Labour candidate for the new South Sydenham ward of Dunwear, Ian Tucker, spoke this week at the final Town Council meeting - a body on which he hopes to be a key member after may 5th. Ian, who is standing in Dunwear alongside popular FBU man Leigh Redman, has been a leading critic of Sedgemoor Tories and their handling of the Sedgemoor Splash closure and the Tesco's bid and has spoken at most Council meetings including the final SDC one where he accused Tory councillors of being "Sheep".
Ian spoke as follows "As you will all be aware a public meeting took place on the 28th March to debate the sale of the Northgate site to Tesco.The meeting was advertised as a public one, open to all ,both for or against Tesco. The turn out of 190 I considered very good. Apart from council members and people who reside outside the town boundaries, who could not vote, a show of hands resulted in only one person voting for Tesco ."
"At the subsequent full council meeting two days later, Cllr Preece (Tory Dunwear) stated that I claimed I was speaking on behalf of all the people in Bridgwater. I wish to make it perfectly clear that this was not the case and I was speaking for the majority of people in Bridgwater. Considering the overwhelming vote at the public meeting against Tesco I feel this has been proved."
"Cllr Preece also quoted the Mayor, who, at the public meeting stated that when times are hard then council's have no option than to sell assets when they have to raise money. I agree, but Bridgwater is no ordinary town, it is fast becoming a boom town and is already bucking the national trend and growing in prosperity. Not my words but those of Sedgmoor's Chief Executive. Therefore I do not agree that we have to sell assets to raise money and finance amenities such as a swimming pool."
"..selling of Northgate is an Opportunity lost.."
"It is wrong to say that the new swimming pool is costing the taxpayer nothing as Cllr's Slocombe and Baker state in their election leaflet. The selling of Northgate is an opportunity lost, an asset that the people of Bridgwater will not now have. Also there is the small matter of up to £400K per year running costs which Sedgemoor have said they will pay. "
"There is a great deal of suspicion about the way Sedgemoor have conducted negotiations with regard to the whole process of shutting the Splash to the present situation. I still await a response to my emails sent on the 6th April to the Leader and monitoring Officer asking
1. Why have they not pursued Tesco for leisure facilities
2. Why are they withholding important information to opposition councillors regarding conditions of sale?
3. Why do they still refuse recordings at meetings against central government directives?
4. Has the council investigated the effect large supermarkets have had on other towns"
"..Council taking a massive risk"
"The recent Country file programme on BBC TV highlighted two towns, Yeovil and Totnes. Thea Platt from the Council for the Protection of Rural England looked at both towns in detail. She concluded that in the case of Yeovil the supermarkets, there are 3 large ones including a Tesco Extra, had driven the small trader out leaving only two butchers and a baker. On visiting Yeovil however I did find a town far different from Bridgwater, as it had large stores, such as M&S and British Home stores all along the high street. This made the high street much more vibrant. Totnes however is a much smaller town with a good tourist trade and only one medium sized supermarket. The supermarket helped in this town as people came to it from surrounding areas, could not get everything in it and therefore walked up the high street. "
|Leigh Redman "disgraceful council"|
Although Town Clerk Alan Hurford advised the meeting that because the meeting fell within the 'Purdah' period just before an election, the motion should be defered to the first Town Council meeting after the Election, Ian said he was not detered as this "set a marker for the new Council to be judged on".
Ian's running mate in Dunwear, Leigh Redman, also attacked Sedgemoors record.“I was opposed to the disgraceful way the council allowed the demolition of the Splash and I want to fight to help build Bridgwater back to its previous best. Big business should be bringing good things to the local community not forcing the destruction of them! "