Sunday, 22 May 2011


The Sedgemoor Labour Group at Annual Council
Sedgemoor District Council has held it's first meeting since the Tory majority was reduced at the recent Elections and the newly strengthened Labour group has made it clear that it has a strong mandate  to speak for  the people of Bridgwater and the ruling group needs to recognise this.

As Tory leader Duncan McGinty announced his , exclusively rural, Portfolio team, Cllr Mick Lerry (Labour Bridgwater Victoria) stood to request that this new reality be reflected in the composition of the Sedgemoor Executive committee saying "The leader is not being inclusive and there should now be a review of the Governance of SDC. There is a clear need for a challenge within the Executive as there are only Conservative councillors on it and also not one Bridgwater Councillor, which makes up over one third of the residents of sedgemoor, has been chosen. !"

The Tory and Labour teams revealed.
Leader DUNCAN McGINTY (East Polden) .......Shadow KATHY PEARCE (Bridgwater Westover)
Dep Leader DAWN HILL (Cheddar ).................Shadow JULIAN TAYLOR (Bridgwater Eastover)
Environment RICHARD BURDEN (Wedmore) Shadow REG WINSLOW (Bridgwater Fairfax)
Community JOHN SWAYNE (Petherton).... Shadow IAN TUCKER (Bridgwater Dunwear)
Corporate ANN BOWN (Wembdon) ................Shadow LEIGH REDMAN (Bridgwater Dunwear)
Planning STUART KINGHAM (West Polden) ......Shadow GRAHAM GRANTER (Bridgwater Fairfax)
Economic ANN FRASER (Petherton) ..........Shadow ADRIAN MOORE (Bridgwater Hamp)
Housing ANDREW GILLING (Knoll)......... Shadow MICK LERRY (Bridgwater Victoria)

To step up the pressure on the Tory Executive the Labour group will chair the 2 Scrutiny committees which can  'Call in' their decisions for closer scrutiny in the style of parliamentary select committees. The new chairmen are  Cllr JULIAN TAYLOR (Community) and Cllr BRIAN SMEDLEY (Corporate) -the latters appointment being greeted with an audible 'Good Heavens!" from McGinty.

The Labour group, now 13 strong (and taking up 3 rows of council seats!) are joined on the vague left by 2 rival Liberal factions following the massive bloodletting in Highbridge. Elder Statesmen-Chris Williams and Mike Mansfield , have formed an 'Independents group' and sit on a small table  some distance from the 'official' Liberal Democrats -Joe Leach and His  group (that's a lady called Kate Lawson) -who share the end of a table with some Tory backbenchers) . Williams pointed out that the Tories have also "..totally ignored Burnham & Highbridge in their Executive  too  which now means 75% of Sedgemoor residents aren't represented on it".

The first challenge of the new Tory council will be their ability or indeed willingness to proceed with the Tescos development and the sale of Northgate - a decision now imminent and in the hands of corporate director Doug Bamsey.

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