A COUNCILLOR has hit out against the new joint authority's cabinet for fears it does not best represent Taunton.

Taunton Deane and West Somerset's new shadow council met for the first time on Thursday evening (June 7). The authority, known as Somerset West and Taunton Council, made its first appointments to the Executive committee, causing frustration for one cllr.

Cllr John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, will remain as leader of the shadow council, with Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew, leader of West Somerset Council, as deputy leader.

Cllr Jean Parbrook, of Minehead South, has been elected as chair, with Cllr Catherine Herbert was vice chair. She is also the current mayor of Taunton.

The shadow Executive members are: Cllrs John Williams, Roger Habgood, Jane Warmington and Andrew Sully (Taunton Deane) and Cllrs Anthony Trollope-Bellew, Steven Pugsley, Andrew Hadley and Martin Dewdney (West Somerset).

Labour cllr Libby Lisgo, Lyngford, said the selection has taken away Taunton's voice.

She said: "I'm appalled that this new Shadow Council has not considered the wider implications of who is appointed to it's Executive.

"Not only is there only one woman appointed and seven men, not one member represents a ward in Taunton.

"Our county town does not have any sort of voice on this decision making body and neither do we have a town council to look after our interests. Such wilful disregard of such an important matter does not bode well for the future of this new body. "

A spokesman for the new council said the selections were made by the leader, and pointed out the chairman and vice chairman are both women.

He said: "The shadow council came into being when the Structural Order, confirming the creation of the new, single council, was approved by Parliament and ratified by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP.

"Its role is to ensure the safe transition from the two existing councils – Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset – to the new council in April next year. Elections for the new council are due to take place in May 2019.

"The shadow council consists of all members of the two existing councils and is an entity in its own right. It will monitor the delivery of the 'Implementation Plan' drawn up to make sure that a legal, safe and functioning authority comes into being in April 2019."