THE letters in Gazette for May 6th from Philip Bisatt (‘Democracy?’) and D Bradley (‘New history?’) about urban development were very relevant. 

I have lived in towns of various sizes, including Sheffield, Leeds and Cambridge. The two larger of those had excellent transport systems. 

I would never have thought to go to Leeds centre in my car, as there was a bus service every 10 minutes at least during the day, and some in an all night service. 

Sheffield is less sprawling than Leeds but is still well served with public transport. 

Cambridge, much smaller than the other two but appreciably bigger than Taunton, had severe congestion in the town and eventually, while I was there, it restricted private traffic in the town centre. 

As the population has increased places outside the city boundary but becoming part of it have enjoyed better transport.

Taunton is at a difficult stage, with a big hinterland of villages, whose inhabitants have been used to using the town for shopping etc, but go there by car because there is no real alternative.

The outer areas of Taunton are not yet “suburbs” in the sense that they have developed many local centres for shopping etc, which was why we decided to live in the centre when my wife and I came here. 

However, it is clear that the situation is not stable. Bus services will have to develop and cars be restricted in the town. (Perhaps some car parking space could be used for housing to reduce the spread of building at the periphery, though this would be a minor effect). 

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Those from further afield must get used to park and ride. If they have chosen to live in the country because they like it there, they cannot expect to use the town just as they wish.

The growth of spherical towns inevitably separates more and more residents from the open country beyond. 

When the old South West planning authority asked for comments on development I suggested a linear town from Bridgwater to Wellington with a rapid transit system along it. 

That would link the rather small populations together but no one would be hemmed in from access to the surrounding country. 

Shortly afterwards the Authority was disbanded.