Wednesday, 29 August 2012


"Welcome by the Mayor Graham Granter"
Labour MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw, made a special visit to Bridgwater today at the request of Labour Councillors to add his weight to the campaign for some kind of Community Benefit as a result of the new Hinkley Point power station development.

Labour District and Town Councillor for Dunwear ward, Leigh Redman, has been fronting Bridgwater's case and explained the issues in a letter to the former Minister with special responsibilities  for the South West Region and called for his support.

Cllr Redman explains the extent of the transport issues  that
EDF will face and need to help resolve.

'Biggest building project in UK"

Leigh Redman  said "Hinkley will be the biggest building project in Britain, not just the South West, and Bridgwater will bear the brunt of this. Each turbine will be the size of Wembley stadium - four times as big as we have at present. With 700 lorry movements a day and 30,000 new workers in the area - 26,000 of them ancilliary workers with sub contractors, the strain on the transport system in the town will be considerable."

Ben first met Labour Activists at Unity House to hear the case for Bridgwater and what such a development could bring to a town which includes several wards within the top 5% of deprived areas in the country , the influx of new workers with noticeably larger comparative wage packets and it;s near medieval transport network.
Ben gets a tour of Bridgwater from party members
"Town needs something sustainable to come out of this"

After this meeting a group of Councillors accompanied him to Bridgwater House where  a formal discussion was held with Chief Executive Kerry Rickards, Council leader Duncan McGinty and Corporate Director Bob Brown who set the scene. " We are trying to make the case for Community Benefit to the Secretary of State , that this is a live issue which 10 other sites are also looking at. Bridgwater is an area of high fuel poverty and a power station will be built right next door so the community needs to see some benefit from this. We need the town have something sustainable come out of the project and not end up with a ghost town when they leave."

"Community Payback"

Ben  talks business with Sedgemoor District Council
Chief Executive Kerry Rickards said "We have just achieved the largest mitigation settlement ever  which we raised from the initial £1million offer to £100 million but we have to maintain this pressure to get community payback like they achieved in the  Shetlands with the Oil fields. On the one hand we're getting jobs and and a wages spent in our area but we also want a sustainable legacy for future generations."

"Strongest possible case"

Ben Bradshaw said "This is clearly a Regional issue  and I am happy to pursue the case for community benefit and also to table relevent questions in the House. I'm glad to see a cross party position on this and all sides standing up for Local Government."

All party leaders on Sedgemoor will be taking Sedgemoors lead officer, Bob Brown, to their various party conferences next month, to make the strongest possible case.

Thursday, 23 August 2012


Cllr Dave Loveridge "Never seen
a more blatant show of Nimby-ism"
Barely a week after Sedgemoor Tories had voted through plans for an Eco Park on the Meads against the wishes of the Nimby Gang of Three (Cllr's Baker,Slocombe and Bown) they're now hopelessly split on the housing development off Durleigh road, which could have helped make the park a reality.

At this weeks Development Control Committee, a large  solar farm in the vicinity of the Meads (involving some 75,000 panels)   was  given the go-ahead, yet the same meeting  rejected the housing application in West Bridgwater by David Wilson Homes to build 187 houses off Haygrove farm, which had been recommended by Sedgemoor Planning officers.


Labour Councillor Dave Loveridge (Eastover) said " It was a split vote amongst the Tories with some voting for and some against or abstaining.So the chairman (Cllr Bob Filmer) had the casting vote as it was 7-7. Unusually the Chairman cast against the recommendation and so now  we have lost 50 affordable homes in the town, which I think is quite scandalous.  I felt that I was watching an old Brian Rix Farce.  And as for the decision to stop the housing but allow the solar farm and eco park it is so ludicrous as to be laughable. I have never seen a more blatant show of NIMBYism and one Wembdon resident was so vitriolic that she said we should  build it on brownfield sites  in the deprived area of Eastover, her words not mine, I was heartily sickened by the whole issue."

In similar cases to this, local authorities  have lost any subsequent appeal and  have had costs awarded against them whilst the applicant will make some minor changes and re-submit. For the Tories it spells trouble as it means the Nimby Tendancy has swung elements of the party behind them in resisting development in their areas whilst foisting it on the rest of the town.


Cllr Loveridge added "I am convinced that it will now go to appeal and David Wilson Homes will win and inevitably cost SDC thousands maybe tens of thousands. The tail is wagging the dog here and they know that without the housing then the Eco park will not happen, as I said NIMBY rules in Wemdon and Durleigh. "

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Cllr Leigh Redman
Cllr Leigh Redman of Dunwear ward commented ‘The Section 106 that was agreed by Sedgemoor District Council should be seen as a starting point, there is a lot of work left to do should the secretary of state grant permission for Hinkley C. The agreement provides many good things for the people of Bridgwater and puts in place the mechanism for sorting problems as soon as they arise, increased traffic, HGV’s in the wrong place, too much noise etc but we must all work together to make sure lives are not too disrupted.’


‘I have worked with SDC, EDF and Hallam to try and find a way forward over the loss of Bridgwater sports and social club football pitches, the agreement reached puts in place a program that will see football played on the current pitches until May 2013 (EDF will not be able to start the accommodation blocks till after this date). Two New pitches will be laid out on the north east Bridgwater site to allow continuity of resource and should be available for 2013-14 season with a third pitch for 2014-15 season, I am working with all parties to enable this, I am hoping to be able to get a small pavilion with changing facilities included.’


'Now is the time for Bridgwater residents to make contact with their local councillors so that the agreement can be shared and understood, we need you to help Bridgwater make the most of EDF’s proposed development, if granted Hinkley C will be one of the biggest infrastructure developments this country has ever seen and take upto 10 years, Bridgwater people will be the ones effected most.' Cllr Leigh Redman also supported an additional recommendation calling for SDC to urgently set up a working party made up of officers and councillors to monitor and report on the development.