New ‘Men’s Shed’ Opens in Bridgwater

Colin Gorton flanked by Mayor and Mayoress cutting the Men Shed ribbon.

Westover ward councillors Kathy Pearce ,Brian Smedley and Leigh Redman joined Bridgwater Mayor Graham Granter as he cut the ribbon this week to launch the Bridgwater Men Shed – the first local version of this growing national phenomenon, in it’s Westover location along the canalbank down Old Taunton Road. Men’s Sheds are community spaces for men to connect, converse and create. The activities are often similar to those of garden sheds, but for groups of men to enjoy together. They help reduce loneliness and isolation.

Men’s Sheds (or Sheds) are similar to garden sheds – a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while Men’s Sheds are the opposite. They’re about social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter. Continue reading “New ‘Men’s Shed’ Opens in Bridgwater”

Thinking Big in Bridgwater This Weekend

thinking big
UWE students ‘thinking big ‘ in Bridgwater Town Hall with Councillors and planners

Last year Bridgwater Town Council helped to fund the CIAM 6 conference at the Bridgwater Arts Centre, a project that commemorated the 1947 gathering when the worlds leading architects and town planners got together in our town to consider the brave new world of post war urban design. As a result of that conference, present day architecture students from the University of the West of England have been in Bridgwater imagining what we could do here with our booming little town….and their results will be on display and up for public discussion in the Angel Place this Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April.

But remember…they’re not necessarily going to happen and it’s all about ‘thinking outside the box’. Continue reading “Thinking Big in Bridgwater This Weekend”

Art Centre Remembers Former Chairman

John Allen
Portrait of John Allen. Artist Lesley Nicholls and Mayor of Bridgwater Graham Granter at the unveiling.

John Allen was the youngest member of the Bridgwater Arts Centre when it was founded as the first of its kind in 1946. He went on to devote much of his life to it and in later years became the Chairman. His death in 2017 robbed the town of its final connection with a living embodiment of those pioneering years of the  1940’s. But On April 5th 2018 the Mayor of Bridgwater, Graham Granter, unveiled a brand new portrait of John Allen in the Art Centre Gallery as a permanent tribute to the man who devoted so much of his life to the place.

The painting was done by Lesley Nicholls of the Chandos Society of Artists and it’s unveiling launched a month long exhibition by the long standing group of local enthusiasts who have for many years been an integral part of the Arts Centre.

John Allen
John Allen featured on a TV documentary about the Art centre in the 1980s.

John Allen lived in Wembdon and for most of his working life was employed by the British Council in Exeter and Bristol. He retired to Wembdon Hill and re-established his links with the Art Centre in the 1980’s. John was an enthusiast for the 18th century, especially the music of Mozart and Purcell and a keen antiques collector.

Westover Councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce were present at the event. Brian remembers “I was on the Board of the Art Centre along with John during the 1980’s. He was always very fair and i never saw him angry. He was  also extremely dedicated to the Art Centre. For instance at the time, while I’m sure he wasn’t a fan of the rock music that we put on, I know he understood it was an equal form of art and in fact conceded that the bar take on the rock events actually subsidised much of the Classical Music programme of the day. “

As a fitting tribute, the Westover councillors stayed for the Art Centre’s Quiz Evening and won it.



Bridgwater Councillors Welcome ‘Long Overdue’ Colley Lane Relief Road

Cllr Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South) welcomes the development

Work has finally started on Bridgwater’s long overdue Southern Relief road which will reduce congestion on the Taunton Road, provide new river crossings and open up land between the River Parrett and Bridgwater and Taunton Canal for brownfield development. The Colley Lane Relief Road is an £18.4 Million project funded by EDF, the DoT, Developers and Somerset County Council and will connect Marsh lane to Parrett Way.

Cllr Leigh Redman , County Councillor for Bridgwater South,one of  the areas that the bypass will benefit most, comments “For many years, I have been pressing for this important link road to be started. Somerset County Council have been facing financial pressures that have caused delays but I have continued to keep pressure on officials at County Hall to ensure it stays on the table. The road will crucially help to relieve pressure on Taunton Road, already suffering because of HPC traffic. To hear that finally contractors are on site is great news, I look forward to working with Highways and residents to overcome any issues during the 18 month build, so that we can bring the long overdue bypass into reality.” Continue reading “Bridgwater Councillors Welcome ‘Long Overdue’ Colley Lane Relief Road”

Transport Forum Reviews Key Issues as Bridgwater Booms

Cllr Tony Heywood chairing the Bridgwater Transport Forum

Bridgwater Town Council launched a series of Public Forum meetings based around key themes in a progressive move to engage Councillors, Service Providers and Users and Pressure groups. One of these Forums is the Transport Forum under the guidance of newly elected Councillor for Eastover  Tony Heywood. With the advent of the latest phase in the nuclear industry in and around our town and with the pressures on our infrastructure that this brings, the Transport Forum met to look at some of the key issues.

Rail Matters

The meeting first looked at the state of the Railways. Lewis Ward of GWR had submitted a report which summed up several key developments.

Forecourt work ;-“Design is on-going and Network Rail have issued their technical queries as part of the GRIP 3 (Option Selection and Approval in Principle stage) review. Our design consultants have responded with clarifications meaning we’re close to completing this stage – it has taken longer than planned, but we’re getting there!.Once the in principle design has been agreed by Network Rail, we will be meeting with Council Officers, relevant portfolio holders and local members at SCC and SDC to present that design, agree the programme, and seek their support to continue through to detailed design/construction.” Continue reading “Transport Forum Reviews Key Issues as Bridgwater Booms”