Bridgwater Town Council’s Forum system is proving to be a popular way of bringing together councillors, experts and the public to develop council policy. One of the most active is the Town Transport Forum chaired by Eastover Labour councillor Glen Burrows. On Tuesday February 4th this Forum will meet at Bridgwater Town Hall at 4pm and will include Alex Carter the Managing Director from First South West busses and will focus on support for the ‘Catch a Bus’ campaign. Glen Burrows, reporting back on the pre Christmas meeting, said “A healthy turn-out at the meeting, held only two days before the General Election was surprising, and proves, I believe, that transport is high on the agenda for the local community.”
Anna Meares ( Climate Emergency Graduate Support, Housing, Communities & Wellbeing, Sedgemoor District Council) gave a clear and helpful introduction to the Somerset Climate Action Network (SCAN). On Saturday 8th February, from 10am – 4pm, at Bridgwater House, there will be a SCAN consultation exercise. This is an opportunity to discuss and agree what practical steps local authorities should be taking to combat the climate emergency, and Transport Forum members were invited to attend.
Community Campaigns for Busses
Peter Travis, from Frome and Villages Bus User Group (FAVBUG) followed with an inspiring account of the Frome local campaign to engage both with users, suppliers and elected representatives to develop improvements to local services. At the February 2020 meeting of the Bridgwater Transport Forum we hope to launch a similar campaign in Bridgwater, with the support of Bridgwater Town Council. This could include a survey of bus users, a “Catch the Bus Week”, and general encouragement to car users to use public transport. It was agreed that the priorities for Bridgwater should be the need for a bus link between rail station and town centre and a late bus service from Taunton to Bridgwater.
HPC Construction Traffic
Our third speaker Alastair Higton, Services Manager for SCC Major Energy Programmes, is currently working on travel demand management and behaviour change to mitigate impacts of HPC construction traffic in and around Bridgwater. He will attend the Transport Forum meeting in May, to carry out a consultation over impacts of HPC construction traffic on Bridgwater.
On the Rails
We await a reply from GWR to our proposal that free parking be re-instated at Bridgwater Railway Station, to ease the pressure on parking in the surrounding streets.
Letters have been sent to SDC and to some large retail outlets, pointing out the need for the development of a system of electric vehicle charging points, to further encourage use of electric and hybrid vehicles. Morrison’s have installed one in their car park, although this does not seem to be widely known.