CLIFF Bishop is to be inducted into Taunton Deane’s ‘hall of fame’ in recognition of half a century as a councillor.

Mr Bishop joins fellow long-serving councillor John Meikle, ex Taunton MP Sir Edward du Cann, 40 Commando Royal Marines and Somerset Light Infantry – now known as The Rifles – as an honorary freeman of the borough.

The title is the highest honour a council can bestow.

Mr Bishop was elected a councillor in Wellington for a decade from 1964, and has been a Deane councillor since 1973 and an Oake parish councillor since 1964.

He said: “I’m honoured to be considered for this award.

“I’ve enjoyed my time as a councillor and had a great interest in housing and planning.

“I’ve witnessed some great achievements, including the redevelopment of the Old Market Centre – (now the orchard centre) – and a flood prevention scheme in Hillfarrance, which was eventually successful after 20 years of effort and hundreds of meetings.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on council business over the years and attended hundreds of meetings.

“My wife, Bettie, doesn’t normally get excited, but she’s delighted by the award.”

Mr Bishop is the longest serving member on the Deane’s planning committee, which he chaired for many years.

He serves on the National Council for Housing and Planning and chairs the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Other achievements include helping secure a purpose-built replacement for the outdated Oake village hall and the first village hall in Langford Budville after years of campaigning.