The eagerly awaited ‘last chance’ to stop the 250 extra movements per day of EDF HGVs through Bridgwater came and went today with a simple rubber stamp of the EDF proposals by Somerset County Council Portfolio Holder for Resources and Economic Development (and, as it happens, Bridgwater Tory) Cllr David Hall (Con, Bridgwater East & Bawdrip). Despite pleas from Labour leaders at Town, District and County level, he simply agreed to the whole package of extra congestion.
EDF currently runs 500 HGVs through the town each day. The proposal was to increase this to 750 a day until September 2019, what EDF calls a ‘temporary period’.The Chair of Policies and Place Scrutiny Ctte Cllr Tony Lock (Lib Dem,Yeovil East) had the option to intervene on the proposals but agreed that the measure was to be treated as ‘urgency’ and waived that right.
A spokesman for Somerset County Council said “The Leader of the Council and the Chairman of Scrutiny Committee for Policies and Place have already agreed the use of ‘urgency’ to enable the immediate implementation of this decision i.e. the scrutiny ‘call-in’ provision cannot be used. A number of representations were received since the publication of the notification report on 8 December and the decision maker was made aware of these along with receiving advice from officers. Written responses will be issued regarding the representations received.”
Today, Cllr Kathy Pearce was chairing a meeting of the Town Council’s Environment Working Party to consider proposals to give a boost to Town Centre cleaning. One of the key men in the know and in the room was cleaning operative John Parker, one of Sedgemoor District Council’s longest serving employees clocking up a magnificent forty years today, December 12th.
Cllr Pearce (Town Council Deputy Leader) said “Suddenly it was like ‘This is Your Life’ as SDC Chairman Mike Cresswell appeared out of the blue and presented John with a long service award. And well deserved it is too!”
Labour councillors are aghast at the latest proposals by EDF Energy to increase the number of HGV road deliveries made to Hinkley Point C by up to 250 a day while work continues on the project’s jetty. Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Labour Westover) said “Yet again it’s blatantly obvious that all this would have been solved by a By-Pass. All the tinkering with road junctions that has brought traffic chaos will mean little compared to the disruption, noise and air pollution brought by this latest increase. We have until 18th December now to get a proper workable and valuable set of mitigation proposals in place as I strongly suspect Somerset County Council won’t vote against it happening.”
At tonights meeting of Bridgwater Town Council, Cllr Brian Smedley, as Leader, laid out the proposals for the 2018-19 budget and explained the thinking behind it. The plan is for a ‘Continuation budget’ so that popular projects from the previous year such as the Quayside Festival, the Rollercoaster, the 3 Community Centres in Sydenham,Hamp and Victoria, the Bridgwater Art Centre and the Town Team can be continued at the same level of funding plus with a modest rise in precept the new ‘Youth grant’ can be extended and a major review of Street Cleaning, Toilet Provision and Town Council Staff can be undertaken along with key works to the Town Hall brought forward to upgrade toilets, the kitchen, the PA system and to bring the whole building into DDA compliance. The Budget proposals were carried with no dissent and a period of scrutiny is now underway.
Labour councillors were incensed at this weeks Meeting of Sedgemoor District Council as the controlling Tory group pushed through car park increases, but just for 2 Bridgwater car parks while the rest of the District charges were frozen. Proposals to raise fees by 25% in Dampiet street and Market street were voted through despite attempts by Bridgwater Labour members and some renegade Tories.