Focus on Bridgwater’s Cemeteries

Town Clerk David Mears and Cllr Kathy Pearce at Quantock road cemtery

A ​year ago, Bridgwater Town Council took on the running of Quantock R​oad and Bristol Road Cemeteries from Sedgemoor District Council. In recent weeks problems in the supply chain for mower and equipment parts has led to longer  growth than expected at this time of year. As staff have resorted to hand cutting the grass around some 22,000 memorials, Town Council Leader Brian Smedley and Deputy Leader and Environment Spokesperson Kathy Pearce visited both sites with town clerk David Mears. The following statement was put out afterwards.

“Our sincere apologies for the length of the grass at both sites. We have had issues with the grass cutting equipment, with our ride-on mower awaiting parts (there is a shortage of parts across the world at the moment). The grass has also been growing at a fast rate due to the weather during May.

The team have been cutting the grass with push mowers and this is labour intensive due to the number of obstructions encountered and the size of the sites. Quantock Road is over 30 acres.

Our ground staff have now cut over half of Quantock Road Cemetery and this has taken nearly 2 weeks – they have funerals to manage as well.

We have contractors cutting the grass at St John’s this week. This will enable us to keep on top of the grass at both sites until we get our equipment back.”

Getting the right balance

St Johns Cemetery Bristol Road

Cllr Mick Lerry (PFH for Cemetery staff) added “ At the moment maintenance of the cemeteries has been affected by a break in the supply chain for mower and equipment parts, which has meant that the grass cutting schedule has been interrupted”

However, there are wider issues at stake regarding the future of cemeteries and other public spaces. Cllr Smedley added “We need to get the right balance between the respect for the graves of loved ones and ancestors that the public would expect from such a site whilst at the same time taking into consideration the best way to manage public green spaces in the light of climate change. To this end the Council is re-looking at options that meet both of these objectives.”

Cherished spaces

Cllr Kathy Pearce said “The cemeteries are cherished green spaces.  When people visit their loved ones’ graves it is often a time of quiet contemplation.  Therefore, we are looking for opportunities to make these spaces more beautiful whilst also improving habitat for wildlife.  Over the next few months, we will be planning and planting more trees, improving the hedgerows and identifying sites where we can create wildflower meadows in order to create more nesting sites for birds and nectar for pollinators etc.”

The ‘Pollinator strategy’ will be discussed at this Thursday’s Bridgwater Town Council meeting. The first to be held in real life after a year of Zoom meetings

An Inspection of Bridgwater’s Cemeteries

Monitoring the Northgate Project:-June 2021

The custard barriers go up

The Northgate site is now completely encased by custard yellow boarding and access routes have been created.  The next step will be the closure of the Brewery Field as they’re about to remove the top soil and it too will become a building site. The big issue now is the need to restrict public access across the field while retaining residents access to and protection of the rear of their properties. We’ve been around Northgate quite a lot these past few days, consulted with residents and talked to SDC officers and there’s a bit of a mixed response regarding the Brewery field access issue. We have attempted to put these points to Sedgemoor and to Wilmott Dixon, but the bottom line is that it is WD who are responsible for the site and maintaining Health and Safety is paramount. Continue reading “Monitoring the Northgate Project:-June 2021”

Monitoring the Northgate Project :- May 2021

Northgate-the fencing goes up

Work has now begun on Sedgemoor’s long awaited £16m entertainment and dining development on the former site of the Sedgemoor Splash and including the Brewery Field. It’s going to be known as Northgate Yard -people don’t seem keen on that -but that’s what it’ll be. As a result we will be getting a 7-screen cinema, 8-lane bowling alley, sports bar and restaurants plus green space. The project is due for completion in October 2022. However, in the meantime it will become a building site and rights of way are going to be restricted and people are indeed going to suffer noise and other nuisance. With this in mind Westover Ward Councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce have agreed to keep a channel open for residents to get directly in touch with the workers on site and the overseers at Sedgemoor District Council. The first such summit meeting took place this week and residents concerns were put to those who could answer them and take the necessary actions. This regular  section will provide an update.

Continue reading “Monitoring the Northgate Project :- May 2021”

Town Council Initiative on Engine Idling

Cllr Glen Burrows and Cllr Kath Pearce

Bridgwater Town Councillors  Glen Burrows (Eastover) and Kathy Pearce (Westover) have been out around town this week promoting some new car stickers and leaflets, produced by Bridgwater Town Council following an initiative by Bridgwater Town Transport Forum, encouraging drivers to switch off their engines when their vehicle is stationary. Cllr Glen Burrows, Chair of the Forum, says “A 2019 report linked 40,000 deaths each year to air pollution, and engine idling contributes to these deaths, by increasing exhaust fumes in the atmosphere. Exhaust fumes contain carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons – all poisonous pollutants. In Bridgwater town centre, on streets such as High Street, Eastover and St John Street, shop-keepers spend all day breathing in pollution from idling engines. We need to persuade motorists to stop this practice.”

Continue reading “Town Council Initiative on Engine Idling”

“Where are you really from?” – Exploring Migration and Identity

THURSDAY, 17 JUNE 2021 FROM 19:00 –21:00

Bridgwater Together & The Eclectic Collective presents  

Free  · Online event

“Go back to where you came from! We don’t want you here.” Who is ‘we’? and where the hell am I supposed to go ‘back’ to?” An event exploring migration and identity in Somerset, maybe? Yes-ha! There will be diverse topics of discussion with our esteemed guest speakers, talking about their own experiences of migration and the impact they have felt on their identity as well as opportunities for the audience to connect and form a network with each other in the smaller workshops held in breakout rooms.

To join the event visit eventbrite and register and a zoom link will appear

Co organiser Roshan Adve says “We are hoping to bring people together to reconstruct the values we hold as British people, shed light on Britain’s colonial past, revise the language around migration, explore the causes and consequences of Racial Imposter Syndrome and much more!”

Workshops

1) “Re-examining Britain’s past: An accurate history of colonialism” – Delving into Britain’s guilt-ridden, imperial past and exploring how the effects it had on migration are felt today.

2) “So you think you’re British? Reconstructing British values” – A workshop on scrapping the façade of British values we are taught in school and brainstorming new values that society should aspire towards.

3) “Revising the language around Migration: Debunking migration myths” – A socio-linguistic analysis on how the negative language that politicians and political parties use around migration trickles into our culture and how to recognize and counteract this.

4) “What Are You? Exploring the Mixed Identity” – A workshop exploring the difficulties people face expressing and coming to terms with their racial identities in a majority white area and the experience of racial identity dysphoria.

The event will be livestreamed

For more information go to  Facebook or contact the organisers at eclectic.antiracism@gmail.com