Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council have been offered severance payments from Tesco, to compensate for the collapse of the plan to build a supermarket at Northgate in Bridgwater. It has been said that Sedgemoor has accepted the offer and the county council is likely to do so soon.
The two councils have been in secret negotiations with Tesco for months. Progress was reported at meetings behind closed doors and councillors were told not to disclose anything. But now, Somerset County Council has published a report making the position clear. It says:
• a compensation payment from Tesco has been negotiated
• the payment has been accepted by Sedgemoor
• county officers say it is fair value” and a decision to accept should be taken in the new year
• Somerset will receive 40 per cent and Sedgemoor 60 per cent
• Both councils will retain the land they own
• The Tesco offer is subject to approval by the board – but it has already been considered and “it is anticipated that formal approval will be granted.”
• The report does not say how much Tesco is offering to pay.
Sedgemoor Council has disputed the county’s version of events. In a statement tonight Sedgemoor said” As no formal offer has been made, it is impossible for any party to have accepted.”
If the deal goes through – and it seems almost certain that it will – it will bring to an end a sorry saga that saw Bridgwater lose the Sedgemoor Splash swimming pool. What will now happen to the Northgate site after five wasted years is the next question.