When Tory controlled Sedgemoor District Council hastily demolished the Splash Swimming pool to make way for a Tesco megastore in the centre of Bridgwater the Labour controlled town council opposed the move. Some members even joined in with an occupation such was the strength of feeling amongst local people.
Three years later the Tory majority on Sedgemoor had forced through the Tesco project against Labour opposition and in September 2012 the Planning application from the Multinational supermarket chain was submitted. Strangely nothing happened for over a month. When Labour councillors demanded an explanation at Full Council it transpired that there were ‘technical issues’ to resolve – after further digging it became apparent that this was because there was a major dispute about the ammount of planning fee Tesco should pay. It turned out that this was finally resolved by the Chief Executive Mr Kerry Rickard deciding that Sedgemoor would pay the fee on behalf of Tesco , so keen was his Authority to get the superstore into the town.
Held to account
As the main opposition party in Sedgemoor, Labour holds the chair of both Scrutiny committees and in this capacity Labour Councillors have tried to get the Chief Executive to explain his actions to the full committee . As objections to the plans flood in from local residents and local Labour ward councillors it will be interesting to see what explanation is given when the Chief Exec is finally held to account.