Monday, 23 April 2012


With the announcement that the long awaited replacement for the Bridgwater Community Hospital is due to be built and operational within 2 years, Labour Councillor Julian Taylor held a special Community Scrutiny committee meeting of Sedgemoor District Council to  give members the chance to question the providers-NHS Somerset to make sure what was on offer was what the people of Bridgwater wanted.

Jan Hull, speaking on behalf of NHS Somerset, outlined the history of the project. "4 sites had been identified over the years for replacement hospitals and 3 had been achieved but Bridgwater was the last to be considered. Now, with the new announcement from the Government that  £16million funding would be released towards a total capital cost of £33million, Bridgwater was going to go ahead with some urgency."

completed by summer 2014

The proposed new Hospital would be built on land between Bower lane , Bath road and the M5 motorway. Construction would start by September 2012 and be completed by Summer 2014. There would be 30 inpatient beds, day treatment services,midwife led birthing centre,outpatient department, minor injury unit,diagnostic facilities and a therapies and rehabilitation department.

It was further estimated that the number of patients treated locally would increase from 29,000 to 62,000, inpatients from 596 to 756 and treatments from 200 to 1,500.

Cllr Lerry "Ensure safeguards"
There would in addition be 210 carparking spaces of which 60 would be for staff.
Labour Councillors present at the meeting including Cllr Mike Lerry (Victoria) Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) Cllr Dave Loveridge (Eastover) and Cllr Ian Tucker (Dunwear)  joined the committee in seeking answers to key questions.

requires better public transport

There was concern that the loss of a town centre location would require better public transport facilities and therefore  that regular bus services should include a hospital stop.

The return of a maternity facility to Bridgwater was welcomed and members were assured that there would be 2 Delivery suites and appropriate extra beds as it would be a seeprate unit.

One key issue was whether the projected increase in numbers was simply a prediction based on increased population numbers with the new EDF development but members were advised that the new edge of town Bridgwater facility would attract users from the other district community hospitals as well. It was noted that people from outside of the town would find it more accessible instead of having to negotiate the town centre.

re-assuring noises...

Worries about the looming traffic chaos in Bridgwater were raised and reassuring noises were made regarding the possibility of  extra roundabouts on Bath road and Bower lane.

A major tie in with Bridgwater College would improve the economic development of the area with a direct link into skills and training.

It was noted that the financial arrangements included a capital receipt from the sale of the Salmon Parade site and that this was a listed building.

The lack of an A&E was noted and members expressed some concern about the failure to anticipate the potentially larger usage of  local facilities with a larger and younger workforce in the area - not to mention that maybe only 2 delivery units might not be adequate...

Cllr Taylor "Welcomed the development"
Labour members also expressed concern at the security of the funding due to the reliance on a large element of private funding but Jan Hull insisted they wouldn't have got this far without it being secure.

welcomed the development

After the meeting Cllr Julian Taylor said he "..welcomed the development and would report the support of his committee to the Executive and then to the Full Council" he added " Somerset NHS are to be congratulated on the progress made."

Cllr Mike Lerry said "We want to ensure there are safeguards for the people of Bridgwater and we are concerned that people who are used to a town centre hospital with easy access will be catered for by this new edge of town development. We have had those assurances today and  support this project."

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


On Wednesday 16th May, Bridgwater will host it's own 'Open Floor Hearing' where people will have the chance to express their concerns about the local impact of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station to be built by EDF Energy.  

   The hearing will take place in Bridgwater Town Hall in front of Commissioners from the NID (National Infrastructure Directorate -formerly IPC/Infrastructure Planning Commission) .

"A co-ordinated response"

Sedgemoor District Labour Group has registered a team of 4 speakers to put the Group's case -Cllr's Julian Taylor , Mick Lerry , Ian Tucker   & Leigh Redman  and they are calling on other individuals in the town who would like to discuss a co-ordinated reponse to come forward well in advance of the meeting on May 16.

Cllr Leigh Redman 

Cllr Leigh Redman (Dunwear) says "To speak at the meeting on the 16th you have to be already registered with the IPC/NID and you have to re-register by 5pm on Friday May 4th. We'd like to make contact with anyone else out there who has registered and wishes to speak at this meeting so that we can present the best possible case for Bridgwater."

The Labour group are inviting people to contact them on 
or to come to a special drop in session at 
Unity House on  
Saturday 28th April between 11am and 1pm.

Labour Group leader Cllr Mick Lerry (Victoria) said "We have major traffic problems even before EDF comes here and we need to impress on them that they need to not add to this. There are other problems concerning housing, community cohesion with a large young and potentially more affluent workforce moving into the area, there's issues of  leisure and recreation provision and the whole Community Impact Mitigation Fund needs thrashing out so we really need to present the strongest possible case to the Commissioners."
Cllr Mick Lerry "The strongest possible case"

"Concerns about public safety"

Cllr Ian Tucker (Dunwear) said "My concerns  are about public safety and what would happen in an emergency."

"We want them to listen!"

Cllr Adrian Moore (Hamp) said "This time we want them to listen and not just pay lip service. People in Bridgwater are getting angry!"