At this weeks meeting of Sedgemoor District Council which approved plans for Brewery Field enhancement, Westover councillors criticised the sudden deforestation of the site which took members of the public by surprise earlier this month. Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) said “What’s not to like about a high quality town centre park achieved with no net loss of open space. But this hasn’t been helped by the recent and sudden wholesale destruction of trees on Northgate and as a result ward councillors have been hard pressed to justify this. But we have been able to with the understanding that more green space will be created and more trees planted – I expect this will come up again when the Brewery Field will be used as a storage yard for the leisure development in June -so keeping the people informed is very important.”
Deputy Leader Kathy Pearce (Labour, Westover) has made some suggestions for new planting, wildlife and biodiversity in the area. Kath said ” Many will have noticed that clearance work has commenced on Northgate. The work was undertaken now, prior to the start of the nesting season. Whilst, it looks desolate now, work will soon be underway to regenerate the area in terms of leisure facilities for the town and also long term environmental benefits through additional planting and landscaping. The background to this is that the Council agreed a £15m plan to develop Northgate with a leisure focus, a new Scott Cinema, All Stars sports bar, including bowling alley with family focus and larger children’s play area. Included in the scheme is enhancing the Brewery Field to make it into a park environment, rather than just a field, as it is at present. The plans will retain a large grass area, which is popular for local dog walkers and also for those wanting to enjoy open space so close to the town centre but it will also include a pathway following the route of the old brewery railway line to add interest and provide a reference to the area’s heritage.”
Kath continued “In terms of planting, the area between the cinema and bowling alley will include mature trees. Plus, Significant planting will take place on the Brewery Field to include some shad with trees such as Oaks, Birches and flowering cherries. Native hedgerow will be planted along the edges (including Hawthorn, Nut bushes, Roses Holly) and wildflower areas will encourage butterflies and pollinators. A swale area is included for water retention purposes but will also create a wetland area and a greater diversity of planting and interest.This is a very exciting scheme for Northgate and we look forward to work starting to develop and enhance this part of the town, both in terms of leisure and long term environment improvements.”
More planting needed
Cllr Smedley concluded “We have supported this project since the decision was taken to end the Tesco megastore scheme and to work to the town council and the labour groups specifications of a way forward -that its complementary to the town centre, that it’s a leisure led project, and that there is a retention and upgrade of green space. So, we welcome the fact that it has reached this stage in the process and support the recommendation in particular noting that the leisure centre aspect won’t open until the brewery field has been enhanced, but we really need no more carnage such as the Treemageddon we saw earlier this month without alternatives being sought and where there are none a clear programme of even greater replanting.”
Bridgwater Town Council produced a Treeflet just before Christmas which identified 50 important trees in the Westover ward.
3 have since been chopped down……
The treeflets are available from the Sweetbox on Bridgwater’s Cornhill or from the town council,