IT must surely be the case that Taunton’s two park and rides are a vital part of our town’s transport planning.

Some may also be aware that in south-west Taunton, a third park and ride is planned by the county council as their only solution to prevent total gridlock on the A38 and Trull roads when the planned 2,000 houses are built.

Both SCC and the new Somerset West and Taunton District Council (SWaT) will, we are only too aware, have to work together across political parties to keep the park and rides up and running.

It is therefore very disappointing to see the Conservative leader of Somerset County Council, David Fothergill, trying to carry out a spectacular piece of buck-passing over the future of Taunton’s park and rides.

David has tweeted to Lib Dem councillor Ross Henley: “Since September the Park and Rides have been operated by Somerset West and Taunton Council, where you are now in control. Over to you Ross.”

That is simply untrue! They were set up by the county council, which retains operational control as the Highways Authority.

Faced with a continuing financial crisis, they planned to close them last year.

After a campaign and petition set up by Gideon Amos, the Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson, SCC were bailed out by Taunton Deane Borough Council, on condition that then two Conservative-run councils worked out a plan to make the park and rides financially viable by September 2019.

So far no plan has been agreed.

READ MORE: Future of Taunton park and ride still up in the air

The new Lib Dem administration is prepared to work positively and urgently with the Conservatives at SCC to find a solution that will keep the Park and Rides in operation, with just a few months to go before the next deadline.

There is one idea that might help in the longer term - SCC could adopt a ‘Resident-Friendly Parking Policy’.

At present, residential roads in suburban Taunton are used as free car parks for commuters. If more commuters used the Park and Rides, they would operate with less subsidy. At present, local residents suffer the daily inconvenience of roads clogged with commuter cars, while having to subsidise the park and rides through their council tax.

How about it, David?

Trull, Pitminster and Corfe