Angry scenes in the Sedgemoor council chamber today greeted the unanimous Tory vote to support the bid for a Tesco Extra store on the Northgate site of the former Sedgemoor Splash. A demo with banners and placards greeted councillors as they arrived for the meeting and was joined by Labour Councillors who led the attempt to get the Council to reject the Tesco bid.
60 people packed the Council chamber to witness the spectacular site of the Tory ranks remaining totally silent throughout the meeting and then simply vote through the proposal at the end.
Labour councillors spoke out against the proposal. Pearce "Sedgemoor has not learnt the lessons of previous developments and does not listen to the people" , Smedley "The development should be leisure led with clear linkages to the town centre" , Taylor "The Tesco mission is to close down other retailers!" and Di Campo "The people of the town have spoken but the Tories think they know better". They were supported by Burnham and Highbridge Libdems Leach "ASDA killed Highbridge town centre" and Mansfield "Not one Tory voted with us,i'm disgusted!" , but still the Tories wouldn't budge.
Finally it was down to Tory executive member Herbert to try to justify the decision and at the same time attempt to outline Sedgemoor Tory achievements... "We've refurbished your bandstand" , "We're a forward thinking and delivering council!" ("boo!!"). Trying to rescue the situation, Tory leader McGinty said "It's a risk but we believe we can minimise it."
Members of the Public , including many residents of nearby Anson Way who would suffer considerably from the ill thought out plan, spoke in vain towards the deaf ears of the Tories .
"How could any council in it's right mind suggest another supermarket in Bridgwater?" , "What we need is a Marks and Spencers type store", "Cash is king- but after selling the assets the cupboard will be bare!" "Tescos will undercut all traders! It won;t be money for Bridgwater but for Tescos!!", "You are going to sell off FOREVER a public open space for a Supermarket!", "Take care of our Green spaces, they ain't making any more!"
Labour Councillor Brian Smedley called for a recorded vote to put on record those councillors who had voted for and against .
For the Tescos proposal; -
Alder ( Con ,Kings Isle) Baker (Con, Bridgwater Quantock) Bown (Con,Sandford) Bradford (Con,N.Petherton) Burridge-Clayton (Con, Burnham North) Cresswell (Con, Bridgwater Bower) Crow (Con , Bridgwater Quantock) Davey (Con , Burnham N) Denbee (Con, Axe Vale) Downing (Con,Cheddar) Dyer (Con,Cannington) Filmer (Con,Brent) Fraser (Con,N.Petherton) Gilling (Con, Brent N) Grimes (Con, Berrow) Hall ( Con, Bridgwater,Bower) Hamlin (Con,Woolavington) Herbert ( Con, Huntspill) Hill (Con, Cheddar) Jones (Con, Burnham N )Joslin (Con,Cannington) Kingham (Con,W Poldens) McGinty (Con , E Poldens) Moreton (Con, Huntspill) Preece (Con, Bridgwater Bower) Savage (Con Cheddar) Slocombe (Con, Bridgwater Quantock) Turner N (Con, Kings isle)
Against the Tescos proposal; -
DiCampo (Labour, Bridgwater Victoria) Leach (Lib, Highbridge) Mansfield (Lib Burnham South) Pearce (Labour, Bridgwater Hamp) Richards (Labour,Bridgwater Victoria) Smedley (Labour, Bridgwater Hamp) Taylor (Labour, Bridgwater Eastover) Turner J (Labour, Bridgwater Hamp)
Scott (Con, Axbridge)
Uproar greeted the final vote (28-8-1) , pushed through by the out of town Tories that dominate Sedgemoor with the complete collusion of the 6 Bridgwater Conservatives. "We'll sort it out at the May elections!" "Don' t vote conservative, this is what they do to you!" "Disgraceful!" "Get off the Council!" and "Go and get a job in Tescos instead!"