WHILE I am in support of reducing the plethora of local council lead authorities, indeed a single representation would (I believe) make complete sense.

However, let's not forget the fiasco surrounding the so called money saving merger between West Somerset and Taunton Deane, which ended up with a huge uptake in voluntary redundancies with associated costs reaching levels that one would associate with a huge lottery win.

A scathing report was issued (January 29) highlighting several critical decision errors which ultimately cost the taxpayer. Annual savings predicted at £1.8million were soon wiped away as redundancies payouts surpassed £7million (and) a further £1million payment to Ignite (consultancy) for this advice.

In addition to this past venture we are also left with a diminishing county town identity, or should I say, 'garden town' (whatever happened to that status)?

This reflected the council's commitment to deliver significant new housing, new garden communities, as well as a regeneration of the town centre.

A statement from SWT: "Taunton will be a flourishing, distinctive and healthy - and the country's benchmark Garden Town. Outstanding natural environment, diverse and thriving economy and inspiring culture offer."

READ MORE: What you need to know about plans to create a unitary authority in Somerset
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While we must take the horrible Covid-19 virus into the equation and the impact upon us all, I would advise extreme caution to the disbandment of Somerset's five district authorities, if only based on history where mis-management lead to huge losses.

I foresee similar disaster in waiting and further taxpayers' money being thrown at enhanced redundancy and pension increases, not to mention months/years of reviews, meetings, advisory groups, and consultancy fees.

All the aforementioned should be kept to a minimum and in-line with private sector financial capacity and budget. Transparency must be given to the people of Somerset to ensure and eradicate further financial debacle.