“Give them a yard…..”

Northgate Yard…SDC impose a name

Sedgemoor District Council’s prestige Northgate Project was hit by a wave of criticism at Full Council today as Labour councillors expressed anger at the unilateral naming of the project ‘Northgate Yard’ without any consultation with ward members or the people of Bridgwater. Leader of the Labour Group, Westover Councillor Brian Smedley, said “This is a project that we have supported and which we welcome but to be suddenly told of this name ‘Northgate Yard’ and not be asked seems to fly in the face of genuine consultation. There is absolutely no historical precedent for this title. The site was originally Blacklands-a Medieval term relating to evidence of historic settlement, then Northgate-as in the Brewery that stood opposite the North gate of the walled town and more recently Splash -which Sedgemoor famously closed down and demolished in the face of public opinion back in 2008. To call this a ‘yard’ is gibberish and has clearly been dreamed up by some marketing agency. What would it have taken for Sedgemoor to have simply asked us rather than telling us!”

Cllr Brian Smedley isn’t a happy Yardie “You need to ASK people not TELL them!”

Sedgemoor Portfolio Holder for Commercial and Asset Management Cllr Mark Healey (Con Puriton & Woolavington) was clearly taken aback by the issue and whilst acknowledging that Cllr Smedley had a point, not to mention historical expertise, tried to revisit the name but then seemed to be over-ruled by Sedgemoor’s Deputy Chief Executive Doug Bamsey who said “We had to come up with a name that was marketable and recognisable and so fundamentally we’ve decided.

Leader of Council Duncan McGinty (Con, East Polden) added “We need to market the site in a global environment. We are happy to hold a briefing session to explain the choice of name”

Cllr Smedley remained unhappy saying “We don’t want to be told, we want to be asked. What on earth does ‘yard’ mean in this context? It’s not some enclosed space, its not some 3 foot section of distance, is it some obscure reference to ‘Yards’ as in Jamaica where they mean ‘working in the yards of the wealthy’. Doesn’t sound like a good choice to me and there’s local people and historians who really needed to be asked first. This is total developerese and marketspeak”

“…taking a Mile”

Cllr Hilary Bruce “if you want to take people with you, involve them!”

Other councillors joined the fray as Sedgemoor leaders rallied round their unilateral decision.

Cllr Julie Cordiner (Lab Victoria) said “You’ve already caused concerns amongst the people by chopping down most of the trees on site without an adequate explanation and now this. This is such an important project to get wrong!”

She was backed by Cllr Hilary Bruce (Lab Fairfax) who added “I take offence at this. It’s not enough to tell people, if you want to take people with you then you have to involve them.”

Cllr Leigh Redman (Lab, Hamp) said “The main point here is the need to bring the people of Bridgwater with us and telling us it’s Fundamentally decided is not doing that!”

Meanwhile Cllr Alexia Bartlett (Lab Dunwear) said “If it’s such a major development don’t call it a bloody yard!”

Cllr Healey’s position was confounded further when fellow Tory Cllr Will Human (Con, Wedmore) said “I have to agree with the Bridgwater councillors that this is extraordinary that the name that will sit with this site hereafter hasn’t even been cleared with the ward councillors and the people of Bridgwater”

Cllr Smedley said “The trouble here is it’s one thing to give your support to these major projects but it seems if you give them a yard they’ll take a mile. They have to know we’re not happy about this and that they need to take the people with them. A ‘yard’ sounds like a place you dump stuff and we hoped that by co-operating with Sedgemoor they’d left that tradition behind them! “


  1. Avatarsimonbale

    Fundamental suggests grassroots to me, not a marketing workshop with flip charts or whatever the kids use these days. Fundamental comes from the fundament. Not a business meeting for the global marketplace.

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