A LIB DEM parliamentary candidate is meeting town councillors in Taunton and Wellington to ask them to take on vital services as the unitary authority tries to avoid bankruptcy.

It follows the announcement by Somerset Council of a range of measures to reduce a £100m budget shortfall.

The council declared a financial emergency last year, saying it was one of many authorities facing significant pressures on its finances driven by inflation, spiralling costs in social care.

The proposed cutbacks include switching off CCTV cameras and no longer locking the gates in Taunton’s Vivary Park and Wellington Park.

Gideon Amos, the party’s parliamentary candidate for Taunton and Wellington, said: “Ensuring vital safety measures like locking the park gates at night, as well as CCTV in our town centres, are top of my list for keeping our town safe and well managed.

“Vivary Park and Wellington Park are the jewels in the crowns of their respective towns and I’ll do everything I can to make sure they are maintained as we would all want, despite the terrible government cuts to local councils.

“I’m really encouraged to have had such a positive meeting with our Lib Dem Taunton Town Council leader, Cllr Tom Deakin, who I know will do all he can do to help, as will our whole town councillor team in Taunton.”

Mr Amos has also called for a cross-party approach to safeguard vital community services.

He also said: “The safety and security of our town centres is vital not just to people’s wellbeing but to the health of our local businesses and economy.

“I have written to the Police Commissioner to ask them to take some responsibility for CCTV monitoring since the police rely so heavily on the evidence it provides.

“I’d encourage everyone affected to write to him and the Conservatives’ local MP to encourage them to take that on - it’s time to come together to support Taunton and Wellington.”

Cllr Deakin said: "Despite being less than a year old, the Taunton Town Council team have hit the ground running, and we are bold and ambitious for the future of our town.

“We are exploring all possible options to protect important services for our residents and will continue to work closely with Somerset Council and other partners.

“We are currently preparing our budget for next year and want to ensure we provide the right foundations, enabling us to deliver for the people of Taunton.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure we are a county town to be proud of."

Cllr Amber Packer-Hughes, town councillor for the Vivary Ward, said she was working to protect local services both in her ward and Taunton as a whole, “whether they be provided by Somerset Council or the town council”.