Westover ward has traditionally had 3 polling stations -the Town Hall in the High Street (BAK) , Westfield Church on West Street (BAL) and Trinity Hall on St Saviours Avenue. This year Trinity is unavailable and so Taunton Road area voters (BAM) will need to vote at the Town Hall. Unless you’ve got yourself a postal vote instead in which case they’re out this week. Of course there has been a bit of a ‘mix up’ by Sedgemoor and Westover has been affected. So let’s be clear. In Westover you will have 2 ballot papers. A white one for the District – on which you can vote for 2 candidates (Labour is standing Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley, there are also 2 Lib Dems and 2 Tories) and a green one for the Town Council – on which you can vote for 3 candidates (Labour are standing Li Gibson, Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley – and there’s also 3 Tories and 2 Lib Dems). So you have 2 votes for District and 3 votes for Town.
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Westover ward has been in existence for only 8 years. Set up in 2011 as part of the local government boundary changes it combined the town centre with parts of Victoria, Hamp and Quantock wards. So everything from Taunton road, West Street, most of the canal to the docks and everything in between is Westover. The name itself was the original description of the west bank settlement of the river when Bridgwater was created. It also had a secondary modern school named after it, set between Wembdon road and West Street and in 1974 merged with the Boys and Girls Grammar schools as Haygrove.
For the past ten days seventeen young Italian students have been on work experience in Bridgwater. They’ve been working in cafes, in local government and in community centres and , as is often the case in these situations, they’ve charmed their way into the hearts of the (already welcoming) locals. Why are they here? Well, they’re from Bridgwater’s Italian twin town Priverno, which we’ve been twinned with since 2015 and for their final few days they were visited by their own Mayor Anna Maria Bilancia on her own first ever visit to Bridgwater. While she was here she took the opportunity to sign the ratification of the twinning treaty with Bridgwater’s young Portuguese born Mayor Diogo Rodrigues, at a celebration of the link at Bridgwater Town Hall.
The Town Development Forum was set up 4 years ago as an initiative by the Town Council in order to widen community input into it’s decision making process and to act as a consultative body for key projects coming into the town. In the past they have considered the Northgate leisure complex, town centre improvements, Policing, the Waterways, Blake Gardens and the library, Tourism and transport initiatives. All the outcomes are fed into the town council committee system and taken on board. At the final meeting of the 2015-19 Town Council term of office, the focus was on the Town Centre and also on the future of the Post Office. The meeting was chaired by Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) and attended by delegates from local community groups and business forums along with concerned residents, traders and activists. Speakers included regional managers from the Post Office and Sedgemoors Senior Economic Development Officer. in the interests of accuracy we reprint the minutes in their entirity.
For several months the Bridgwater Arts Centre had been facing a perilous future as repair works to the Georgian roof of this the countries first arts centre and a long time home to innovative community arts projects alongside exciting national and international acts were threatening to see the venue closed down. Bridgwater Town Council had been in negotiations with the Board of Directors and with owners Sedgemoor District Council throughout this period and at last night’s Town Council meeting voted through a package of measures to rescue the place.