I REFER to your article about the ongoing work to pavements in the centre of Taunton that are being carried out by the county and borough councils ('Step in right direction', County Gazette, January 3).

I am sorry to say it, but if what has been done to date is regarded as being an 'improvement', one has to ask what, precisely, SCC and TDBC might regard as making things worse?

Certainly, there is no way that ripping out the 1980s paving slabs outside the shops in Bridge Street and replacing them with Tarmac, can be seen as an improvement.

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Quite the contrary - it is a wholesale downgrading of the public realm in a prominent town centre location.

It is also disappointing to see nothing better than concrete slabs being laid on and adjacent to The Bridge, which is a Listed structure.

Taunton needs pavements fit for the 21st century, not the 1980s.

The local authorities need to be preparing a 'Public Realm Strategy' for the whole of Taunton town centre, from the railway station in the north to Vivary Park in the south, so that repaving and traffic management works are carried out in a properly co-ordinated way.

This is nothing revolutionary - many other large towns (Lincoln is an example) have already done this.

At the moment, much of the centre of Taunton is paved with a hotchpotch of cheap, unsympathetic materials that fall below the standard that one should expect in an important county town.

£20 million was spent building the 'Third Way' road to enable traffic to be removed from the main streets, so that the town centre could be made more attractive to visitors.

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Eight years after the Third Way opened, there are few improvements to be seen.

If covering pavements with Tarmac is seen as progress, then far from improving, I'm afraid Taunton is set to fall even further behind other centres.