With only 3 months to go before important Town and District elections Bridgwater Forward is extremely concerned at yet another thundering silence from Sedgemoor District Council on an important area of Public interest. These elections will be the first chance for people to have their say on the decisions made by Tory controlled Sedgemoor over the past 4 years and ward boundaries have changed drastically.
Sedgemoor Labour Councillor Brian Smedley was on the sub committee that discussed possible changes and explains the process and outcome.
The main change on the West side of the town is the creation of a WESTOVER ward. This ward includes the Town centre in it;s entirety plus the adjoining parts of West street, Camden,Blacklands and Anson surrounding the Northgate 'Tescos' site, plus Lyndale and the docks and then part of the old Hamp ward stretching from town centre to the start of Rhode lane. This will return 2 District Councillors and 3 town councillors.
The former VICTORIA ward has been moved slightly to the north so that it starts at Kendale road/Chilton street and then includes the new developments on the NDR. Again this will return 2 Town and 2 District councillors.
The HAMP ward has been reduced to the area of the old estate starting from the end of Rhode lane and being bounded by the Towns southern edge. Hamp will have 2 Town and 2 District councillors.
The main East Bridgwater change is the re-drawing of the line in Sydenham. Whereas previously 'old' Sydenham had returned 3 members and stretched from railway line to a 2nd north-south line defining the newer developments of Bower Manor and Silversprings, a new line has been drawn east-west across the junction of Fairfax road with Parkway thus creating a 3 member ward 'FAIRFAX' to the North of this -including the Sydenham rd/Bath road area plus Bower Manor and 'DUNWEAR' to the south of this including the Longstone end of Sydenham plus the Bridge estate, which will return 2 town and district members.
The remainder of Sedgemoor will be the battleground for the forthcoming election as since 1974 Bridgwater was subsumed into the District at the expense of its former powers as a Borough and is now submerged into this largely Tory district. Whereas in Bridgwater the balance is Labour 10 Conservative 6, the balance around the rest of Sedgemoor is Conservative 31 LibDem 3. This gives an overwhelming Tory majority on Sedgemoor of 37 Conservative against 10 Labour (the Bridgwater members) and 3 Lib Dem (entirely from the Burnham area).
To gain sole control of SDC one party needs to achieve 25 seats. If no party achieves this then the Council goes to NOC (No Overall Control) The last time this happened was in 1995 when Labour took 13 seats (largely Bridgwater) and LibDems took 12 (largely rural). The Tories only regained control 3 years later when the so called 'independents' put on blue rosettes .
Bob Cudlipp (Independent) said "We need to encourage people to vote and we need more independents!"