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SWT sets out process for Community Governance Review

14 July 2021 : Community, Council news

Councillors are being asked to approve formal arrangements for undertaking a Community Governance Review (CGR) of the Unparished Area of Taunton.

A cross party Member Working Group was set up following a decision by full council in March to carry out the review with a view to creating a new town or parish council(s) in central Taunton.

The Working Group is bringing its first report to a special meeting of the Taunton Charter Trustees next week (20 July) asking members to approve the Terms of Reference (TOR) and arrangements for the consultation process.

The Taunton Charter Trustees are the 16 Somerset West and Taunton councillors elected to represent wards in the unparished area of Taunton which has no town or parish council of its own.

They are being asked to support the proposals which will then go before Full Council at its meeting on 27 July.

If approved the first phase consultation will take place from 30 July 2021 to 3 October 2021 when residents, businesses and organisations will be invited to let the Council know their views on the potential move towards creating a new town or parish council(s).

The Working Group will consider all comments submitted before publishing its draft recommendations, which will be subject to a further round of public consultation later in the year.

Feedback will then help Somerset West and Taunton Council to reach a final decision about the changes that should come into effect.

The review gives the Council, stakeholder groups and residents an opportunity to consider the way in which communities are represented and governed at local level, and whether a new town or parish council(s) should be set up where they don’t currently exist - 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.

Legislation requires Community Governance Reviews to be completed within a year from the publication of the Terms of Reference.

If a Reorganisation Order is made, any new town or parish council(s) would be likely to come into force on 1 April 2023.