OVER the past few weeks and months, there have been a number of letters in Postbag about the decline and run-down state of our County Town, and of what sort of legacy we want it to become for future generations.

Some writers have called Taunton a rubbish tip. I wouldn't go that far.

What I would say is that we have and are losing the plot, so to speak.

We don't expect to compete with much bigger towns in the UK, but we should surely be capable of moving forward with the likes of Exeter, bath, Plymouth and Weston super Mare, who are all light years ahead of Taunton.

In one sentence, we are quite literally playing catch-up, and have a very long way to go.
Having been a Tauntontonian, now in my eight decade, in that time I've seen out once-lively town change out of all recognition.

Sadly, this is partly doe to a lack of vision and foresight of what Taunton wants for its future citizens.

Yes, the Coal Orchard regeneration project and the Firepool development are both on-going, but sadly both are slow going on account of what they will accommodate. Week by week, your excellent paper is full of news reports of what's coming here, but the goalposts keep on moving. 

Sadly, all too often, politics get in the way of progress.

Seemingly, at the end of World War Two, the famous Ford Motor Company was looking for sites to build factories, thus employing thousands of workers with very high salaries, which would have secured a sound financial ethos for our town.

Ford didn't come here because the council at that time, couple with people's influence, didn't want Taunton or its locality to become an industrial base.

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Employment locally has suffered ever since, with some of the lowest wages in the UK.
However, surprisingly, there has never been mass unemployment here, but a high percentage of our workforce are women, very, very poorly paid.

Over a number of decades, Taunton lost a thriving market, police station, the modern Gaumont Theatre in the town centre (seating 1,400 people), replaced by the Brewhouse (seating just 352) and the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre, 2.5 miles out of town (seating 400).

Our bus system is almost non-existent after 7pm, with only three routes operating on a Sunday. What a disgrace.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. Taunton and the West Country are still much sought-after areas to buy properties and always will be a very busy tourist locality, being only a few minutes' car ride to the amazing countryside, not surpassed by anywhere in the country.

Does Taunton still deserve the accolade of being the County Town? It needs to move from bottom gear into overdrive.

The tomorrows can always be better than the yesterdays.