Bridgwater Town Council sets budget for 2019-20

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Bridgwater Town Council passes budget for 2019-20

At tonight’s meeting of Bridgwater Town Council, Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) laid out plans for the 2019-20 budget saying “Bridgwater Town Council has now reached the end of its 4 year term of office and elections are due in May 2019 for the next group of councillors to take forward.  During this period Bridgwater Town Council has further expanded our reach into the community and sought to work with the people of Bridgwater, service providers such as Clean Surroundings, Social Services, Transport bodies, the Police and, where possible, Sedgemoor District Council.”

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Mayor intervenes in ‘Anti-Social Youth’ row

Cllr Diogo Rodrigues, Mayor of Bridgwater

Anti-Social Behaviour is once again a hot topic on Bridgwater’s social media with young people once more having the finger pointed generally in their direction. At tonight’s Bridgwater Town Council meeting the subject will be raised with the police. Ahead of this, Bridgwater’s young Mayor Cllr Diogo Rodrigues , intervened in the debate with his own views.

Diogo wrote “I find it interesting that the majority of comments have attributed antisocial behaviour to young people. I feel it’s a shame that the actions of a minority of young people almost speak for all young people, when actually the majority are respectful, well behaved young people.”

A lot has been taken away

The Mayor continued “There is quite a bit for young people to do in Bridgwater and Bridgwater youth council are working on compiling a list of current available activities and provision to raise awareness for young people. (Bridgwater Youth Council being made up of young people by the way). That being said, a lot has also been taken away from young people. I remember ‘Connexions’ which helped me loads when i left home at 17 and helped guide me in the right direction, but that service was also cut. You might know that recent cuts made at Somerset County council included cuts to youth services, specifically hitting funding to the Rollercoaster youth club on Parkway, among other services affecting young people. (Youth services nationally have been cut over and over again in the last few years) “ Continue reading “Mayor intervenes in ‘Anti-Social Youth’ row”

The Bridgwater Foodbank – Christmas on the Frontline of Food Poverty

Shelves ready for picking at the Bridgwater foodbank this Christmas

The Mount Street Day Centre tucked behind the Cinema and along from the Ford Repair shop is one of the places to see the face of modern poverty in the UK. Housed in two low slung buildings, one a pre-fab add-on to the former day centre, this place became home to The Bridgwater Foodbank in 2015.  The original Foodbank was set up in the Northgate Enterprise Centre in 2013 but forced to move on to make room for a Tesco’s that never happened. In fact were it not for the offer of these buildings by Somerset County Council under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CAT), the Foodbank could have been as homeless as some of its clients.

And the only reason the day centre itself was preserved from demolition was because the proposed housing development fell foul of parking regulations. Continue reading “The Bridgwater Foodbank – Christmas on the Frontline of Food Poverty”

Third Bridgwater History Day -Third Full House

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Another packed house for Bridgwater History Day

For the third year running the Town Council sponsored Bridgwater History Day held at the Bridgwater Arts Centre was packed out. Chaired by Bridgwater Historian and Town Council Leader, Westover Councillor Brian Smedley, the event boasted 7 other local historians and a range of subjects covering almost 2,000 years. For local resident Anthony Lipmann, this was his first ever ‘Bridgwater History Day’. So we asked him to review it.

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John Board and the Concrete Castle:Bridgwater in 1851

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Castle House, renovated 2018

In 1851, Mid-Victorian Bridgwater had a population of not quite 10,000 but it was a thriving port with tall masted ships sailing right up to the town bridge and a dominating industry of brick and tile making. The new docks had only been completed 10 years earlier (built between 1837-1841) but this and the towns connection to Taunton by the Canal (completed in 1827) made Bridgwater an industrial hub of the first degree in 19th century Somerset. Bridgwater businesses competed to drive their industrial revolution forward and it was one of their number, John Board, who was an innovator and experimental pioneer in the development of reinforced concrete, which would later change the world. In 1851 , as a showcase for this new model of construction, he designed and built what became known as Castle House in Queen Street, but was then known as Portland House, due to the cement used.

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