TAUNTON Town Centre Company, which runs a number of events including the switch on of the Christmas lights and a Bank Holiday family fun event, has ceased trading today (March 12).

The company has insufficient funds to continue operating.

The crisis was sparked by the failure of businesses to support a plan for a second Business Improvement District scheme in the town centre that would have raised £1.3million over five years to promote the town and attract more shoppers.

The board of directors have just issued the following statement:

"The Board of Directors of the Taunton Town Centre Company has today decided that, following the result of the recent BID ballot, the Company has no viable option but to cease trading with immediate effect.

"The ballot rejected by a narrow margin the Company’s proposal for a Business Improvement District (BID).

"The Board respects this decision, which follows the rejection of an earlier BID proposal in 2012. This result leaves the Company with inadequate funding to operate effectively on behalf of the businesses of Taunton.

"The Board has taken this decision with great regret. The Company has been proud to work for the benefit of Taunton’s businesses since it was established in 2006, and before that as a Partnership.

"The Board is deeply grateful for the support and co-operation it has received businesses and organisations in Taunton, notably its Members.

"The Board has been in touch with its Members separately.

"The Town Centre Company Chairman Guy Bottard said: 'I have been a director of this company since its creation in 2006 and this is a very sad day for the directors and staff of the company, the employed staff in particular.

'My heartfelt thanks go to them all for all their hard work over the years. The demise of the Town Centre Company and the loss of the town centre management expertise built up within it will be missed by the businesses in the town.

'However being an eternal optimist I believe that when one door closes another always opens and that we should regard this as a new beginning.

'I am confident that given time somebody or some people will fill the void that is left behind by TTCC and they will continue to find ways of promoting Taunton throughout Somerset and beyond in order to attract business into our town.'