A GROUP of 13 local politicians is threatening legal action against their own council to block a merger with a neighbouring authority.

The councillors - 11 LibDems and two Independents - have served notice on Conservative-run Taunton Deane Council that they intend to take the matter up in the High Court.

They have dipped into their own pockets to cover the £840 costs of the action and say they will call for a judicial review unless the Deane overturns its "unlawful" decision to merge with West Somerset Council.

Cllr Ian Morrell (Ind) delivered a letter to Deane House chief executive Penny James on Tuesday outlining the reasons the councillors want the marriage of the two authorities scrapped.

He told the County Gazette: "It could lead to a judicial review in the High Court.

"The High Court has been contacted and we're waiting for the council's response before we're permitted to serve the application.

"We're determined to go ahead with this if the council doesn't resolve our application."

In the letter, the 13 councillors claim Taunton Deane's decision in July to merge with West Somerset, which also agreed to the link up last month, is "unlawful".

They say the report recommending the "local government reorganisation" was based largely on "the financial implications" and "fails to address all the relevant considerations".

They add that the council is acting outside its legal powers, saying: "In the absence of a clear decision on which legislative power they are utilising to make a decision to merge, then they are acting unlawfully as they have not identified which power they are using."

The councillors also accuse the authority of only consulting with staff, thus ignoring the views of "interested communities, other tiers of local government and neighbouring authorities", causing "conspicuous unfairness".

They say they expect the Deane to "quash" the merger decision "on which abolition of Taunton Deane Borough Council and creation of a new district council with West Somerset Council relies" and consult all interested parties to reconsider options for savings and local government reorganisation.

They are also demanding the council submit documents it would rely on in any trial of the issue and warn that they would issue their application to the High Court by October 25.

A Taunton Deane Borough Council spokeswoman said: "The council has acknowledged the judicial review pre-action protocol letter before claim.

"This will now be passed to the council’s lawyers who will reply formally to Cllr Morrell in due course."