Monday, 23 April 2012


With the announcement that the long awaited replacement for the Bridgwater Community Hospital is due to be built and operational within 2 years, Labour Councillor Julian Taylor held a special Community Scrutiny committee meeting of Sedgemoor District Council to  give members the chance to question the providers-NHS Somerset to make sure what was on offer was what the people of Bridgwater wanted.

Jan Hull, speaking on behalf of NHS Somerset, outlined the history of the project. "4 sites had been identified over the years for replacement hospitals and 3 had been achieved but Bridgwater was the last to be considered. Now, with the new announcement from the Government that  £16million funding would be released towards a total capital cost of £33million, Bridgwater was going to go ahead with some urgency."

completed by summer 2014

The proposed new Hospital would be built on land between Bower lane , Bath road and the M5 motorway. Construction would start by September 2012 and be completed by Summer 2014. There would be 30 inpatient beds, day treatment services,midwife led birthing centre,outpatient department, minor injury unit,diagnostic facilities and a therapies and rehabilitation department.

It was further estimated that the number of patients treated locally would increase from 29,000 to 62,000, inpatients from 596 to 756 and treatments from 200 to 1,500.

Cllr Lerry "Ensure safeguards"
There would in addition be 210 carparking spaces of which 60 would be for staff.
Labour Councillors present at the meeting including Cllr Mike Lerry (Victoria) Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) Cllr Dave Loveridge (Eastover) and Cllr Ian Tucker (Dunwear)  joined the committee in seeking answers to key questions.

requires better public transport

There was concern that the loss of a town centre location would require better public transport facilities and therefore  that regular bus services should include a hospital stop.

The return of a maternity facility to Bridgwater was welcomed and members were assured that there would be 2 Delivery suites and appropriate extra beds as it would be a seeprate unit.

One key issue was whether the projected increase in numbers was simply a prediction based on increased population numbers with the new EDF development but members were advised that the new edge of town Bridgwater facility would attract users from the other district community hospitals as well. It was noted that people from outside of the town would find it more accessible instead of having to negotiate the town centre.

re-assuring noises...

Worries about the looming traffic chaos in Bridgwater were raised and reassuring noises were made regarding the possibility of  extra roundabouts on Bath road and Bower lane.

A major tie in with Bridgwater College would improve the economic development of the area with a direct link into skills and training.

It was noted that the financial arrangements included a capital receipt from the sale of the Salmon Parade site and that this was a listed building.

The lack of an A&E was noted and members expressed some concern about the failure to anticipate the potentially larger usage of  local facilities with a larger and younger workforce in the area - not to mention that maybe only 2 delivery units might not be adequate...

Cllr Taylor "Welcomed the development"
Labour members also expressed concern at the security of the funding due to the reliance on a large element of private funding but Jan Hull insisted they wouldn't have got this far without it being secure.

welcomed the development

After the meeting Cllr Julian Taylor said he "..welcomed the development and would report the support of his committee to the Executive and then to the Full Council" he added " Somerset NHS are to be congratulated on the progress made."

Cllr Mike Lerry said "We want to ensure there are safeguards for the people of Bridgwater and we are concerned that people who are used to a town centre hospital with easy access will be catered for by this new edge of town development. We have had those assurances today and  support this project."


  1. The time scale is quite impressive, However a growing town like Bridgwater really needs an A & E Unit,
    Traffic problems probable mean those living on the south side of the town will find it quicker to go to Taunton than to a minor injury on the far side of Bridgwater.

  2. Well Congratulations to the noise, and the mess you have made in building just temporary accommodation. I came home Tuesday night to find I now have a static white caravan to stare out at my window. So when the leaves fall from the trees I look out into no nice green field but a bloody construction site and the hospital isn't being built behind my house but about a field to the left. This council has a lot to answer, I received one letter 5 years ago then nothing until 4 days until the field is ripped up whilst accommodation is provided. The racket already is a nightmare, I have 2 years plus of this ahead, thanks a bunch for building a hospital next to my house. I have been here for 17 years way before any proposed site and I chose my house because it backed onto the quiet lane well what a joke! To top it all I haven't been informed of the hours and days work will commence and finish, or what sort of lighting the hospital will have. Infact I haven't even seen the updated plans from about 5 years ago, there is a perfect place for the hospital its called old Cellophane site the one where you are building 2000 plus houses a site that is already a brown site. But no you have to take yet another field, and stick a hospital next to a motorway, next to Morrisons Dist center that has lorries every 30 seconds or so coming out of Bath Road. You cannot even get an A and E either, you still have to go to Musgrove complete waste of time. And for any clown that uses my parking outside my house instead of paying in the Hospital car park because that is what will happen they will be blocked in and will remain blocked in. Why pay when you can park for nothing in the poor people like me who have proper areas to park because we live there. Get a life.

    1. Local Resident26 July 2012 at 17:06

      I know what you mean I used to face open green fields now I face Blue and White boarding. And have the prospects of two years of building work and then years of parked cars on the estate roads close by

  3. And another thing, you have just killed the town center more if it can be killed anymore. As now people will not stop in Town as its on the outskirts the majority will still drive. Would Counciller Julian Taylor welcome the development if his house stood behind it and he couldn't park when he came home. Counciller Mike Lerry easy access, yes easy access to go home afterwards and not spend any money in the local area to support local business. Infact just bypass the town anyway, straight onto Junction 23 M5 and clogg up more of Bath Road which has a lorry from Morrisons every 30 seconds and there has already been an accident where a cyclist was killed from a Morrions lorry turning out of the Junction on Bath Road. This wouldn't have happened if the proper junction had been built from the Motorway bypassing Bath Road.

    1. Well said could not agree more

  4. was anyone even asked if we wanted the hospital built there, I certainly wasn't. also, what's the point in building a smaller hospital than we have now, when so many, unwanted, houses are being built. how many Bridgwater people are buying the new houses, none that I know of