Saturday, 27 February 2010
As the Cameron Campaign runs out of steam Nationally with a sharp drop in the Polls, local Tories in presumed 'Safe Seats'are being left to sink or swim leaving unpopular MPs like our own (and they can keep him) Ian Liddle-Grainger high and dry.
Lord Ashcroft, the multi-millionaire Tory backer, has had his £5 million pound donation split up between the 'marginals' Cameron needs in order to win the 119 extra seats to take power. This means ILG is being left to his own wits (..oh dear..)to hold onto his presumed safe Bridgwater seat.
Labour candidate Kathy Pearce has seized the opportunity and has stepped up her campaign to oust the Tory Toff. After putting out 20,000 leaflets in the Bridgwater area , which were well received, she has now immediatly taken the campaign to the Tory heartland of West Somerset only to find high levels of support. Kathy says "We have started putting out a further 7,000 leaflets from Stogursey to Williton to Minehead and down to Dulverton.I want to show people I am deadly serious and that they have a candidate who can finally get the Tories out in this Constituency!"
Kathy, hard at work in her Unity House office, is the first woman candidate in more than 30 years and the response on the doorstep show the Tories could be in for a shock.
Ian Liddel-Grainger received a further set back last week when Sedgemoor Tory leader Duncan McGinty appeared to contradict claims from his MP's website. The website claimed ILG had presented a 2,000 name petition to save the Splash. When Cllr Brian Smedley asked if he had received this,McGinty replied "I'm not aware of this."
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
"The Council give notice to withdraw from the Chilton Trinty BSF scheme and seek instead to procure a new public swimming pool and fitness centre as part of a flagship redevelopment of the Northgate site in the interests of regeneration and sustainability, such to be financed through disposal of the remainder of the Northgate site including potential planning gain and/or other capital assets as well as potential capital and revenue contributions from EDF should planning consent be granted for Hinkley C, and with full community engagement throughout the process."
Cllr Brian Smedley said “We're putting this motion today in support of the long and proud tradition in our town of public swimming. Which has existed in one form or another from the corporation baths of the 1890s to the borough councils flagship Lido project -still very popular in folk memory here – to the Splash - which the Tories were so proud of they got princess diana to open it- yet when demolished they seem to be surprised at the massive public outcry and the strength of this is that the campaigners still here today 6 months later”
He added “we believe the case for the chilton pool site doesnt stack up as theres very little provision for community use and almost no sedgemoor influence on it apart from an annual bill to the taxpayers for what is clearly just a school pool. This is a major policy mistake while theres still a chance to keep public swimming and keep it in the town centre -which is where the people want it”
Cllr Kathy Pearce seconding the ammendment said “ In July they told us that we could not afford to borrow enough to fund the £4 million that they told us it would cost to refurbish the Splash. They demolished the Splash with such haste so that councillors were denied the opportunity to explore whether
funding to refurbish it was possible through Tesco or EDF as part of the Northgate regeneration. Here we are 7 months later with a proposal to fund a pool for £6.3 million and we are now told that we are in fact able to borrow in total £5.3 million.“
She went on to say “Just 40 hours are being committed to community use, out of a total of 105 hours and that includes the primary school learn to swim times. This means that community use falls way below 50% of the available time, and yet the community, through Sedgemoor are bearing all the revenue costs. From the outset of this scheme we have been dancing to the County’s tune in terms of timescales which do not suit us, committing us to funding much sooner than we can be assured of capital receipts and therefore which we cannot with confidence afford. It is madness.I fully support swimming in the town and will support whatever it costs to provide it – but only for the right scheme – and this is NOT the right scheme. It is a costly school pool on the edge of town, which will do nothing to regenerate the town and will cost us dear in the process.“
Splash campaigner Angela Tarr told the meeting “Whilst I fully support rebuilding Chilton Trinity School and it's sports centre I cannot in all conscience support building Bridgwater's replacement public swimming pool at Chilton street. Everyone knows there are severe highway congestion problems and child pedestrian safety concerns already. This will just be a school pool as only 40 hours community use is being guaranteed compared to 70 to 80 hours at Splash “
Bridgwater Forward member Bob Cudlipp said “Is this Council running on thin air? Reserves are being depleted and services are being cut.”
Linda Brigg, a disabled swimmer, presented members with a list of 16 disabled swimming groups affected by the Splash closure and said “Please have a rethink, there is a site within costs and in the centre of town”
Chair of Bridgwater Forward Sally Jones spoke up for the traders in the town and said “You can;t blame the recession alone for the state of Bridgwater .It's also all the bad decisions made in the past that are effecting the economy and the destroying of the Splash being the worse..Traders have noticed a serious drop in footfall since closure, people are leaving town to shop elsewhere and we don't have tourists bringing their money into the town!”
Pete Smith summing up for Bridgwater Forward said “it is hardly surprising Somerset CC is granting a loan on such apparently favourable terms when they are getting Sedgemoor to pay the full cost of the school pool of £6.3m and fund its revenue deficit of up to £400,000pa for the next 25 years! “
The ammendment was lost with all Conservatives voting it down and all Labour members (and the 1 Libdem) voting ito save town centre swimming. The Tories then used their overwhelming majority to push through the plans for the Chilton site.
Tory Councillor Neville Jones (Burnham) accused the protestors of “Biting the hand that feeds you” and of showing “a lack of gratitude”
On a lighter note , Cllr Smedley asked if claims on Tory MP Ian Liddle-Graingers website that he had personally got together a petition of 2000 signatures to save the Splash were true . Tory leader Cllr Duncan McGinty said he “was not aware of it”.
Monday, 15 February 2010
"People are incensed by Liddel-Graingers inactivity over the Splash closure and genuinely worried about the prospect of a Tory Government in the light of what they've done locally" said Kathy "People are looking to Labour to lead the fightback and I don't intend to let people down. People are also angry about some typically opportunistic Lib Dem leaflets being put out by their one-man show claiming their involvement in everything and promising the earth whereas everyone knows they haven;t won an election in Bridgwater since 1995!"
Campaign manager Brian Smedley added "The message we want to get out is that Kathy is a good, hardworking and local candidate who is totally committed to her Community and has a proven record of sticking up for her town and that in the voting system we have then the only way to oust the Tories is by getting behind the Labour Candidate and not splitting the vote. People are realising that all politicians are NOT the same, that their vote CAN count and that nows the time to use it or they may regret it later."
Kathy was out again today leafleting in Bridgwater's Sydenham Estate , where the first council house was opened by Aneurin Bevan, Housing Minister in the post-war Labour Government and architect of social housing. A commitment carried forward to today, with the Prime Minister's Housing Pledge "We believe in council housing and want to see more of it. As well as investing £260 million of government money in new council housing, Labour is dismantling the system which means that councils will keep all their rent and sales income and could, in the future, freely build and improve their own properties again".
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Kathy says "Labour came second in the last general election in this consituency and we are the best placed party to over-turn Tory control in this area. The Tories have taken this seat for granted for too long with Ian Liddel-Graingers record of complacency on major issues. The Lib Dems inactivity in the area and sharp reduction in local councillors prove they are a spent force".
To contact our campaign email KathyPearce2010@gmail.com