Bridgwater Town Council and Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce have come together to help put pressure on EDF in the light of their most recent and most catastrophic highway ‘improvements’ along the Bristol road and organised an important meeting for the traders affected.
Town Council’s spokesman for ‘all things nuclear’ Westover County Councillor Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South) said “Initially the meeting looked like a possible wash out after EDF’s front man David Eccles said he would not make the meeting, leaving his hard working contractors to take the heat. Then a miracle happened and he thought better of missing the meeting and so made a late appearance. It was very frustrating listening to Mr Eccles explain that EDF do not care for Bridgwater traders or businesses. In fact it is simple, they need to put a compensation package into place before someone goes bust because of their roadworks! “
Responding to claims by David Eccles that ‘compensation might set a precedent, Leigh said “We do not care about being a precedent, we want EDF to take responsibility! Listening to the heart pulling stories of traders, who can see nothing good in front of them, because of these road works is horrible, David Eccles said they would try to increase work on site, something I have been calling for since the start, whoopee! What about the hundreds and thousands of pounds that will be lost between now & then? EDF need to get their cheque book out now or find a constructive way to help before we lose a business, because when the first trader goes to the wall because of these roadworks, I will be on every TV & radio channel, newspapers & website telling anyone that will listen, whose fault it is and just how much EDF really do care for our town! At the moment the answer to that is they don’t give a stick! “
Town Council Business spokesman,Cllr Mick Lerry (Victoria) said “Last nights meeting was difficult as many businesses were angry.However, the meeting did reach an outcome between Bridgwater Town Council, Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce, EDF and the Contractor and I’m pleased that we could agree specific areas for future discussions”
The points agreed were as follows:
1 Improve traffic flow in Bristol Road.
2 Review timeline for completion of the work to reduce timescale.
3 Businesses could seek relief or discount on Business rates, for loss of trade and income.
4 Consideration as to whether or not the proposed development of the third junction from Wylds Road into Bristol Road should go ahead, regarding the benefit of the proposed changes and further traffic disruption.
5 The Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce will work with local businesses, regarding the Hinkley C supply chain and procurement.
6 That EDF should try to direct more Hinkley traffic through junction 24, during the present roadworks”.
Cllr Lerry added “A meeting has now been set up with SDC for Monday 27th February, for representatives to discuss the outcomes of the Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce meeting”.
Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) said “This is the second time the EDF programme of so called improvements has in reality brought chaos to the town and devastation for local businesses. It’s absolutely right for the Chamber of Commerce to be leading the way in making representation on their behalf and we are committed at Town Council to supporting our hard pressed businesses against this appalling disruption which clearly should be compensated for. We had no say in whether we wanted a power station, we had no say in whether we could have a by-pass, at least give the people who are suffering from these decisions taken on high some recompense.”