THERE have been several critical responses to the proposal from Cllr Habib Farbahi for a serious consideration of a bid to wholly or partially enclose Taunton’s High Street with a roof.

Some have suggested better ways to spend the money.

It’s great that people are discussing it, so can I make some facts very clear.

1. The idea comes from a Government fund to regenerate High Streets, announced only a couple of weeks ago. If we get money from the fund, it cannot be used for any other purpose. People may prefer other projects to enhance the town, but it’s for reviving the High Streets and increasing the footfall in our town centre or nothing.

READ MORE: Could a roof save Taunton High Street?

2. Habib has done a great job in quickly seeing the potential of a bid, taking the idea to some traders, council officers and the public, identifying how it could help to bring shoppers back to a declining town centre, bring regular local markets back to a “market town with no market”, bring in revenue from stall rentals and solar panels, link with Vivary Park for events and festivals etc.

3. There are clearly challenges, which need to be addressed, such as how to incorporate the existing trees, and how to respond if it acts as a magnet for Taunton’s homeless. If these can’t be overcome, the scheme can be dropped and we will have lost nothing.

4. It cannot drag on, like the Firepool site. Bids must go in by March, and then towns just wait for a yes or a no.

5. Habib wants to conduct a swift but genuine consultation, not another sham consultation when the council has already made its mind up. If it becomes clear that there is little support, the bid can be dropped. Not one penny of your council tax has been spent on ‘consultants’. If we can come up with a bid that will enhance Taunton, the money will come from central government. If it doesn’t go to Taunton, other towns will benefit instead.

WANT TO WRITE A LETTER?: Click here to submit yours online

I first came up with this idea as far back as 2005 but of course no one was listening and there was no money. The government is offering the money let us at least bid for this money.

Liberal Democratic Cllr for Comeytrowe and Trull, Wilton and Sherford