On 19th October the Town Council is holding a drop in at the Town Hall to showcase the 11 projects that are on offer as part of the Town Deal. People are encouraged to ‘drop in’ and see for themselves and have their say. The event will run from 2pm to 7pm. Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) has a few extra thoughts to add. “Far from this being some generous Government investment in Bridgwater, this is a small contribution towards our town getting back what it’s lost through 50 years of Tory Sedgemoor and 2 disastrous Tory Governments. The 1980’s Tory years of Thatcher nearly brought Bridgwater to it’s knees with mass unemployment and the loss of manufacturing and then 13 years of Tory austerity under Cameron’s ‘coalition of ConDem chaos’, May & Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done means Get Brexit Done’, Liz Truss’s, well, ‘god knows what’ and now Sunak’s – ‘things have got to change! Oh hang about, we’re in power..’ years combined with decades of Sedgemoor Tories ‘direct rule from Cheddar’ mean there’s been a hell of a lot more taken away from Bridgwater by the Tories than the £23 million recently offered back!”
But things are starting to change. Bridgwater lost it’s Borough status in 1974 when Sedgemoor District Council was created which meant it lost it’s independence. It was lost in the surrounding sea of blue.
And the same was the case in parliamentary elections.
Red Bridgwater was lost in a sea of Tory blue stretching all the way to Exmoor which means that in 50 years we’ve just had 2 MPs. Both Tories (Tom King and Ian Liddle-Grainger) and both easily re-elected time after time.
It’s time for a change. That change is coming. This is how we do it.
Why are things changing?
- Because the Town Council was restored by the last Labour Government in 2003 and now with the Unitary council and the ending of Sedgemoor that means Bridgwater can finally take back control of it’s own destiny.
- Because the Bridgwater Parliamentary seat has changed and the next election will be fought on a boundary closer to Bridgwater, devoid of West Somerset and with no Ian Liddle-Grainger on the ballot paper.
So people really should go to the Town Council ‘Town Deal Open day’ on Thursday 19th October and have their say..but more than that – the new Bridgwater Labour controlled Town Council runs a system of ‘Peoples Forums’ and if you want to permanently have your say in how these projects are taken forward and how new, old and ongoing projects develop you are very welcome to sign up.
“Bridgwater is the only Labour Town Council in Somerset – but imagine with a Labour Government behind us what potential we can unlock for the future.”
This ‘Town Deal’ might be being presented as a big investment by a generous Government -and any investment is welcome of course, but don’t be fooled…. it’s small change and the real battles are ahead of us.
Cllr Smedley added “We have to say that towards the end of Sedgemoor they were becoming more supportive of Bridgwater and much of what they did in later years was undoubtedly good – a long way from closing down the Splash and persecuting Poll Tax victims. But there’s no doubt that the future of a community needs to be decided in that community itself!”
Bridgwater Town Council has had some input into the Town Deal project through the influential presence of hard working Town Mayor Cllr Mick Lerry (Labour, Victoria) but not the overiding one. This was initially in the hands of Sedgemoor as the lead authority and then, after Unitary, in the hands of Somerset County, who have now brought in ‘non Bridgwater’ councillors to run it, leaving us on yet another precipice of rule from a far off galaxy…
However…..You can follow the town deal here and see for yourself