Wednesday, 30 March 2011


A motion put by the Labour Group to rescind the decision of Sedgemoor District Council to sell the Brewery Field and Northgate site to Tesco stores was dismissed mid debate by Tory leader Duncan McGinty who called for the vote to be taken midway through a speech by Labour member Cllr Julian Taylor. The Tory group voted accordingly to stifle the debate and the Labour motion was defeated 26-11 (the chair abstaining) with only 4 members having spoken.

Labour leader
Cllr Kathy Pearce moved the motion which went into great detail about the legal reasons for overturning the unpopular Tory decision made at Full Council on 28th january 2011. "The Northgate development is one of the most important matters that most of us have ever had to consider. We are entrusted by the public to make sure that we have put in place enough checks and balances to ensure that legal, democratic and constitutional processes are put in place and adhered to because ultimately it is we, as members, who will be held accountable. We have put forward this motion on the grounds that the decision was made in undue haste, without all relevant information being provided to members, adequate scrutiny or proper consultation and is unlawful,undemocratic and unconstitutional. This motion is being put in order to remind members of their responsibilities and to give a second chance for a full and proper process to take place in view of the points raised. Remember, decide in haste,repent at leisure and you will be held to account."

"... unsafe decision"

Seconding the motion, Cllr Brian Smedley said "The ruling group has got this wrong. For 2 years you;ve tried to make your case for demolishing the Splash , selling the last public open space in the town centre and building a 60,000 square feet monstrosity which will destroy the town centre and you have totally failed to convince the people of Bridgwater. This week there was a 200 strong meeting in the Town hall that called on you to think again - only 1 person voted against. The people don't trust you! The reason I am seconding this motion is because I believe members are being denied access to the information they need to make an informed decision. When it became clear to people that the whole of the Brewery field was being sold to Tesco and not just the 23% suggested , it was hinted that there was a covenant in the Development Agreement which dealt with this. I asked as a member with a 'need to know' to see this full Development Agreement but was refused by the monitoring officer - who isn;t here today to answer this. Secondly, the decision taken included delegating the responsibility for considering the objections to this to the Corporate Directgor(Regeneration) - who ALSO isn't here today! The records show that the Public have NOT been consulted over all this and the last time they were they said they wanted NO more supermarkets and a Mixed Leisure use development. on Northgate! The Council is lumbering the incoming council on May5th with an unsafe decision and should rescind it and reconsider it. "

"suffer like other towns

Cllr David Preece , one of the Bridgwater Tories who had voted to demolish the Splash and bring in Tescos, said "the town needs capital funding and there had been no other offers. Bridgwater must continue to evolve or it will suffer like other towns of our size"

"...This is what voting Tory gets you"

Cllr Julian Taylor (Labour) said "History repeats itself! The Tories said ASDA would regenerate the town centre - but it didn't. Sedgemoor got it wrong. The Tories say they entered into a 'dialogue' with Tescos - but what's a dialogue when a Major Multinational comes along and says heres our offer take it or leave it! This is what voting Conservative gets you!" At this point Cllr McGinty suspended the debate and moved straight to the vote without other speakers making their contributions saying "We've heard enough , this is just electioneering". The Tories voted to uphold their previous decision , the attendant crowd jeered them , the acting Monitoring officer nervously shouldered the responsibility for the advice the absence of his

"Sedgemoor is a Tory Dictatorship ..."

After the meeting
Cllr Smedley said "The Tories have got it wrong and they're afraid of the debate. We put this motion because it's what the overwhelming majority of people in Bridgwater want. We put this motion - at this last meeting of this Council, so that the incoming council after May would have a fresh start and not be burdened with a flawed decision. If the Tories had any sense they would have acknowledged the wishes ofthe people and the possible failings of the previous proceedures and put the decision back until it was watertight. Cllr Taylor was right to blame this state of affairs on a Tory administration that doesn't listen and the next battleground will be the elections on May 5th. Sedgemoor is a Tory dictatorship and like all dictatorships that are out of touch with the people it needs toppling. "


  1. Is it possible for we members of the public to demand to see the development agreement under the Freedom of Information act?