Sunday, August 21, 2011


Over 100 people turned out today to picnic on Bridgwater's threatened Brewery Field  to draw attention to the unpopular plans of Tory Sedgemoor District Council to churn up the field and replace it with a gigantic Tesco's Extra store.

Anson Way resident Tricia Walsh said "We put out a line of  flags to show where the frontage of the store might come.  In fact The flags are 5 metres and the pre-planning store height is 11.75m ! The trees behind will all go and the field could be closed for a year or more during construction! "
Westover ward councillor Brian Smedley said "The Brewery Field is one of Bridgwater's last remaining public open spaces in the town centre and has been earmarked by land owners Sedgemoor & Somerset Council's to be vastly reduced in size to make way for the Tesco Development which will also obscure the view from the Docks to the Church tower. Sedgemoor hastily demolished the popular Splash swimming pool in order to clear the way for the development after serving injunctions against members of the public who occupied the building to try to save it ."

   " A Tesco development of this size and in this location will devastate not enhance the town centre and add to the traffic chaos which EDF and their failure to consider a by-pass will bring to the area. Residents in the vicinity of the field will have their lives turned upside down by a 24 hour none stop Supermarket crammed into an already tightly developed and limited space. The proof that the people of Bridgwater don't want this has been clear after the big Tory losses in the last election in the town and the fact that people are continuing to support the campaign against this ridiculous and damaging policy imposed on the people of Bridgwater by an administration that has it's strength in all 4 corners of the district but cares nothing for the town."

The protest picnic was supported by Residents, Trades Unionists, the campaign group Bridgwater Forward, and wellwishers from around the town.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

“Official vandalism?”

Bridgwater Forward’s anger at the demolition of Bridgwater’s last brickyard drying sheds

Protest letter to local media

Dear Editor,

When this letter is printed, Bridgwater’s last brickyard drying sheds will have been demolished: destroyed, that is, by official council vandalism masquerading as ‘planning permission.’

We refer to the distinctive long, low wooden-slatted sheds at the Pathfinder Terrace end of Colley Lane. These drying sheds, dating probably from the late 19th century, belonged to the firm of H J and C Major Ltd. The Colley Lane brick and tile makers, members of Ernie Bevin and Jimmie Boltz’ TGWU/Transport and General Workers Union, played their part in the town’s distinctive and often turbulent working-class history.

Their finest hour came at 7am on the morning of Thursday 6th May 1926, at the start of the General Strike. In an amazing act of solidarity, after nine loaders had been sacked for refusing to fill a scab lorry, all the workers at Henry Major’s Eastover works downed tools, and marched to other yards until over 1,000 struck by the evening.

What times!

On behalf of our campaign group Bridgwater Forward, we have to register our disgust and anger that such a vital link to our industrial past has been destroyed.

Who is responsible? Have the decency to own up! Hang your heads in shame!

Did those who voted to grant planning permission for demolition of the drying sheds for housing know anything of their history?

We ask the further question: do any of these planning officials or councillors live in Bridgwater?

We believe that nine months ago the Bridgwater Civic Society brought this matter to the council’s attention, but that nothing was done. Is this true?

There is also a possibility that some of Bridgwater’s oldest houses-we refer to numbers 3-7 North St, may also be under threat. Let’s save those houses at least!

If we were talking about a fine old country mansion in the Polden Hills, would there be this same distinct indifference?

Vandals, if caught, may get punished, but how can Bridgwater people prevent such “official vandalism” by those who have a duty of care to preserve our town?

Yours in anger,

Dave Chapple and Sally Jones,
Bridgwater Forward
01278 450562