Bridgwater Town Council’s Planning Panel met for it’s August meeting under the Chairmanship of Cllr Mick Lerry (Victoria) and was attended by Westover councillors Pat Morley and Brian Smedley, Eastover’s Moira Brown, Wyndham’s Liz Leavy and Dunwear’s Leigh Redman.
The first matter affecting Westover ward was the plan by the owners of the Gym in what was the Rose and Crown pub to replace a window with a door accessing into Friarn street. Members remembered what a good pub it used to be and that the door used to be an access to the skittle alley across the road. The change was therefore just restoring an element from the original building and so was supportive.
An application to retain the temporary classroom at Hamp infants school Rhode lane for a further 5 years was supported particularly bearing in mind the recent news about Bridgwater’s soaring birth-rate and demand for school places.
A request to extend a flue from within a chimney at the former Magistrates Court caused some raised eyebrows when it was remembered that the applicants , McCarthy and Stone,(who are currently demolishing the Police station) had said they weren’t interested in taking on the courthouse as part of a single site. Clearly they do have an interest as the boiler system is connected. Cllr Morley urged the Panel to ask them to instead at least clad the material with traditional Bridgwater terracotta material. This was agreed.
The current situation regarding the Hope Inn was noted with a degree of cautious satisfaction as the Panel had objected to the proposed flats development and this had found favour on the SDC planning committee who therefore rejected the bid. There was again some breathing space for the Hope wherein the Planning officers could try to work with the developers to encourage them to come forward with something that would be more amenable.
More contentious was the plan by Asda store to push ahead with their demolition of the former medical centre for their proposed petrol station without planning the changes to the road network first as we’d demanded. There was also a frontage onto the river that was a key viewpoint from West Quay and Castle street that needed to be handled sensitively and the danger that they would damage or destroy several good trees in the process. Eastover Councillor Moira Brown had urged continued opposition to this and the Town Council voted to maintain its objection.
TRO’s were notified to us affecting road closures around the town.
In Westover we would see the closure of the Bascule bridge across the docks for 5 days from the 17th August for repairs.
The notification of plans for changes to parking on various roads in Westover was also raised. The Westover Residents Parking scheme had been advertised from 11th August for 21 days so that people could comment. It could affect Castle street, Kings Square, West Quay, St.Saviours avenue, Friarn street and Dampiet street. The Town council maintained it’s support for this in these streets where residents had at least 80% support .
More problematic was the plan to re-open the Remedies nightclub by the owners of ‘Fever’ in Taunton.
The Panel had previously objected to the late opening on a Wednesday night. The problem was that this position was not in line with licences to the other venues nearby who already opened until 3am. The Town Council’s position was further confounded by the failure of the Police to raise an objection. In these circumstances the Panel had no choice but to withdraw formal objection and urge a secure management policy and enforcement of environmental health issues through the noise abatement legislation. Should the Police however revisit their decision not to object we would reconsider.