As the petition to stop the closure of Taunton's two Park and Rides passes 1,000 signatures local LibDems promoting it have written to the Borough and County Councils to highlight a range of ideas those signing have put forward, and to demand the closure is prevented.
Parliamentary candidate Gideon Amos and opposition leader at Taunton Deane Simon Coles say in their letter they are concerned about all 110 cuts being proposed by the Conservatives at the County Council such cuts to “specialist housing and support for adults social care needs” and the Park and Ride closure which the LibDems claim will disproportionately target the low paid and vulnerable.
Calling for either Council to put up the money to maintain the service, Gideon Amos said
“I hope the Conservative leadership have got the message that the people of Taunton are completely opposed to this threat to our transport system. It seems likely that they will cobble together short-term funding to keep the Park and Rides open for a while.
But what we need is a long-term solution that will guarantee the future of our Park and Rides. Many people who responded to the Liberal Democrat petition and have written to the County Gazette made imaginative and positive suggestions which deserve to be considered and evaluated to see if they are practical. The Liberal Democrats have suggestions about how the Park and Ride sites can be made more commercial and bring in income to close the funding gap. All these suggestions need to be examined by professional officers.
Instead the Conservatives have chosen to keep the closures secret until just before the meeting of Conservative Councillors who form the Cabinet. The public only know about the closures from an email leaked to Liberal Democrat councillors.”
Cllr Simon Coles added:
“Since the Conservatives control all levels of government perhaps, contrary to all the evidence, this spending is in fact well-coordinated between the Councils and part of a secret ‘cunning plan’ yet to be revealed. The only result however is the demise of our local Councils and the closure of much needed services, of which Park and Ride is just the latest in a list that includes Children’s Centres, Libraries and council offices.”
They point to over £30Million they say is being wasted on a range of projects such private hotel and development projects as evidence that funds exist to keep the Park and Ride running.