Local elections will be held in Taunton on 2nd May 2019.

This is your opportunity to challenge the contenders for power. To test their policies for the newly created Somerset West & Taunton Council.

The debate will be chaired by Paul Jones, Editor of the Somerset County Gazette. The participating protagonists will be:-

  • Cllr Roger Habgood, SW&T Council Shadow Executive
  • Cllr Libby Lisgo, Labour
  • Clive Martin, Green Party
  • Cllr Ian Morrell, Independent
  • Cllr Mike Rigby, Liberal-Democrat
  • Cllr John Williams, Conservative

The Participants


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.


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, to include 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.

Taunton now needs an informed debate about the future direction of Somerset’s County Town. People are fed up with the absence of any coherent vision and proposal for Firepool. This will be a key election issue and a test of the credibility of any new council and its leadership. This is why the debate we are organising on 3rd April is an urgent priority in considering the shape and prospects for Taunton in future years.

The hustings on 3rd April will be YOUR opportunity to challenge all the political parties, and to test their leadership credentials. We want to hear their vision and plans for Taunton, our County Town, in the new Somerset West & Taunton Council.

Join us for the debate!

Where: The Redwood Suite at Richard Huish College, Taunton, TA1 3DZ
When: Wednesday 3rd April at 6.00pm
Members & Supporters of TPFC include:

Scott Berry, Stuart Berry, David Bulgin, Andrew & Giri Chapman, Kit & Louise Chapman, Allan & Sarah Covey, Lynette Dewar, Nick Engert, Steve Gibbs, Roger & Jan King, Jonathan Langdon, Gary Little, Ron & Wendy Phillips, Carmela Ricciardi-Powers, Lionel & Jo Ward, Simon Willetts.