PICKING holes in the planning system is the easy bit - they are so glaringly obvious.

What is also becoming obvious to many of us is that all those changes so many people have been anticipating are now upon us, accelerated by Covid.

What is abundantly clear is that our highly centralised system is not fit for purpose. It is too bureaucratic, prescriptive (all in the name of equality and fear of risk) and often flexible.

The remedy is partly in our own hands. Our local plan drafted in 2010, poshly called Core Strategy, is being revised at last.

Now is the chance to make it a truly holistic document that focuses on strengthening the offer of SWT – its glorious countryside and tourist potential, the enhancement of Taunton as an attractive place to socialise with perhaps a special regional draw and some Unique Selling Points.

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It also involves a hard look at where our housing needs lie i.e. with that 30% of the population who are not in a position to buy and all the frail elderly who now expect to stay at home with their social care paid for by the taxpayer.

The nature of Taunton is changing, much helped by a variety of local initiatives. Its life can be enhanced by increasing the number of homes in the centre.

In my experience, if a local authority makes a strong, well-argued case with strong political leadership for a project, then the relevant ministry will run with it.

Perhaps we had better leave technicalities of devising the right planning regime with appropriate adjustments to climate change to the Town and Country Planning Institute?

Kingston St Mary