_80290216_scooterA disability charity is in talks with Taunton Deane Borough Council to run its free mobility scooter hire scheme.

Taunton Shopmobility attracts some 5,000 bookings a year, which equates to about 13,000 hours of use.

In January 2014, the council voted to stop funding the service from April this year, to save £50,000 a year in running costs.

Compass Disability is in talks with the council after “being very concerned” about the outcome of the vote.

‘Well-maintained’

A spokesman from the charity said: “Over the past few months we have been in discussion with Taunton Deane Borough Council to find a way forward that keeps Shopmobility open alongside making it a self-sustaining service.

“Compass Disability services is very optimistic about a final decision being made in the near future that will hopefully see the service remain open and run by Compass Disability Services.”

It is not known whether the service would remain free as this is part of confidential negotiations at this stage.

Shopmobility user Ronald Case, said: “It’s very, very good and a very well-maintained service. As a disabled person I don’t know how I would cope without them.”

He added that if charges were brought, he would be willing to pay up to £3 to use it, but anymore would be too expensive.

A council spokesman confirmed talks were continuing and the local authority felt “positive about the way forward”.

BBC News