GOOD RIDDANCE

Ms Penny James, Chief Executive of both Taunton Deane and West Somerset councils, has decided to cash in her substantial retirement package and declare herself redundant. This is represents no real change. There will be few tears. Ms James has an extraordinary record in local government. She was one …
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County Hall Cuts – Why I will meet the unions

The County Council  crisis, and the scale of the spending cuts already proposed, is far too important and worrying to ignore. Today I met with a team from Unison representing front-line workers in vital services. They are my constituents and they have given me a detailed glimpse of the scale and …
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Where will the new council be?

Deane House in the centre of Taunton has been done up. It cost an absurd sum - £7.5 million for the building work and decoration alone. Even dottier is the fact that the site, tarted building included, will be worth less than £2.5 million when complete. Oh yes, I almost forgot, they have failed to …
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Welcome to Codswallop Council

I am delighted to learn that the new West Somerset and Taunton Council will be "Championing People, Place and Prosperity" - whatever on earth that means. I am equally thrilled to discover that employees of this "World Changing" council will soon be offering services "delivered by empowered and …
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Zap Pow Kaboom!

The Beano. It was an important part of my childhood. Yours too perhaps. The Beano was created in 1938 in Scotland by DC Thomson the publisher. I have cherished Dennis the Menace and Gnasher ever since. Whoever says I'm biased against the Scots should learn to laugh a little. At themselves. Yes, the …
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The Minister who Came to Tea

The earnest chap in the light blue shirt  ( top left of my picture, behind  the plate of mouth-watering dainties) is no less a figure than Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment. He's been pressing the flesh and sampling a lot of Exmoor's excellent hospitality. He's also met with farmers …
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Shock and Eeyore

Local government in Somerset is in a period of extraordinary upheaval. Taunton Deane and West Somerset may become one new council if the Government pass the necessary regulations in time. Somerset County Council could vanish altogether to be replaced by a giant Unitary authority which could easily …
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THE FIGHT GOES ON

To rephrase the famous Kenneth Wolstenholme 1966 World Cup commentary: "They think its all over.....well it isn't!"  The Housing and Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, failed to listen to all the arguments. Far too many assertions in the Merger Business Plan were taken at face value. Updates were …
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A sign of the times?

I have to admit it made me look twice. Three times actually. Many drivers smiled. Some guffawed. Somerset's county town has now earned the attention of a local graffiti artist, if not the affection of its long-suffering inhabitants.  Of course if (and it is still a very BIG if) Taunton Deane Borough …
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STOP THAT MERGER

January 19th is less than three weeks from now. Time to get cracking by adding your name to an important petition which has been launched locally. The Jan 19th "deadline" was set by the Communities and Local Government Secretary when he announced he was "minded" to accept a plan to merge West …
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