Westover Rhapsody

It’s been a long, hard, often disconcerting election campaign. So now’s the time to sit back and reflect upon where we are and what needs to be done for the next 4 years in Westover ward.

Vote LABOUR in Bridgwater

Red banners are flying

Please turn out today and vote for your LABOUR candidates.

Bridgwater is a Labour town and we hope it will stay this way on Friday when the votes are counted.

Here are the LABOUR candidates in Bridgwater.

Here is our record for the past 4 years, where we have delivered exactly what we promised.


On this Day in History May 4th 1995 When the Tories Lost Sedgemoor

1995 and it’s a shock result in Sedgemoor

When Sedgemoor District Council was created in 1974 it destroyed not only 500 years of Bridgwater history by ending the town’s Borough status, it removed a strong and popular Labour council in this working class town and replaced it with decades of one party right wing Tory rule by a fixed majority of Conservative councillors from outside the town.  But then in 1995 the unthinkable happened and the Tories were booted out. How did this happen? What happened next? And could it happen again? Present Town Council Labour Leader Brian Smedley was part of that 1995 administration and tells the story. From his own totally biased perspective.

It may just come to you occasionally in a dream but Sedgemoor hasn’t always been Tory. In 1995, after 18 long years of truly awful Tory rule, they were starting to collapse. I’d been elected to Sedgemoor in a 1990 by-election at the height of the Poll Tax rebellion which Bridgwater was at the forefront of with our popular Anti-Poll Tax Union organising an occupation of the council chamber on the day of my election, maintaining a permanent presence at court cases to help those being persecuted for non-payment of the unfair and impossible to pay tax and holding Bailliff watches on the towns estates to prevent seizures of people’s property. Thatcher was forced to resign to save the Tory party from wipe out that year and then in 1991 Labour grabbed a further 8 seats at the District elections including by other members of the anti-poll tax union. Continue reading “On this Day in History May 4th 1995 When the Tories Lost Sedgemoor”

Town Council Votes for Listing of Bowerings Seed Mill

Town Council leader Brian Smedley stands by the Bowerings famous harlequin chimney

At a meeting today of the Bridgwater Town Council Planning Panel, attended by representatives of the Civic Society and Sedgemoors new Conservation officer, Mark Lidster, members voted to request the listing of the Victorian era  Bowerings seed mill on the docks with it’s harlequin chimney, the last industrial chimney in Bridgwater. The proposal was put by Chair Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) and seconded by Cllr  Brian Smedley (Bridgwater Westover) and passed unanimously.

Cllr Smedley , Leader of the Town Council, said “Following public concerns about the possible demolition of the chimney and a call by the Civic Society for the Town Council to quickly intervene to safeguard this key bit of our heritage, we brought the partners around the table to start the process. While the setting is within a conservation area, the building itself is not listed -which includes the chimney, although many thought it had been. The site will now be immediatly deemed a ‘Non Designated Heritage Asset’ while the process of listing starts. This should ensure that any potential developers work with what is there rather than demolish and the eventual listing means the building will be protected by law.” Continue reading “Town Council Votes for Listing of Bowerings Seed Mill”

Dramatic Scenes at Early Morning Westover River Rescue

Drama on the Delta

When you see a life belt floating midstream at high tide it can mean one of 2 things – there’s someone in danger somewhere and maybe slipped through the belt into the murky depths of the river Parrett below, or some idiots just gone and thrown one in for a laugh. Either way, it was the high morning tide , it was turning and very soon the belt would be swept down stream and out to sea. And , knowing the River Parrett, swept back up again, then out again, then up again, eventually washing up somewhere near Highbridge. A fate no one deserves. Eagle eyed Westover councillor HMS Smedley on crowsnest duty  (well, in a cafe) spotted the trauma as it unfolded and leapt into action.

To me it looked a bit dangerous so I phoned Clean Surroundings for them to come and get it” said the councillor to the hordes of surrounding press. Well, to the 2 Turkish kids playing football on the Quayside “But there was no answer, and the tide was turning. This could be a disaster. Admittedly, not a terribly big one. My first port of call was a passing Canadian tourist. But I couldn’t persuade her to jump in. Then we both remembered the ex Royal Marine commando who lived on the corner of Castle Street and West Quay. Bang bang, your country needs you. Well, your council. Can you jump in the river?” Continue reading “Dramatic Scenes at Early Morning Westover River Rescue”