Flood - Wednesday 5 January
Flood – Wednesday 5 January

Severe Flood Warning Issued – Danger to Life

A Severe Flood Warning has been issued by the Environment Agency for the Salt Moor and North Moor including Moorland.

This Severe Flood Warning is for Salt Moor and North Moor including East Lyng, Burrowbridge, West Yeo, Moorland and Fordgate.

Flooding is expected to affect up to 100 properties in this area.

The River Tone is continuing to spill into Currymoor reservoir via Hookbridge spillway. The drain level at Currymoor pumping station is 7.8 m and is continuing to rise in response to this. There is an imminent risk that Baltmoor Wall will overtop resulting in a specific increased risk from flooding to properties in the Moorland, Northmoor and Fordgate areas. The police are currently on site advising the most vulnerable properties to evacuate their properties. Continue reading “Flooding”

Bridgwater Skatepark is here (at last)

Skatepark opening
Skatepark opening

It seems like years. That’s because it is. Years and years people have campaigned to get a skatepark in Bridgwater. Now they have one. It’s in Westover and it’s one of the biggest and best in the South West. It’s been designed by the users (who’ve had their names engraved into the concrete..with only one slight mis-spelling) and now it’s finally open.

The skatepark was opened today, Saturday 14th December 2013, with the cutting of the ribbon by long term skatepark campaigner and skater George Rollinson, who,several years back, had led a skateboard protest through the High Street with others wearing only their boxer shorts. Well, it’s probably what Trotsky would have done. Although when he asked Stalin for a skatepark it didn’t turn out too well. Continue reading “Bridgwater Skatepark is here (at last)”

The Year in Westover 2013

Westover News 2013On Friday 6 December, Councillors and residents met up at the Bridgwater Arts Centre for an informal chat about the years key events in the ward at a christmas social. It was a chance to see where we were on certain projects, introduce new developments and exchange forthright views on things that were contentious.

First item under scrutiny was West Quay. It was just over two years since the collapse of the wall on the riverfront had brought misery to many traders and residents but the repairs were now complete and the new pedestrianisation up and running. As far as the wall collapse went most people had now received some form of compensation and the wall itself looked like not collapsing again in the near future. The pedestrianisation,which had come about as a result of a petition by the West Quay Action Group, was now in place but having some teething problems. There were concerns at a newly installed gate which SCC wouldn’t let us lock and inevitably traffic still using the street as a result. Ward councillors had also managed to get the town council to extend the christmas light show onto the Quay this year for the first time. The general view was that pedestrianisation needed time to settle in and people should try to make it work. Continue reading “The Year in Westover 2013”

Long Awaited Bridgwater Skatepark Finally to Open

Skatepark being buildBridgwater people have been campaigning for a skatepark for years and now the grandchildren of those original campaigners (well almost) are finally to witness that dream become a reality. The new Bridgwater Skatepark will be at the YMCA on Friarn Avenue, and will officially open at 10.30am on Saturday 14th December 2013. The park will be opened by skate park users, staff from the YMCA, Sedgemoor District Council Chairman, Councillor Peter Downing and Bridgwater Mayor, Councillor Dave Loveridge.

Land and Freedom

Westover ward councillors Brian Smedley & Steve Austen were members of the Wheeled Sports Facility Panel that guided the final phase of the project in to it’s current location at the YMCA. Cllr Smedley explained the history, “The site wasn’t arrived at without complications and the main issue locally was always ‘land’. The campaign has been obviously going for years without that issue being adequately addressed and at one stage we thought it was solved when Sedgemoor gave planning permission to land at the College for the skatepark, then that use was suddenly changed, and then they suggested land at the Clink, but this land wasn’t really in their power to gift, so none of these happened. This is why the users formed the Skateparks Campaign Group to try to drive the issue forward. This resulted in the modest gain of the 2 mini-parks on Cranleigh Gardens and Victoria Park. However, there was a concern that the big park that everyone really wanted might never happen now that they’d provided the mini-parks so the pressure had to be kept on and crucially the issue of land addressed. Eventually we produced a comprehensive list of all possible sites in the town and put it to the users and partner groups and as a result they accepted the YMCA site. For the people of Westover it’s a good choice as it’s slap bang in the middle of our ward but also easily accessible to the rest of the town and also sufficiently out of the way to preserve it’s independence whilst at the same time being alongside the YMCA which is without doubt the leading youth facility in the town.” Continue reading “Long Awaited Bridgwater Skatepark Finally to Open”

New Bridgwater Hospital agrees to keep ‘Mary Stanley’ name

Castle Street
Castle Street

Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has confirmed that the proposed name of the midwifery unit at the new Bridgwater Community Hospital will be The Mary Stanley Midwifery Unit thereby maintaining the link with old Castle Street Nursing Home (right) where many Bridgwater children were born until it was closed in the 1980’s.

Cllr Brian Smedley, who lives in the former building, now flats, welcomed the news saying, “When they tried to close down the original Nursing home we organised a major campaign against it with the result that although we didn’t save it we managed to retain a delivery suite at the Salmon Parade Hospital with the same name. When the Town Council learnt that the new hospital was planning to ditch the name we raised the issue of historical continuity and this time that was all that was needed.”

Get the right Mary Stanley!!!

Cllr Smedley added a word of caution, “Much has been claimed of Mary Stanley’s illustrious past-but often without much actual thought or research. For instance on the Bridgwater Mercury website this week you’ll see them repeating a wikipedia page about a totally different Mary Stanley (one who came from Cheshire and was in the Crimean War with Florence Nightingale). This one isn’t ours…although several former Bridgwater historians – including Roger Evans in his book ‘Bridgwater with and without the E’ claims Mary to be the Crimean Stanley. In fact as her death records show that she died in 1920 aged 77 it means she would have been born in 1843 and therefore 9 when the Crimean war started. Our Mary Stanley was in fact the eldest daughter of a famous Whig (Country gentry 19th century liberals) who became Lord Taunton and MP for that town. She was therefore part of the landed gentry in Somerset living at Over Stowey, related to the Tory dynasty of Heathcote Amorys and eventually married Tory MP for Bridgwater EJ Stanley who also has a street named after him and who was part of the vicious Lord Salisbury Government which often used troops to break up strikes-including in 1896 in Bridgwater. In fact Stanley only had that street – up in Hamp- named after him in the early 90’s after I named a street there Frampton (after the 1896 Brickyard workers strike leader Robert Frampton ) and another councillor added Stanley (the MP of the day) …’for balance’….although not much balance was shown by the troops who cleared the High street of strikers at bayonet point.”

However, the new facility will be named after Mary Stanley as this was felt to provide an association with the existing community hospital and acknowledgment of the support given to the social welfare of women by the Mary Stanley during her lifetime and it’s true that it’s a fondly remembered place in the hearts of many Bridgwater people lucky enough to be born there..

The new £32 million pounds Bridgwater Hospital is currently under construction on land just off Bower Lane, and is due to receive its first patients in April 2014. It will replace the town’s existing community hospital which was opened in 1813.

The Mary Stanley who died in April 1920 has her death records online here: www.bridgwatercemeteries.org.uk/misob/Stanley.html