Bridgwater Town Diary

Some things what happen in Bridgwater and some equally personal thoughts about them by Westover Councillor and Town Council Leader Brian Smedley. All opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily not bonkers.

Bridgwater Policing MATTERS

Incident in the Town Centre. The Police investigate.

This weekend an incident occurred in Fore street Bridgwater which set off a series of petitions and responses around the town. Liam Tucker posted “Just finished work. Walking down the high street. Lot of shouting going on. Found a large gang of teenagers ganging up on a 71 year old man. Throwing food at him. Spitting at him. In the high street. Women and children present. I intervened and stayed with the pensioner until one PCSO turned up. He was called by the coffee 1 manager who also attended. The cameras in town are not being monitored. Police presence bare minimum”.

Liam’s post immediately got the Facebook church bells ringing and comments ranged from  “when these kids gonna be stopped” to “this is getting ridiculous”,”this town really is becoming lawless”these feral teenagers” and “as a local councillor is there nothing you can do, our MP doesn’t give a damn” Continue reading “Bridgwater Policing MATTERS”

Want to Play a Part in Bridgwater’s Future? Of course you do. Here’s how.

gib map
If Cllr Smedley stares long enough at a map of Sedgemoor it will simply disappear….

So look. What say do you have on anything and who even asks your opinion anyway? Well, Bridgwater Town Council does and that’s a fact. And how do we do that? Well, for a start we have expanded our Vicar of Dibley sized mini parish council into an all embracing all singing all dancing experiment in People Power. Why? Because one day we want back the Borough status that was taken away from us by Sedgemoor District Council back in 1974. That’s what we want and that’s what we’re going to get.

So how are we doing this? Well, Bridgwater Town Council has 16 councillors and you elect them every 4 years. That’s democracy in action. But it’s not enough. So we wanted to find a way to get the people more involved. That’s why we set up a system of Forums, where the important issues of the town are put directly to the people who can discuss this with the experts, the service deliverers (not always the same people…) and the councillors. Continue reading “Want to Play a Part in Bridgwater’s Future? Of course you do. Here’s how.”

Now then…..about that 3 weekly waste collection idea….

Focus on re-cycling
Cllr Smedley has a peep into the recycle bin of life.

In the 2015 elections we promised to oppose any attempt by Sedgemoor Tories to change 2 weekly rubbish collection  to 3 weekly. Now it’s on the cards and we need to honour that promise. As Chair of Sedgemoor’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee I’ve asked for the proposal to be looked at in detail at our next meeting on Wednesday 7th December. This means that members of the public can attend and contribute to the meeting. But let’s first look at the actual report and the proposals.

It’s no surprise that the proposed changes are really to do with money and making savings. In this case £1.7m per year. The policy is dressed up in the environment friendly  brand ‘Recycle More’ which provides the headline justification for the move to 3 weekly collection. Continue reading “Now then…..about that 3 weekly waste collection idea….”

Bridgwater: Back to the Future

Looking back at Bridgwater (well, Bridgwater Bay)
Looking back at Bridgwater . Well, Bridgwater Bay (Steart as you mean to go on…)

Tonight we had our Annual Town Meeting. That’s where the Town Council faces the people and explains what it said it would do and compares that to what it did. As Town Council Leader (for the past year) it was up to me to do that. So here’s the report I gave in full.  

This time last year the New Town Council took office and we said we would carry out the policies promised in our election manifesto. And we have. This is how.

Bridgwater Town Council is relatively new, having been totally consumed within the body of Sedgemoor District Council between the years 1974 and 2003 and only regaining powers somewhat akin to a glorified  Parish Council some 13 years ago.

Our long term aim is to regain and fully re-establish the historic powers of the Town of Bridgwater as personified during the glory years of the Borough Council which were at their peak during the 1950s and 1960s.   Continue reading “Bridgwater: Back to the Future”

Top Cop One Stop Swap Shop

The PCC candidates line up at Sedgemoor FM with some Haygrove students.
The PCC candidates line up at Sedgemoor FM with some Haygrove students.

This Thursday (5th May) we’re voting in the Police & Crime Commissioner elections for the next PCC in the Avon and Somerset area.  I’ll be voting for Kerry Barker the Labour Candidate because he’s clearly the best person for the job, an experienced criminal barrister with a vast catalogue of working in all areas of crime and in particular the crucial areas of child abuse, sexual offences and ill treatment of vulnerable adults. At every meeting he’s attended with the other 6 candidates he’s shone out as easy going, knowledgeable, sincere and decisive. So it was, in many respects, a good job that he sent his apologies to the Bridgwater hustings organised last night by  SedgemoorFM due to the sudden bereavement of one of his clients, so that we could focus on who else we might like to vote for – because in this election you get TWO votes. (if you want them) (maybe you don’t).

I'll be voting for Kerry Barker as my 'first preference'. Obviously.
I’ll be voting for Kerry Barker as my ‘first preference’. Obviously.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is a new role that replaced our local police authorities in 2012 and is responsible for holding the Chief Constable and police force to account on the public’s behalf, oversees how crime is tackled in their area and aims to make sure the police are providing a good service. The role also includes: meeting the public regularly to listen to their views on policing, producing a police and crime plan setting out local policing priorities, deciding how the budget will be spent and appointing Chief Constables and dismissing them if needed. Continue reading “Top Cop One Stop Swap Shop”