LOCAL taxpayers will have to shell out tens of thousands of pounds to look into creating a new council for Taunton.

The county town, which has been without a council since local government reorganisation in 1974, looks sets to have its own authority from April 1, 2023.

That same day, Somerset's county council and the four districts are set to be axed in favour of one big unitary authority.

It is the only 'unparished' area in Somerset and a working group has been looking into addressing the anomaly.

Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) members are being asked to support a community governance review following by a public consultation

An officer report suggests up to £32,000 will be needed to pay a "specialist consultant" for 25 days' work and material such as a letter and leaflet to be sent to every household in the review area.

A report to Taunton Charter Trustees' meeting next Tuesday outlines progress on the initiative since the now defunct Taunton Deane Borough Council resolved in March 2018 that a community governance review be undertaken.

Then in March this year, SWT announced the possibility of creating the new town or parish council from April 1, 2023.

The report says: "If the Council chooses to accept the final recommendations of the review, concluded after public consultation, then it needs to draw up a reorganisation order and publish this together with the reasons for the changes, making maps available for public inspection.

"There are also various bodies that must be notified of the changes including the Local Government Boundary Committee for England."

It adds: "The Association of Electoral Administrators have recommended that to complete this review we will need the additional support of 25 days from a specialist consultant, estimated at costing between £12,000 and £20,000, plus £12,000 to fund consultation material, to include a letter and leaflet to every household in the review area.

"In addition to the current resource provided from within the Governance team, the project will require support from internal colleagues including IT; (to set up a website page), finance, legal, PMO and people.

"The project group will need to scope what is required and secure the internal and external resource required.

"Funding identified to date, being between £24,000 to £32,000 will be met from within the Internal Operations Directorate and will be reported as part of the budget monitoring process."

LETTER: 'We need a council to stand up for Taunton'.