Barrie Hall Wins; Another By-election Success

Liberal Democrats across the Somerset West and Taunton Council area are celebrating after a third by-election win in less than three months. 

Teacher Barrie Hall is the latest to join the Liberal Democrat administration on the Council after winning the North Curry & Ruishton by-election [24/06/21] with 798 votes compared to 678 for the Conservatives and 133 for the Greens. 

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Somerset West and Taunton secures Future High Streets funding

Somerset West and Taunton have been awarded just under £14m to help deliver their ambitious proposals to transform our high streets into vibrant hubs for future generations.

Confirmation of the funding was made on Tuesday 19th May 2021 and comes from hard work by council staff and Liberal Democrat councillors. 

The award of £13.9m from the Future High Streets Fund will be used for Active Travel links in Taunton town centre including cycle and pedestrian improvements, as well as contributing towards to the redevelopment of Coal Orchard and Firepool.

The award includes a specific allocation towards an outdoor performance space (amphitheatre) at Firepool which is part of the original public realm design for the site, and is in addition to the multi-purpose venue proposal that is subject to ongoing feasibility studies and discussion.

The Council has been working with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to review and prioritise the projects after the provisional offer was made representing 69% of the original bid for £20.2m of funding.

Leader of SWT, Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts (pictured at Firepool), said: “I am delighted that we have secured this funding which represents a real opportunity to enhance our retail environment and realise our aspirations for growth, creating a place where people want to live, work and shop.

“The award will enable the delivery of our ambitious regeneration plans, helping to protect and create jobs, and deliver opportunities and prosperity to our communities.”

By-election Victory in Trull, Pitminster and Corfe

Dawn Johnson has won the Somerset West and Taunton by-election in Trull, Pitminster and Corfe [06/05/21] for the Lib Dems  by 781 votes to the Conservatives’ 583 votes.


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  1. Following the recent annual meeting of the ruling Lib Dem Group on Somerset West and Taunton Council, the re-elected Leader Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts has announced the new team the Group intends to propose to Full Council [4th May] for the year ahead. 

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The Government's announcement of a 1% pay rise for NHS staff is pitiful given all that the NHS has done during the pandemic.

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Somerset West and Taunton Council Passes Green and Balanced Budget

Somerset West and Taunton’s Full Council has passed a balanced budget for the coming financial year despite the challenges of COVID [18/02/21].  

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Lib Dems Celebrate Huge £400,000 Win for Somerset Residents

Somerset’s Lib Dems are celebrating a big win for local residents in need of help after the County Council agreed a grant of £400,000 to fund Citizens’ Advice freephone ‘Somerset AdviceLine’.

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Protecting Wellington's Heritage

January provided excellent news for Wellington as Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) have moved to protect the historic Tonedale site.

Firstly, it completed the purchase of Fox's Field, a community-used ground in adjacent to Tonedale Mills to help enhance the field as a community space going forward. This came after collaboration between the Council, Tonedale Mills CIC and Transition Town Wellington. 

Secondly, SWT has successfully had a grant accepted by Historic England for £348,420 bid accepted to begin decontamination and roof repair works of the former Tone Works area as a start towards giving this important piece of heritage a prominent role in the community in the future.


The winning of £14million for Taunton High Street has been hailed by LibDem councillors who launched the original bid as a huge boost for the town, achieved “against the odds” and vote of confidence in the new Council vision, a bid we  described as “ambitious” in your County Gazette at the time. 

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What did you tell us about 2020?

This time last year, many of us had never heard of a coronavirus and probably only those with a background in science knew what one was or what it might do. Now, in stark contrast, things are very different and it will most likely be the coronavirus - or more specifically Covid 19 - which will be the thing we all most remember about 2020 in years to come.  Not only has the pandemic created a turning-point in so many ways, but it has made life for all of us, at the very least, complicated and difficult; at worst, it has been a painful tragedy for those families who've lost loved ones.

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