DULVERTON Town Council has ‘vehemently condemned’ the decision by Somerset West & Taunton Council to increase car parking charges by a blanket 10 per cent across the entire area.

Somerset West and Taunton Council’s executive believes the increase will raise an additional £500,000, which will go towards supporting the Taunton park and ride and improving one of the town’s busiest road junctions.

However Dulverton Town Council has released a response saying the move ‘demonstrates a total lack of understanding’.

A statement issued by the Dulverton Town Council said: “It is this short period charge which should be reduced, or even eliminated, to encourage the use off street parking by shoppers using the businesses in towns.

"A review of the SWT parking policy conducted for this meeting noted that, despite the effort put into arriving at the decision to increase charges, no regard has been given to the gross inequalities between West Somerset and the “old” Taunton Deane area.

"Members noted that all the fears raised during the process of forming the 'new' council seem to be being realised, the major justification for this latest uncaring decision being the funding of Taunton’s park and ride scheme.

"Car parks in both Taunton and Wellington are free on Sundays, presumably to attract visitors, a privilege which is apparently not to be extended to the area that needs it most.

“The council has written to Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, leader of SWT, to express its disappointment that despite all her personal assurances her council continues to make unreasonable decisions which badly affect rural communities.

“These decisions are made without any local knowledge, without a genuine understanding of the effects and especially without any consultation with knowledgeable local councils.”