Friday, January 28, 2011


Bridgwater Forward   demonstrated outside todays Special meeting of Sedgemoor District Council and members and supporters spoke passionately at the meeting but all to no avail as the massive Tory  majority silently voted through plans  that would turn the former Splash site into a Tesco  Extra that could hammer the final nail into the coffin of Bridgwater Town centre. 

60 members of the Public attended the meeting and made their feelings clear to the Tory run Council  who nevertheless  voted 28- 8  (with 1 abstention) to trash the town centre  ,  hack up green space and blight the properties of neighbouring residents .  All Labour and LibDem members voted against the plans but to their eternal shame even the 6 Bridgwater Tories turned their back on  the town.

Chair of Bridgwater Forward Sally Jones spoke up for the hard pressed traders and directed her fire against Tory Leisure portfolio Holder Ann Bown (Wembdon)  "Where do your loyalties lie?! It;s a well known fact that  Tescos have ruined other towns and any jobs offered won't be local jobs but relocations. This proposal could lead to  current retailers  rethinking their lease because of the impact on them . This wo n't be money for Bridgwater it will just be money for Tescos!"

Trades Unionist Glen Burrows  attacked the Council on the failure to genuinely consult "In 2006 the public view was sought and it was clearly expressed that Bridgwater had too many supermarkets, an additional superstore     would both destroy   existing retail outlets and make our town less attractive. This illustrates the good sense of the people of Bridgwater i n contrast to those who believe  we have no  option but to turn the town into one large shopping mall. Sedgemoor District Council is demonstrating  a reputation for ignoring the expressed wishes of the local population."

Splash occupier Bob Cudlipp listed his objections "The loss of 23%  of public open space, 80% of the trees will be cut down. This proposal is only the tip of the iceberg.  When the  police station moves out next this site wi ll become a petrol station !"

Splash campaigner Peter Smith pointed a finge at  Chief Executive  Kerry Rickards "If the pool is not built  by 2012 Mr Rickards said he would resign -and probably still get a golden handshake. But if we look at the legacy of the Cheddar pool we know that Sedgemoor is NOT in control of it's own destiny. Theres too much arrogance and a lack of credibility. This is the last chance saloon , the last chance to save your souls   and with them the credibility of SDC!"

Labour councillor Julian Taylor said "This council simply doesn't learn fro mthe lessons of the past. There are no guarantees that they won't be making the same mistake again that they did with Eastover when they brought ASDA in. Is a 'MultiNational really going to be concerned about small retailers in Bridgwater? Tesco's mission is to close down other retailers."

Labour councillor Brian Smedley said "People are not being convinced by the councils economic case . Bridgwater People have clearly said they don't need another supermarket and yet the people who dreamt up this scheme  seem to have just sat around in a room for an hour and finally thought..well, another supermarket it is then . It really is time this Council listened!"

Highbridge LibDem leader Joe Leach said "60,000 sq ft    is a huge store.  Look what happened when Tescos did this in Shepton Mallet - the town centre was destroyed. In Highbridge they putin an ASDA with just 40,000 sq ft and the High st is dying.  Once it;s gone,it;s gone for good".

Ian  Tucker pushed Tory leader McGinty to justify his position by saying "   Is he satisfied  that the development   will not harm the town centre as developments of this kind have destroyed      towns in other areas? Have the council been pro-active   in encouraging other large companies  such as M&S  into the town? "

While the majority of Tories sat quietly  ( until the final inevitable vote) Cllr McGinty attempted to justify their policy "Bridgwater is only 32% of Sedgemoor and in fact it's 500th in a list of where companies want to open shops Nationally!!. Yes it;s a risk but we believe  it can be minimised. This is better value than the Community could have expected in the circumstances and in future it will glow! (this was believed n ot to be a reference to the EDF plans for a new Nuclear power station)"

As the Tories   silently, yet massively , outvoted their Labour and LibDem  opponents the measured restraint of the  bitterly dissapointed crowd boiled over into anger as people shouted "Shame!"and "Disgrace!" at the  Ruling group .


  1. Hi - as part of the Frome anti-Tesco campaign we've started an e-petition about supermarket power:

    Please sign it, tweet it, facebook it, and let's get this debated in parliament.

    Thanks! Patrick

  2. Tesco rulllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeees!