Sedgemoor Tories sign up to 3 weekly Waste Collection Despite Labour opposition

Westover District Councillors Kath Pearce & Brian Smedley
Westover District Councillors Kath Pearce and Brian Smedley urged more recycling but opposed move to 3 weekly waste collection

Despite a campaign to prevent Tory Sedgemoor introducing the ‘Recycle More’ project into areas felt by many local residents to be unsuitable, weight of numbers at the Full Council meeting this week sealed the fate of the people and a move to 3 weekly waste collection will be introduced. At the Full Council meeting of 14 December the Tory motion “to implement the new Recycle More Service Model…in Sedgemoor during 2018” was passed 33 votes to 10. All Tories, including their 4 Bridgwater members, voted for the increase whilst all Labour members voted against. The 2 UKIP members voted both ways.

Town and District were in head on collision after the Bridgwater Town Council had voted unanimously last week to oppose a move to 3 weekly collection. Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) said “The Labour group attempted to find a compromise motion that could see more trials and could possibly lead to some areas where 3 weekly collection would be detrimental being retained at 2 weekly. Clearly we all supported more recycling and the inclusion of recyclable plastics but it was crazy to suggest that pilot schemes in the rural area of Wiveliscombe were an adequate representation of how the 3 weekly collection¬† scheme might work in Bridgwater with it’s many narrow terraces, houses in multiple occupation and numerous flats.”

Labour attempts amendment

Cllr Mick Lerry moved a Labour motion to try to achieve a compromise position, but Tories don’t budge.

The Labour amendment to include ‘phasing, more appropriate¬† trials, wider consulation, monitoring and a review of containers and vehicles ‘ was put by Cllr Mick Lerry (Labour, Victoria) and seconded by Cllr Smedley. The amendment was lost 33.10 on the same Party lines that the subsequent main vote was also put, with Labour opposing 3 weekly, ALL Tories supporting 3 weekly and UKIP at each others throats (although no word, as usual, was even uttered by them).

Political capital

Cllr Smedley commented after the meeting “This was always going to be a difficult fight because at the end of the day Tory Sedgemoor can outvote Labour Bridgwater and although the Tory Leader accused me of trying to make political points, this is the political reality, and he can’t deny it. What might work in a rural area won’t work in an urban area. This is obviously a cost cutting exercise, they have identified considerable savings they want to make but at the possible expense of the health and well being of urban communities. What was particularly galling was that after a lengthy Corporate Scrutiny meeting this week where Tory members expressed considerable concern about aspects of the move to 3 weekly waste collection, when it came to the vote and we put a motion which reflected those concerns, they all simply lined up silently¬† behind their Leader. At the last election Tory numbers increased and they took 4 of the 16 Bridgwater district seats (although Labour still controls the Town council 14-2), plus it’s even a Bridgwater Tory leading the actual move to 3 weekly waste collection as Portfolio Holder. I simply suggest to people, that was maybe an unwise vote. Yes I am making political capital, but the conclusion isn’t rocket science.”