Breaking the chain of young offenders

A 19 year old from Bridgwater is determined to increase support for young offenders after her best friend was jailed. Westover Councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce attended her recent launch event at the YMCA to find out more about the project and see what they could do to help.

Lorna Rosthorn is convinced the system is set up to fail young people, who ultimately re-offend once released. Working with Fixers, the national movement of young people ‘fixing the future,’ she held an event, premiering a spoken word film aimed at highlighting the support needs of young offenders. Lorna’s best friend is currently behind bars but has refused an early release as he fears the environment he will come out to will cause him to re-offend. Continue reading “Breaking the chain of young offenders”

Sedgemoor Scrutiny Committee Backs Westover Residents Parking Campaign

Westover campaigners Andrew Holcombe, Tony Hayward and Martin Grixoni
Westover campaigners Andrew Holcombe, Tony Hayward and Martin Grixoni

Todays meeting of Sedgemoor District Councils Community Scrutiny committee gave 100% backing to Westover residents who have campaigned for almost a year for the County Council to implement a residents parking scheme.

The committee chairman Cllr Julian Taylor (Labour, Eastover) summed up, “The 80% requirement for a scheme is too high and we agree a 51% majority in favour should trigger the imposition of a parking scheme in a given area. We also believe that anyone who doesn’t bother to vote should not be included in the % – previously abstentions were counted as no votes. We note the tardiness of Somerset County Councils response in dealing with this. We recognise the impact of planning policies which encouraged increased residential occupancy in town centres but without the required parking spaces and recomend that this should be addressed by the Local Development Framework working party with especial reference to Homes in Multiple occupancy, we accept that the District Council’s own policy of making it’s own staff park elsewhere has contributed to the parking congestion and recomend that this be reviewed in favour of ‘essential users’. We are further concerned that any parking scheme should take into account short-term visiting parking such as carers.” The committee voted unanimously to support. Continue reading “Sedgemoor Scrutiny Committee Backs Westover Residents Parking Campaign”

West Quay Pedestrianisation Given Go-Ahead

County Map Released March 2013
County Map Released March 2013

The County Councils traffic regulation sub committee recently met and approved a West Quay Pedestrianisation Scheme. The scheme originated from the West Quay Action Group in the light of the wall collapse there, the repair of which provided an opportunity to consider pedestrianisation.

The Action Group presented a petition of 586 signatures in support and gained the support of the Town Council, Sedgemoor District Council, the Heritage Regeneration Group, the Police and Emergency services and now Somerset County Council.

The original proposal put to Council by the Action group was for full length pedestrianisation but this was reduced due to lack of funding to an apron along the front of the shops in West Quay. Continue reading “West Quay Pedestrianisation Given Go-Ahead”

New Town Centre Post Office ‘Out to Consultation’

27 Eastover
27 Eastover

Following a lengthy campaign by Councillors, Trades Unionists, Bridgwater Forward and thousands of local people
showing an inspiring unanimity of purpose in order to provide Bridgwater with a proper town centre post office, including a major fight to stop it being located in Sainsburys, has now resulted in the much talked about 27 Eastover location going out to consultation as of today.

The site on offer is the former CD world site on the corner of Eastover and New road and could be key to regenerating that part of the town.
The plan is for one of the new ‘main style branches’ ,’newly refurbished’ , with ‘longer opening hours’ and ‘improved accessibility’.

The current arrangement – a temporary portacabin on the site of the former Sedgemoor Splash -has been operating since 2011 causing much discontent amongst the population who felt yet again that they were being treated as second class.

Westover cllr Brian Smedley said, “I’m certain it was the united public campaign that showed Post Office ltd that Bridgwater had to be listened to and not just dumped on. We have constantly argued for a town centre location and organised public meetings, petitions and a campaign of opposition to the plans to choose an easy ‘supermarket- solution. In particular people should congratulate Ken Trunks, the Westover resident who spent hours on his own in all weathers getting the majority of those signatures against the Sainsbury location.”

The Public Consultation started 5th March , ends 18th April and the relocation is scheduled for May/June 2013.

Town Green Hearing goes ahead despite Residents ‘No-Show’


When Westover residents Tricia Walsh and Trevor Monaghan, supported by over 50 witness statements from local people, submitted an application to Somerset County Council for the Brewery Field to be registered as a Town Green in July 2011, they were making a stand against Sedgemoor and it’s plans to devastate their community with a massive Supermarket. The Town Green application was based on the legitimate claim that a significant number of local inhabitants had indulged in lawful sports and pastimes as of right on the land for at least 20 years.

For Sedgemoor District and Somerset County Councils – who stood to lose millions should this mean that their development plans for Northgate were jeopardised, they had to take this challenge seriously and threw everything they had at them.

Sedgemoor Objects

Somerset CC publicised the application in the local press and invited comments and objections. Only one objection was lodged by the deadline -this was by Sedgemoor DC itself. The Council claimed the Brewery Field did not meet the required criteria to be registered as a Town Green, principally because the Council claimed it was held for leisure purposes under the Open Spaces Act and that the public therefore had the right to use it anyway because this was the purpose for which it was held by the Council. Continue reading “Town Green Hearing goes ahead despite Residents ‘No-Show’”