Alexia Bartlett, the Labour Party candidate for the forthcoming Somerset County Council election in Huntspill ward, has been out and about around her widespread constituency meeting people and connecting with issues. The ward includes various Polden villages from Puriton through to Cossington and Chilton Polden and then down along the vale of Avalon to East and West Huntspill.
The Huntspill ward has been Tory in recent years but could become a crucial marginal as the far right UKIP are mounting a challenge for the dark soul of Conservatism, fronted here by local landlord Mark Healey. Meanwhile with the Lib Dems in decline , Labour standing a local candidate could cause an upset. Alexia, from the Polden village of Ashcott, started her campaign today in Woolavington, the largest settlement in the ward and one which had been Labour for the past 20 years .
Earlier this month, Sedgemoor District Council approved a new doctor’s surgery in Woolavington. Proposed by nearby Edington Surgery and BAE systems, owner of the old ROF site, the development will also bring 45 new houses to land alongside Crockers Hill, not far from Woolavington Primary school.
“I’m glad the matter has finally been settled” said Alexia. “The confusion about where the surgery was going to go – a previous proposal for a new building at the top of the village was turned down – or if the village was going to get one at all wasn’t good for anyone.”
‘a growing village’
“Broadly, it’s good news. Woolavington desperately needs a new doctor’s surgery. At the moment a growing village is having to make do with two rooms at the side of Co-op, actually a converted council flat.”
“But I’m concerned about two things – one, the accessibility of the new build, and how it will affect the large elderly population at the top of the village.”
“At the moment, the surgery is well placed to serve sick and disabled people in the community, but the new site will be at the opposite end of the village, at the bottom of a steep hill. It will also be on quite a dangerous road, which at the moment has no pedestrian access.”
“It’s vital that Sedgemoor, Somerset County Council and the developers work together to make the area more pedestrian friendly. If elected, I would lobby for a bus stop nearby so less mobile residents from further away can access the new facilities.”
“And two – how the development will affect nearby residents. Clearly, there was a lot of opposition to the proposal at the bottom of the village. Over 350 people signed a petition against it, and I’m concerned at the apparent lack of consultation that’s gone on. As a councillor I would pressure the relevant authorities to do all they can to minimise the negative impact the build might have on Crockers Hill residents”