Following the Bridgwater Labour Party’s victory in the Town and Parish elections this month where they increased their control over Bridgwater Town Council, the annual town council meeting has now been held and new and old faces alike are settling into their roles for the next 12 months. Re-elected as Leader and Deputy Leader are Westover councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce. Smedley will keep the Finance portfolio and Pearce the Climate Change. Re-joining them on the town executive will be Cllr Mick Lerry (Victoria) with the Economy seat and Cllr Leigh Redman (Hamp) on Property. The remaining 4 members of the Executive are all new. Cllr Tim Mander (Westover) will take the Transport role, Cllr Liz Marsh (Victoria) the Community portfolio, Cllr Irena Hubble (Fairfax West) the Culture, Arts and Heritage job and Cllr Jacqui Solomon (Eastover) the Youth post. Announcing the appointments at the Town Hall meeting Cllr Smedley said that he was re-introducing the ‘Triad’ system whereby each Portfolio holder was supported by 2 other councillors in their role and this would then link into the Forum system where the public, experts and other interest groups could feed into council policy.
Elected Mayor of Bridgwater for 2022-23 is Cllr Liz Leavy (Hamp). Cllr Leavy will be the first female mayor for 36 years.
Liz was first elected to Town Council for the Wyndham ward and subsequently for Hamp. She has lived in Bridgwater since the 1970s and a former teacher
Her Mayor’s Consort will be Cllr Alex Glassford who has promised to wear his kilt throughout.
The new Town Council is 13 Labour and 3 Conservatives. Labour regained the East Fairfax ward thanks to the sterling work of newly elected councillors Richard Morgan and Alex Glassford and long serving councillor Dave Loveridge saw off a challenge from turncoat Councillor Diogo Rodrigues who was punished by voters for switching from Labour to Tory midstream.
Cllr Brian Smedley said “This is an important year for Bridgwater. By this time next year Sedgemoor District Council will have gone and Somerset will become a Unitary Authority. Bridgwater has to make it’s case for more powers during this time. We want to keep services local, we want to preserve the heritage of the town and we want to involve the community in the journey all the way.”
Cllr Smedley Continued “We pride ourselves on being a Council run by the people and for the people. To this end we are expanding our Forum system and we urge people with a genuine interest and some expertise in all areas of Bridgwater civic and municipal life to contact the portfolio holders and their supporting councillors and to get involved.”