NEW YEAR … NEW COUNCIL … TIME FOR NEW LEADERSHIP?

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Mike Rigby
Mike Rigby signed this petition

As we approach the local elections in May, we call on our fellow Tauntonians to rise up and demand new leadership at the head of the newly created Somerset West and Taunton Council.
 
Do you want your civic pride restored in our great and historic County Town? Does Taunton’s future need new leadership? Tell us by signing this petition.

WHERE WE STAND TODAY 
 
Over the past ten years or more, too many of us have watched in despair as Taunton has lost its way and stood motionless under the leadership of the present Council. Meanwhile, towns like Bridgwater and Frome, and nearby cities like Exeter have advanced and developed – their communities becoming more prosperous.
 
And yet, we all live in a town which offers so much hope and opportunity for the future. It just needs to be unlocked.
 
Taunton’s assets are impressive. We lie in the centre of the West Country with easy access to the national rail and motorway network. Our health and educational facilities are outstanding. And in the Somerset Levels, the Quantocks, Blackdown Hills and Exmoor we are blessed with a magical hinterland.
 
More, world-beating institutions like Somerset County Cricket Club, the Museum of Somerset and Hestercombe are major attractions which have demonstrated what can be achieved when you work hard to raise your sights and aim high.
 
In business too, the redevelopment of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office adds to the town’s status as home to a world-class international organisation.
 
But perhaps most impressive of all is the sheer talent, energy and creativity of the people of Taunton. You find these qualities in all areas of our society – in our cultural life, in business and in the voluntary sector.
 
WHAT IS OUR PROBLEM & WHERE DO WE WANT TO GO?
 
Taunton’s dilemma is that this great energy and dynamic output fails to resonate down the corridors of Council – not even at a time when our new status as a Garden Town should be the springboard for Taunton’s regeneration. This new status should be inspiring the Council’s leadership to transform the town into a place of national significance.
 
Many of us are working hard to build a better Taunton, a County Town worthy of the title. But we are blocked by a leadership lacking in wit and ambition, the guts and go and the charisma to grasp a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something truly fabulous for the town.
 
The moment is NOW! With vast swathes of the town centre poised for redevelopment – most significantly at FIREPOOL, Taunton’s old livestock market which has remained a derelict wasteland for the past decade – this is our opportunity to transform the town: Firstly, into a major regional destination for tourism and the arts with a large, flexible convention/entertainment complex; And secondly, into a major hub for growth industries such as the medical and digital sciences, environmental impact and artificial intelligence. 
 
SO WHAT DO WE NEED?
 
In essence, it boils down to two things: A coherent vision and long term strategy; And above all, we need a new Leader of the new Somerset West and Taunton Council – a champion with the imagination, drive and political will to put Taunton on the map.
 
If you agree, please sign this petition. Thank you