Bridgwater Town Council’s ‘Planning Panel’ meets every month to give it’s opinion on planning matters before they go to Sedgemoor District Council’s Development Control Committee which has the power to determine them. Today we were offered two new hotels, several restaurants, various extensions, some replacement windows and some street lights.
The long awaited conversion of the former Bridgwater Hospital on Salmon Parade was welcomed by the panel as a boost to Eastover and the riverfront area. The plan is to convert the 3 storey hospital building into a Hotel and the former Physiotherapy Building into a Day Nursery . At the same time the former Dental Surgery would become 3 dwellings and a ground floor restaurant whilst outpatient buildings would be demolished and a 3-storey Heallth Club, Gym and Swimming Pool built in their place. Chair of the Planning Panel Cllr Mick Lerry (Victoria) said “This will really smarten the area up and the proposal is completely inline with the existing architecture. We could however do with ensuring there is linkage to the nearby shopping centre.”
Cllr Pat Morley (Westover) said “We should insist that there is enough outdoor space for the nursery.” While Cllr Peter Johnstone (Wyndham) said “I have no issue with the demolition of these outbuildings. They were just boxes built to do the job and won’t be missed,”
A second hotel with filling station and associated offices was also approved at the Bridgwater gateway site on the Huntworth roundabout.
Several housing developments were supported. The former Tax Office on Penel Orlieu/North Street required some extra permission for a revised ground floor plan and a proposed new entrance lobby to increase it’s capacity whilst 7 houses on the former Withy Cutter pub site in Sydenham was also approved.
Temporary Car Parking
Sedgemoor DC was requesting permission (of itself) to turn the former Sedgemoor Splash site into a temporary car park for up to 100 cars for the next 12 months while the Northgate Car Park was being dug up by Wessex Water to install an underground storm sewage tank. Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) pointed out that there was “.. some confusion regarding the Northgate car park as it wasn’t the one at Northgate – this was in fact called Mount street – but was actually the one by the Job centre.” Cllr Pat Morley (Westover) queried “whether this site was capable of being turned into a car park as Sedgemoor had historically said it wasn’t because the surface wasn’t safe“. Peter Johnstone (Wyndham) pointed out that “…they’d tested it with a dozen Fair Lorries for the last 2 years so it must be”.
Town Clerk Alan Hurford also notified the meeting that Somerset County Council Regulation Ctte had passed the Planning function for the proposed Northgate Leisure and Educational development to Sedgemoor District Council for decision due to the joint use nature of the site.