WITH Taunton’s ambition to become a fully blown ‘Garden Town’ with preferential government treatment to go with it, and in the light of the post-Covid ‘build back better’ campaign, surely now is the time for town centre renewal to go the whole hog on pedestrianisation experimentation not just with closures of East Street and St James Street?

In other words, in the name of big green recovery and enhanced cultural improvement, my whole hog is definitely to exclude all through traffic from the whole of the centre (i.e. ‘access only’ vehicles) obviously including North Street, the Parade, and Corporation Street.

This enormous reduction in town centre vehicles would not only allow plans to be drafted and provisionally tested for creation of a really exciting and attractive green, shopper-friendly redesign, but also it wouldn’t cause extra problems for vehicles which genuinely do need access.

To prove my point I daresay all of us can think of town and city centres where such schemes have made a tremendous positive difference for shoppers and visitors alike.

Exeter is a classic example and Yeovil with its longstanding Quedam Centre.

Please could the county council, SWAT, and the embryonic new Taunton Town Council, all put heads together and grasp this nettle while we still have this great opportunity to take further town centre closure action?

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I well remember arduously campaigning for Taunton’s town centre pedestrianisation with the local Friends of the Earth group over a dozen years ago – latterly with the Green Party and Taunton Transition Town – followed by a definite promise that a full town centre scheme would become more certain after the Tangier Way bridge over the Tone was completed in 2011.

I assume the principles supporting this remain the same, implementation even more so, therefore all I say is that with so many special factors in favour right now, NOW has got to be time for delivery!

I first came to Taunton when I was 30, now I’ve just gone 80, surely I’m owed it as a birthday present after 18 years as a Deane councillor and about 40 as a parish one?