorned with Drogba’s face.However, despite his popularity with football fans in the country, he is still not certain to be on the ballot.Drogba needs nominations from three of the 14 Ligue 1 clubs and two from the lower divisions.The two-time African Football of the Year also must have the endorsement of any of five special interest groups of coaches, doctors, current and former players and referees, according to Reuters.And his candidacy has already suffered a big blow after the Ivory Coast Footballers Association controversially did not support him.Drogba said: “Football is everyone’s sport, football brings people together, football unites.“We can see it today with all these people gathered in front of the headquarters of the Ivorian football federation.”The Blues icon added: ”It’s no secret that our football is going badly, and that is why with my team we are committed to contributing to the rebirth of Ivorian football.“If my goal was not driven by a deep desire to give back to Ivorian football all that it has given me, to contribute to the development of football in my country, and if God was not in this candidacy, it would be difficult to be in front of you today.”Drogba represented Ivory Coast between 2002 and 2014, spanning five Africa Cup of Nations and three World Cups. and is the country’s leading scorer with 65 goals from 105 caps.He is also the country’s third most-capped player of all time after Didier Zokora (123) and Kolo Toure (120).