Thursday, November 11, 2010


Northgate;-Site of the Demolished Splash.            Bridgwater Forward;-Ian Tucker collecting signatures for the petition
 On Wednesday 10th November Sedgemoor District Councillors received a 1,875 name petition from Bridgwater Forward, asking for the plans for an out of town  pool at Chilton Trinity to be abandoned and more work to be done looking at the Northgate site.
 The petition was presented by Bridgwater bus driver  Ian Tucker and it said “We the undersigned agree with Bridgwater Forward that Bridgwater needs and deserves town centre swimming facilities.  We call upon Sedgemoor District Council to abandon plans for a pool at Chilton Trinity School and instead carry out a full public consultation, as promised, over the development of the Northgate site as a pool and leisure site”
  Under new legislation, the petitioner had three minutes to present their petition and then only a maximum of 15 minutes was allowed for Councillors debate.
Cllr McGinty;- Town centre "not that bad"
After the debate Ian Tucker said  "Unsurprisingly we were not successful. Labour and Lib Dems voted for further investigation but I every Tory voted against ." 
Cllr Duncan McGinty gave the protestors  a history lesson before the 15minute debate started saying
"Taking away the emotion surrounding the pool and in the very harsh light of day, the only objective, practical and affordable solution that we reached in order to ensure swimming continues in the future in and around Bridgwater was:-
1. Close The Splash and ring fence the saving of £400,000 a year towards a new pool, located next to Chilton Trinity School in Chilton Street, Bridgwater 
2 Commit £1.5 million towards the new pool infrastructure and to pay for design fees to show our commitment to provide a new pool
3 Put in place a multi-stranded funding plan to make sure that when the time comes we have enough money to finance for the new pool.
Cllr Pearce "Funding  can  be found"
 Building of the main part of the new school at the Chilton Trinity has already started.  Preliminary works that will allow the pool to be built alongside the school and leisure centre are included in that building work.  Detailed contracts for the pool element are expected to be signed very soon.   It is planned that the pool will be open in late 2012."
Cllr Kathy Pearce (Labour, Bridgwater Hamp) said- " Funding could be found for town centre swimming. and building a pool  at Chilton would give no value for money .The  council should look to other partners for funding.  This  petition has gained 1875 responses from the Bridgwater area alone, more than the council had achieved with their recent budget consultation   from across the whole of Sedgemoor.  This, together with the 7,000 signatures gained in previous consultations, should prompt the council to review their previous decision".

Cllr David Preece (Conservative, Bridgwater Bower) said- "I have yet to see any  letter from  EDF where they said they would build us a pool!"  

Cllr   Taylor "What are we doing!?"
Cllr Julian Taylor (Labour, Bridgwater Eastover)- said  "The letter from EDF  of July 2009  referred to them being willing to discuss funding. The Chief Executive has already commented that this   £1m from EDF is not enough especially as Hinkley was costing £38b. Where is the council's development and leisure strategy What are we doing?"

Cllr Gill Slocombe (Conservative, Bridgwater Quantock)- said "... isn't it sad that we are arguing about a state of the art swimming pool. We now have one which is to be built at Chilton Trinity put our energy into that."

Cllr Smedley   "No consultation!"
Cllr Brian Smedley  (Labour, Bridgwater Hamp) - said  "This  failure to look properly at the petition is typical of the Councils attitude to consultation. 15 minutes to debate this?! Each councillor has just 30 seconds to comment! We should take it to a committee for proper consideration. How  many chances do you need? Very soon you won't even  have a town centre to worry about!" 

Cllr Joe Leach (Lib Dem,Highbridge) - said  "The cost to the council for further investigation will be nothing. Sedgemoor says it wants to protect front line services and a petition with 7000 signatures requires further scrutiny."

Cllr Laband "Figures dont add up"
Cllr John Laband (Lib Dem ,Highbridge) said "The figures don't add up. The decision has been autocratic and did not take into consideration what the majority of people want which is the basis of democracy."

Cllr Neville Jones- (Conservative, Burnham on Sea,North) said " To now take any other action will simply cause delay."

Cllr Mike Mansfield (Lib Dem,Burnham on Sea,South) said "- Why was Splash left  in such a state. Surely the council should have looked after it better!"
Cllr Bown "The Splash has gone"

Cllr Ann Bown (Conservative, Sandford) said -" Face reality! The Splash has gone !".

Cllr Duncan Mc Ginty (Conservative,East Poldens)  as  Leader  summed up . "With reference to the town centre I don'tconsider it that bad. The council owns 16 units and only 3 are empty  but even these are under offer, as one shop closes another opens. Chilton Trinity is  not that far from the centre. EDF was not a bread basket but the council will work for a strategy to get more money from them. We can't afford to wait and in fact work has already started. A pool will be ready by 2012. "

The motion was put by Cllr Kathy Pearce and seconded by Cllr Brian Smedley but was voted down by a unanimous Tory vote.

Sedgemoor District Council is composed of 37 Conservatives, 10 Labour and 3 Libdem members. Elections are next May.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Campaigning Community group BRIDGWATER FORWARD have presented a 1,875 name petition to Sedgemoor District Council which calls on them to look again at the Sedgemoor Splash site as an option for a swimming and leisure facility to regenerate the Town centre.

The petition organiser, Glen Burrows ,will speak at next wednesdays Full Council meeting to present the case. The petition states "We the undersigned agree with Bridgwater Forward that Bridgwater needs and deserves town centre swimming facilities. We call on Sedgemoor District Council to abandon plans for a pool at Chilton Trinity and instead carry out a full public consultation, as promised, over the development of the Northgate site as a pool and leisure centre".

The Council is obliged to debate any petition containing more than 1,100 signatures and Bridgwater Forward are urging people to attend the meeting.

The group has consistently urged Sedgemoor to abandon plans for the edge of town pool as the wrong location , to take up offers of funding to develop a town centre pool and to undertake a genuine consultation with the people .

Saturday, August 28, 2010

BRIDGWATER FORWARD - alive and well and still campaigning for a better deal for Bridgwater

Bridgwater Forward tried many ways to prevent the closure of our well loved Splash: petition, occupation, meetings. Help us now by using the sample letter here to get your message across to our Council that we are not happy with the building of yet another supermarket.

We are being asked to unite as a community in order to get what we think is best for our area. By sending the letter to Peter Smith for forwarding to SDC you will be helping to show how many people want a pool and leisure centre in the town, and not another supermarket.

What we need in Bridgwater is somewhere to go for leisure and to keep fit.

So many people miss Splash!

....with a learner pool beyond.

Splash has now gone, but its replacement must be right for the people of Bridgwater.
Chilton Trinity School has now been reprieved so the swimming pool will be back on the agenda. The site for our new pool is still in the wrong place.
A New Pool and Leisure Centre should be built on the Northgate site, which many of you voted for when visiting the consultation in the Town Hall
 As well as serving the needs of local people, this will encourage tourism to the town and provide leisure facilities to encourage new businesses to come and stay in Bridgwater.
Our new pool should be part of a leisure centre to provide activities such as ten pin bowling, indoor sport area for training purposes, built on the Northgate site.
What can residents do to make their voices heard?
Mr P Smith
Vice Chairman, Bridgwater Forward
1 Greatwood Close Bridgwater TA6 6UL
Peter Smith will pass all your letters to
Councillor Duncan McGinty,
Leader of Sedgemoor District Council
or "copy and paste sample letter into an email to Peter Smith".
Councillor D McGinty
c/o Mr P Smith
Vice Chairman Bridgwater Forward
1 Greatwood Close
(your address)
Dear Councillor McGinty
Replacement Public Swimming Pool for Bridgwater
There is still much anger in the town regarding the demolition of Splash. There is money ring-fenced for a new pool and I think it should be in the town centre, on the Northgate site.
This site is accessible by all, whether on foot, cycle, bus or car. It is our money that is being spent and this is what we, the people, want.
Yours sincerely
(Your name)
Please help us. We need thousands of letters - this is your last chance. We lost the Splash but it is not too late to get a new town centre pool.
Come & join us! Contact:   
01278 450562
Chair: Sally Jones 07516978088

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bridgwater Forward – Report of meeting held on Tuesday 17th August

Members of Bridgwater Forward confirmed their position at a meeting held on Tuesday 17th August that Bridgwater’s new pool should be built in the town centre, not outside the town as part of the re-building of Chilton Trinity School ( under the Government’s private finance project: “Building Schools for the Future”) Apart from the health and safety factors involved in adding traffic to an already congested route, why should Sedgemoor taxpayers pay for a pool which the Council will not ultimately manage, and where the community will have to share use with the school?

A Bridgwater Forward petition has been prepared calling for plans to build the pool at Chilton Trinity to be abandoned in favour of a town centre site. This is to counter claims from Sedgemoor District Council that only a minority of people want a town centre pool.

Members of Bridgwater Forward will be at Wembdon Village Fete on Monday 30th August, with leaflets and petition, to ask members of the public for their views.

The next meeting of Bridgwater Forward is on Tuesday 31st August, 7.30pm, at the Unity Club, Dampiet Street, Bridgwater. Tel. 01278 450562 for further details

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Bridgwater’s much-loved Town Centre swimming pool, ‘The Splash’ was closed by Sedgemoor District Council at the end of August 2009. Soon after, they demolished it and pursued plans for what we believe would be a poorly-sited and inferior replacement, alongside a re-built Chilton Trinity school.

For a year, we have been fighting hard to persuade the Council to do the right thing, admit its mistake, and re-build a town centre pool as part of the Northgate development. Not only would this be far more accessible and sustainable, but it would also give a massive boost to help regenerate the town centre.

When the Government put the Chilton Trinity Building Schools for the Future project ‘on hold,’ it seemed that the out-of-town pool project was dead. Now it has been revived, but Bridgwater Forward is STILL not impressed with the plan: nothing has changed our view!

We predict that Sedgemoor District Council, with the panic of possible cancellation of Chilton Trinity over, will now continue to insist to the people of Bridgwater and the surrounding villages that there is no alternative to an out-of-town pool.

Why do we say that is nonsense?

• Firstly, Sedgemoor originally agreed to replace the Splash as the centre piece of the Northgate development following extensive public consultation and advice from its own consultants!

• Secondly, Sedgemoor stands to gain from the sale of another massive land asset, the old Bath Road Cattle Market site;

• Thirdly, both Tesco and French nuclear energy company EDF expressed an interest in funding a pool as a part of successful planning negotiations: Whilst both companies may receive a frosty welcome from some quarters, Sedgemoor have, so far, turned their backs on exploring these possibilities. Why?

Bridgwater Forward says that there IS an alternative to a second-rate out-of-town Chilton Trinity Pool!

Sedgemoor District Council has NEVER properly consulted local people on:

• whether the Splash should have been closed and demolished this time last year;

• whether the replacement pool should now be out-of-town rather than in the town centre at Northgate;

• whether the Northgate development should include a supermarket if this would provide funding to build and run a new Pool at Northgate.

Bridgwater Forward challenges Sedgemoor to admit that there is STILL a choice of sites for a new swimming pool, and, by means of a properly-conducted local poll, to let the people decide where it should be built. We believe that voters would choose the town centre Northgate site. Is Sedgemoor afraid of this result?