Taunton – people before politics public meeting

A public meeting has been called to engage voters who have the chance to elect Taunton’s first town council in 50 years. With an election scheduled for May 4, the first priority for everyone involved, is to get residents to register to vote by 17 April.

The meeting is to be held under the banner of “putting local people before part politics.”

However the new Town Council will almost certainly be political. The LibDems are boasting of having put up councillors for every seat in every ward, but Conservatives, Labour and Greens are all putting up candidates. It is sad to record that there are just 3 Independent candidates standing.

So whatever the election outcome, it is inevitable that the new council will be dominated by political candidates. Perhaps it was with that in mind that Transition Town Taunton called a public meeting for 18 April. It will take place at 7pm at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton.

In their own words, Transition are asking a big question. “At last Taunton will have a voice, but will it be genuinely democratic?

Together with Climate Action Taunton they hope to foster genuine participatory democracy in the new Town Council. To do so they are drawing on the experience of three nearby Town Councils to get pointers on how to achieve this.

The three councils selected are Portishead, Frome and Bruton. At Portishead and Frome, local Independent groupings have got together to persuade the electorate to ditch politicians. Both councils are now run by the Independents. Bruton has always been a non political council. Thoiugh with no disrespect to a well run council, that is less unusual for a smaller town council.

Transition hope that Taunton can learn lessons from other councils. By listening to their communities and harnessing the knowledge and enthusiasm of local groups, you can deliver. Anyone interested in community involvement in local decisions and project implementation is warmly welcome to the meeting. Teas, coffee and cake will be available and the event is free.

Speakers will include:

  • Ewan Jones, Chair of Bruton Town Council and
  • Peter Macfadyen, author of Flatpack Democracy and former chair of Frome Town Council


  • I’d love to see more independent candidates across the country. The political parties have all failed us.


    This ‘octogenarian’ born & bred as they say in North Somerset ‘elected’ to Mendip District Council as an ‘Independent’ candidate across three quadrennials, pace the 1974 Local Government Review, in the abolition of Urban/Rural Councils. The subsequent most ‘succinct’ prognoses on ‘local-governance’ a ‘letter’ in August 2022 ‘publication’ the LEVELLER, in a ‘decennial’ Somerset’s ‘largest’ circulation newspaper, from Peter Macfadyen, Frome. The LEVELLER the ‘only’ publication holding ‘truth’ to power across the ‘truncated’ former Shire-county local-governance; therein an ‘omission’ an agenda from the ‘aspirant’ elected-members to the ’emergent’ Unitary Authority ‘decapitated’ of Bath/North Somerset, ‘coterminous’ the Diocese of Bath & Wells. (Robert Dunning: A Somerset Miscellany) The ‘test/legacy’ of Chief Executive, Duncan Sharkey; whither the ‘members’?

    ‘I am delighted that virtually none of the current councillors were elected, because it means they clearly have no mandate to represent. There are ‘innumerable’ other groups in Frome who make things happen & while the council can ensure is enabled in all kinds of ways, they are no longer there to dictate to the people, but to play a crucial role catalysing and supporting’.

    This the ‘mantra’ across the former ‘truncated’ Shire County! Returning to the ‘beginning’ having ‘served’ those early ‘quadrennials’ of Mendip District Council, the ‘lamented-authority’ was at the ‘cutting-edge’ on the ‘redevelopment’ of TRINITY, under the ‘auspices’ of Councillor Elizabeth Athill the ‘extraordinaire’ Chief Executive, Cyril Riley, Director of Planning, Ray Bush, Director of Housing Anthony Cox, under the ‘vigilance’ of Frome Local Plan Sub Committee, no mean ‘puppeteers’!

    We’re all GREENS ‘nowadays’ a ‘latent-recognition’ this ‘generations-legacy’ on Climate-Change, this former Shire County, resonating in ‘agriculture’ at its ‘heart’ witness The Royal Bath & West Festival.*

    Less we forget the Tower Hamlets ‘imbroglio’ the re-emergence of the former S of S Communities/Housing & Local Governance, Robert Jenrick MP.

    *Our Cannington Campus offers unrivalled opportunities to get hands-on with the worlds of agriculture, animal care and horticulture. Our facilities include a 200-hectare farm, a cutting-edge Agricultural Innovation Centre and beautiful living accommodation.

  • You only need to look at recent events in Chard, as Andrew has covered so poetically, to understand why political Town Councils are the biggest waste of public finances you could have.

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