I AM captain of Taunton Rowing Club and former director of Swan Paul Landscape Architects in Taunton.

I undertook many landscape design projects for Project Taunton to achieve the objectives of the Taunton Vision (Brewhouse frontage, Somerset Square, Morrisons walkway, Goodland Gardens, French Weir Park and Longrun Meadow).

The River Tone is the town’s major visual asset, after many years of TDBC and Project Taunton trying to reverse the history of Taunton ‘turning its back on the river’.

It provides an essential recreation and wildlife link from east of the M5 through the town to Longrun Meadow and Silk Mills.

I have observed its gradual decline over the last five years and predict it will be little more than a silty ditch in a decade unless action is taken soon. It is the town’s focus for so much new development (Firepool, old Lidl store, Coal Orchard) but the very feature these make an asset of is declining due to lack of care.

Apart from the EA clearing bank vegetation one side a year, maintenance of the river is zero.

The weed situation in the river is now critical, causing our rowers to capsize near Town Bridge, Taunton. Other locations between French Weir and Firepool are now severely restricted.

From engaging with the council, EA and Canal and Rivers Trust it is clear that each party believes the other two are responsible for clearance and maintenance.

Who is responsible? There is no coordinated thinking about maintaining and enhancing the town’s major asset.

I have alerted all three organisations repeatedly over the last four years that the Tone is gradually silting up causing reduced depth and width.

Motor boat users used to come through Firepool Lock and have a festival at French Weir park. The passage is now silted and they cannot afford to have it dredged as they did four years ago, at their own expense.

When will this urgent issue be addressed? The dependence on annual winter flow to create a flush or scour is insufficient.

The river between French Weir and Firepool is declining for its users including rowers, canoeists (two clubs), sea cadets, fishermen, boaters.

As a club we are now having to undertake our own maintenance as no official body will take responsibility.

The complete irony is the declining state of the river as Taunton achieves Garden Town status.