Thursday, 8 December 2011


At The Bridgwater Parish Cluster meeting of Wednesday 7th December, Labour councillors proposed a spending package to kick start several long awaited projects for the towns youth, including the long awaited Skate park plus cash for play areas and sporting facilities.

The Cluster Groups are a forum for Town, District, Parish and County Councillors of the various areas within Sedgemoor to discuss issues pertinent to their own areas and to recomend spending priorities within those areas. A key element of the money earmarked for the town comes from the RLT fund which is the money paid in by developers to compensate for the loss of green space due to their developments.

Of the 5 Sedgemoor Clusters, only Bridgwater has a sizeable Labour majority on it. The others (Coastal, Cheddar, Moors and Quantock) are all Tory dominated.

Cllr Steve Austen
"Reviving the Skatepark campaign"
   Following discussions between Labour Councillor Steve Austen, Martin Hodgson at the YMCA  and Sedgemoors Teresa Harvey, the Labour Group managed to get the issue of the long awaited Skate Park back on the agenda with a potential resolution for the sticky issue of 'the land' finally having a potential solution. Teresa Harvey speaking at the meeting said "We have an offer from the YMCA that will solve the land issue if it's agreeable. We now need to re-establish the Task & Finish group to look at this offer."

Cllr Brian Smedley supported the proposal saying "The money is in place from Town & District Counciland the only issue has ever been that of the land. It is important now to make sure this site is what the skating community actually wants and therefore crucial that they are now involved at every stage of the project." 

The meeting agreed with this and the Skate Park was made the Clusters top priority with it;s budget of £150,000 ring fenced to achieve it.

Cllr Mick Lerry, the leader of the Sedgemoor Labour Group, proposed a further priority spend from the Cluster which was similarly voted through. This included
£80,000 Victoria Park  (Victoria)- to include a Multi Use Games Area and outdoor Gym.
£48,000 Mansfield Park (Hamp)-to establish a play area in accommodation with the current football usage possibly including relocation of the pitch.
£34,500 Cranleigh Gardens (Eastover) -to include  facilities such as a Trim Trial.
£34,500 Coronation Park (Sydenham) -to enhance the play area with additional features.

The meeting identified future works and funds which could enhance further the facilities including a potential £500,000 from EDF as 'mitigation money' regarding Hinkley point, plus a section 106 agreement which would bring additional provision to the North East Bridgwater area including the relocation or otherwise of the Inovia Sports and Social Club.
Cllr Ian Tucker
"Young people are angry"

Cllr Ian Tucker (Dunwear), highlighted the need for youth funding in the wake of the County Council cuts to Youth services, saying "SCC has reduced all funding for youth work by 75%. Because of this most youth workers will be made redundant and youth centres closed including the Rollercoaster.   The young people  are very angry that this is happening and I believe the District Council can't hide it's head in the sand over this and needs to take an active role in dealing with the knock on effects."

Cllr Tucker added "It is very obvious that facilities like the Rollercoaster have been a lifeline for many youngsters on the Sydenham estate as well as those coming in from other areas."

The next Cluster meeting will be March 7th and will look at Youth provision and also at the position of the Bridgwater Arts Centre at the end of the financial year.

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