Terry Ledlie, Yeovil Constituency Labour Party Spokesperson, has hit out at the suspension of phase two of the Chard town centre modernisation project. In mid-August the Lib-Dem led South Somerset District Council announced that work on the £2 million Fore Street and Boden Street project would start on 13 September. Just nine days later it was announced that funding could no longer be found for the project, which is now facing an uncertain future. Plans for a £4 million enterprise park in land next to Beaching Close were also announced in August. The Labour Party is pressing for a firm starting date for this project and is determined to ensure that the money will be well-used. Labour spokesperson Terry Ledlie said: “Frankly, this has been a complete mess. The people of Chard deserve much better than this. The town badly needs a boost, following the closure of Oscar Mayer, its biggest employer. Chard needs substantial investment in order to create new jobs. The mishandling of the town centre project must be deeply concerning to all those who are looking to the local authority to make sure that the town has a vibrant economic future.”
With a 400% projected increase in traveling workers for Hinkley point C power station local councils are concerned at the consequent pressure on housing in Bridgwater where the Town Council has been engaging with Sedgemoor District Council to take pre-emptive measures to mitigate against the situation. Town’s chief negotiator Cllr Leigh Redman (Labour, Hamp) says “We need EDFe, the money behind Hinkley C, to recognise the need to do more for the Bridgwater community if they want to increase the number of workers on site. I have said it before, but it needs repeating as the discussions go on to increase the number of HPC workers who will be living in the Bridgwater area, EDFe are seeking an increase of 400% in traveling workers, following the uplift and redistribution, Bridgwater will be disproportionately impacted by the proposal. Hinkley needs to step up and help local people find an affordable place to live. Yes HPC has contributed to Bridgwater and the surrounding areas in many wonderful ways, with Sedgemoor helping create many more bed spaces, but the housing situation in our town is already hard and getting worse by the day. Young and not so young are now struggling to get on the property ladder, rentals are a bidding game, some estate agents are seeking sealed bids, there is a need to get in early if you are lucky, but the one thing that is for sure is there are currently not enough places to live in Bridgwater for the number looking, so money talks.”
Bridgwater’s Victoria Park Medical Centre has announced that it will close the practice from Wednesday 11th August due to ‘ongoing clinical staffing shortages’ and letters have been sent out to the 600 or so patients affected relocating them to other practices. But the news has caused an angry reaction in the neighbourhood with Cllr Mick Lerry, (Victoria, Labour) saying “As Chair of the Board at Victoria Park Community Centre I am really concerned at the imminent closure of the GP Service at the Medical Centre. Victoria Park Community Centre has always been a local Hub for the community and closure of the GP Practice will mean that registered patients will be denied a local accessible service on the West side of Bridgwater. Patients will now have to go to East Quay, Cranleigh Gardens, Taunton Road and Somerset Bridge, which will only put pressure on other GP Practices”.
Proposals put forward by the Boundaries Commission, currently out for consultation, suggest a major redrawing of constituency boundaries and the creation of 2 new MPs. And what’s more the new boundaries look favourable for Labour with Bridgwater, Taunton and Frome all losing largely Tory voting rural areas. Speaking on BBC Radio today Cllr Brian Smedley , Labour Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, welcomed the proposals but urged a very slight amendment which would see Hinkley Point brought into the proposed Bridgwater Constituency and not tacked on to the large cross border Minehead-Tiverton one saying “A major nuclear power station being built ten miles from us clearly affects Bridgwater more than it does Tiverton.”
The new Bridgwater constituency would see the loss of the West Somerset area, where traditionally Tory votes have been wheeled in by the barrowload and makes the new seat, which just includes the wards around Labour voting Bridgwater itself plus the neighbouring towns of Burnham and Highbridge, a target seat for Labour. Cllr Smedley says “Within the new boundary there is a major change of voter dynamics and people can see that their vote really does count. Bridgwater is the major population centre and traditionally has voted Labour and so has Highbridge and Woolavington. This now swings the chances of a Labour gain massively in our favour and will inspire floating voters who historically might not have thought their vote would make a different now take a different view.”Continue reading “Parliamentary Boundary Changes Could Bring Labour Gains in Somerset”
With 6,063 Pinged in Somerset County in one week alone it’s time to bring forward sensible freedom for the double jabbed just like in Labour run Wales. Labour Leader Keir Starmer has challenged the Tories to match the 7 August date announced by Welsh Labour for ending the requirement for adults who have been fully vaccinated to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. The call comes as the latest figures reveal 6063 have been pinged in Somerset County in one week!
Cllr Leigh Redman Somerset County Labour Group leader Said, “This Government’s chaotic handling of the Coronavirus crisis has been a disaster for businesses and families in Somerset. 6063 were pinged in one week alone – 33,039 of us in total. For the sake of our community, our livelihoods and our lives, the this Government have got to end the chaos and bring forward the end of self-isolation for the fully vaccinated, just like in Labour Wales.”Continue reading “‘Pingdemic’ hits Somerset”
Yeovil healthcare worker Rebecca Haselgrove is campaigning to represent the people of College Ward on Yeovil Town Council. The by-election will be held on Thursday 19 August. Mother of two Ms Haselgrove (24) was educated at Milford School and Bucklers Mead Academy. She already has a strong record of multi-tasking. As well as working in the health sector and bringing up her two children, she is also studying for a
degree with the Open University. In her spare time, she fosters animals for a local rescue charity.
Ms Haselgrove said “Yeovil needs fresh young minds getting involved in local issues. The Town Council cannot afford to get stuck in a rut. As a councillor, I would work hard for everyone in College Ward and for Yeovil as a whole. I particularly want to engage younger people, and would want them to know that I would always do my best to help. My passions include working for better health facilities for patients and campaigning to end homelessness and for better quality housing. I am also very concerned about the problems of small businesses in Yeovil, who have had a very hard time of it. Most of all, I wants to ensure the people in Yeovil get the attention that they deserve when it comes to delivering good quality public services.”Continue reading “Local Healthcare worker Rebecca Haselgrove to stand for Labour in Yeovil by-election”
Following last weeks controversial decision by the Government to grant Unitary Council status to a single ‘One Somerset’ Council in the face of a public vote to the contrary which supported the rival districts’ proposal of ‘Stronger Somerset’, County leader David Fothergill has taken several major steps to meet his critics. The most important announcement came today when Mr Fothergill dropped the unpopular ‘One Somerset’ brand and called for a new start. The move was welcomed by opposition leaders . Cllr Brian Smedley Leader of the Sedgemoor Labour Group and Bridgwater Town Council said “This is a crucial change of heart from County. They have accepted this will be a new council of equals and not a County takeover. Districts, Councillors, Towns and Parishes have been justified in calling for a new start with localism at the heart of this project instead of the remote feudal monolith that the Government wanted to install. This now presents opportunities for towns such as Bridgwater to make their case to regain historic powers, continue to deliver services locally, increase and protect a loyal workforce and save democracy. It also means a fresh start and lets hope that now means an end to any so-called ‘Continuity Council’ top down solution. Bridgwater will now engage with all players to make sure we get the best for our communities out of this.”
Reacting to the local government minister’s approval for plans to set up a single unitary local authority covering the whole of Somerset, Yeovil Constituency Labour Party Chair Terry Ledlie set out three simple tests for judging the success of the new council, which must:
improve the quality of local services for all parts of Somerset
not be more expensive than the existing system
treat council staff fairly
Terry Ledlie said, “We need to ensure that the new authority is not just a case of “shuffling the deckchairs”. Rather, it must be made to improve things for the people of Yeovil and all the towns and villages of south Somerset. Its easy to say what we need. A good unitary authority must deliver better local services and not cost significantly more than the present system. Further, council staff should be treated fairly during the merger process. They must be worried at the moment and that will affect morale.”Continue reading ““Three Challenges for One Somerset” : Yeovil Labour”
Tory Secretary of State for local Government Robert Jenrick had been expected to make a public announcement all day about which version of Unitary Government we would have in Somerset. Would it be the monolithic single Somerset where district councils were done away with and feudal fiefdoms of an over-powerful and highly paid shire gentry would concentrate far too much power in their remote hands or would it be the localised democratic option that the people had voted for in a county wide ballot by 65% to 34%. Of course, it was the former, what were we thinking about. Of course this Tory Government can do whatever it wants. But if they were so confident how come they sneaked it out at the very last few minutes of the day, arriving furtively on a Parliamentary web site at 18.55? And if they were so open and inclusive how come Tory County Leader Fothergill was on BBC West claiming victory even before it was declared and the District Council leaders knew nothing? The result for the people of Somerset is nothing short of a disaster. And one which no one asked for or wants.
Labour have won the controversial Batley & Spen by Election. Kim Leadbeater, the sister of Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered in the streets of her constituency by a Fascist literally days before the Brexit referendum, defeated a Conservative candidate -who’s campaign consisted of mainly keeping a low profile while the odious self promoting Tory voting George Galloway tried to grab the limelight in a bid to ‘oust Keir Starmer’, by a narrow majority despite widespread predictions of Labour defeat and all in a campaign which was marred by violence and homophobic incidents. The best news of the campaign is that Galloway -who predicted that Labour would come 3rd, came 3rd himself and now, joyfully for this media mad publicity monkey he will have to literally ‘eat his hat’-and, if he’s a man who keeps his promises, will hopefully be doing that live on TV.
Congratulations to Kim Leadbeater who fought a difficult campaign and suffered personal attacks harrassment and threats. The victory is for Jo Cox and the people rejected both the Tories and the xenophobes.