I HAVE always valued the Brewhouse, but I have hesitated to sign the petition asking Somerset West and Taunton Council for more funding, because there are other factors to take into account.

First, the council is still putting right the legacy of £4 million overspend on redundancies left by the financial mismanagement by the Conservative leadership of Taunton Deane, including the need to appoint new people to posts that are essential and should never have been made redundant.

These are ongoing costs from year to year and make a mockery of the supposed savings of the merger.

Secondly, the council has also had to step in to save Taunton's Park and Rides after Somerset County Council washed their hands of their responsibilities for these services.

Thirdly, I wonder why the petition has not been also addressed to the county council. They used to fund the Brewhouse, and it was their refusal to continue to do so some years ago that led to the withdrawal of Arts Council funding and temporary closure of the Brewhouse.

Fourthly, there has been vocal support from groups promoting culture and entertainment in Taunton for an ambitious facility on the vacant Firepool site.

Is it not important to consider the future viability of both the Brewhouse and this new centre at the same time when planning for the future, and how two major centres can complement each other in what they offer to the community?

READ MORE: Grant to continue for Brewhouse - but no further funding

I applaud all the efforts which have been made by staff and volunteers to revive the Brewhouse and develop what it has to offer, and I am sure the council will take the Brewhouse request very seriously, but they already receive £132,000 regular grant, which I fully support.

Pressure on council finances is immense, so I think the council can be forgiven for not immediately committing to ambitious plans and a large increase in funding.