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SWT approves draft arrangements for new Taunton council

04 March 2022 : Council news

Somerset West and Taunton Council has approved draft arrangements for the creation of a new town council for Taunton. 

The preferred options identified by the Community Governance Review Working Group were supported at a special meeting of the Full Council last night - Thursday 3 March.

They will now be subject to further public consultation before the final recommendations are agreed.

The cross-party working group was set up in March 2021 and presented a set of options for consideration in October, when the Council resolved to commence a community governance review of the unparished area of Taunton and eight adjoining parish areas with the intention to implement a town or parish council for all or part of that area.

The recommendations made to Full Council this week follow the first stage of public consultation.

They included:

  • That a single parish be created to serve the currently unparished areas of Taunton.  
  • That the new parish be named ‘Taunton Parish’ and that a parish council be established to serve the new parish with effect from 1 April 2023.
  • That the first elections to the proposed new Parish Council for Taunton should be held on the ordinary day of elections (the first Thursday in May) in 2023.

The Working Group looked at the boundary of the currently unparished area with each adjoining parish when considering the changes, taking into account points raised by local residents and parish councils.

As a result the working group recommended that several parish councils or areas within parish councils become part of the new Taunton council including:

  • The entire area of Comeytrowe Parish, meaning the abolition of Comeytrowe Parish Council.
  • The Killams Green area, currently within Trull Parish Council area.
  • The part of the forthcoming Orchard Grove development in the south-west corner of Taunton that currently falls within Trull Parish
  • The urban area covered within the Maidenbrook Ward of Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish Council, including several sites earmarked for housing development in the near future.
  • The urban parts of Staplegrove Parish, including the entirety of the forthcoming development in the north-west corner of Taunton
  • A small southern portion of the Kingston St. Mary Parish area, representing part of the proposed Staplegrove East development
  • The Hankridge Retail Park, Creech Castle and the associated Toneway Road, currently within West Monkton Parish.

The group also recommended a number of amendments to the boundaries of some of the parishes in the review including that the remaining Staplegrove Parish area, which will have fewer than 37 electors, is merged with Kingston St. Mary Parish.

Detailed arrangements for the second stage of consultation and actions to progress the Community Governance Review in accordance with legislation and statutory guidance will now be agreed.

The Working Group will consider all comments in the second stage of consultation before making its final recommendations.

Chair of the Working Group, Cllr Derek Perry, said: “The central area of Taunton is the only part of the whole county of Somerset not to be parished as a result of local government reorganisation in 1974. 

“With the current reorganisation of local government in Somerset underway we recognise the need to establish a council for Taunton which reflects its recent growth, giving residents a distinctive and recognisable community that they can clearly identify with.

“It’s important to us that they continue to engage with the consultations and take the opportunity to have a say in how they are represented and governed at local level.”