Hope turned to anger at Bridgwater House today as Bridgwater Forward supporters turned up in strength to cheer on a Labour motion to get the Councils decision to sell Northgate to Tesco's rescinded. On the back of the tremendously succesful Town Meeting two days previously where townspeople overwhelmingly rejected the supermarket proposals the audience had hoped to see Councillors at least reconsider the position and withdraw the final decision until a new council elected after May 5th could reconsider the many points raised by the motion proposed by Labour Councillors Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley.
Ian Tucker, speaking for Bridgwater Forward at the meeting said "From the decision to close Splash it would seem that the Council have rushed through every decision as fast as possible, in some cases ignoring their own policy. The decision to sell Northgate, a prime site in the centre of town to yet another large supermarket chain is nothing short of a crime against the people of Bridgwater. Why has the monitoring officer gone against the council's own policy and given only two weeks advertised notice in the press of the intended sale of the Brewery field? Why are opposition councillors being denied certain details about the contract? Surely a meaningful debate cannot take place unless all members know all the facts? It would seem that tesco is giving nothing back to the town for building their giant supermarket. Is the council really satisfied that the consturction of additional retail stores on Northgate will revitalise the town centre and why have they not pursued Tesco for leisure facilities on Northgate which will bring people in and help revitalise the centre?"
Mr Bob Cudlipp addressed the council by giving a report on the Public Meeting at the town hall held 2 nights before saying "almost 200 people were present, numerous people spoke in favour of saving the Brewery field, only 1 spoke and voted in favour of Tescos. This is what the people of Bridgwater want and you should listen to us!"
After Cllrs Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley had moved the motion and Cllr David Preece had put the Tory position, Labour Councillor for Eastover Julian Taylor rose to speak drawing attention to the promises and failures of the ASDA development. Hardly had the debate got under way when suddenly Tory leader Duncan McGinty drew the discussions to a close and moved to the vote with all Tories voting to reject the challenge and thereby crush the hopes of the Townspeople.
26 Tories voted against 11 Labour & LibDem with only the Chair abstaining.
Labour cries of "You're voting to stifle the debate!" were met by a wall of Tory silence and a forest of uniformly raised arms in support of their leader.
An angry Ian Tucker grabbed the michrophone and said "You're all sheep!"