Closure of Bridgwater's "Sedgemoor Splash": a protest!

by fw; Glen Burrows
on Wednesday 19 Aug 2009

type: News Report
topic: Community
region: Somerset

More than ever, during this recession, our community needs sports and leisure facilities as an antidote to boredom, obesity, and anti-social behaviour. Well done, Sedgemoor!

What is not made clear, however, is whose fault it is that yet another of our important social amenities is closing? Well. It certanly isn’t the fault of the people of Bridgwater. We have paid our taxes diligently, and the pool belongs to us.

Every Tory councillor– especially those Bridgwater Town Councillors who showed their loyalty to Bridgwater by voting for closure - should hang their head in shame, and then resign, along with Chief Executive Kerry Rickards – to allow people with more vision and courage to take their place. The Labour members of Sedgemoor are to be congratulated for voting against closure.

If Sedgemoor really hasn’t got enough money to run the pool – and there is some reason to doubt the running costs they have quoted – then there are surely two reasons:

1) the government isn’t making enough money available to local authorities to fund vital
community facilities
2) Sedgemoor is not spending its money wisely.

If (1), then the the answer is for our currently supine local representatives to get on their hind legs and lobby, campaign, organise local protests – do whatever is needed to change the government’s mind – it’s called “leadership”.

If (2), then, clearly, a careful audit of expenditure is needed, so priorities can be made. No more money wasted on massive fees to external consultants to tell us what we already know, no more trips abroad, no more first-class train tickets to London – you know the sort of thing. And I hardly dare mention the salaries paid to Councillors - many of whom have surely taken a vow of silence, we hear so little of them.

Instead, our pool is being traded for yet another supermarket – it’s open knowledge now that Tesco is the sole bidder for the site. Yet more cheap junk food, more plastic carrier bags littering the area – Yippee. The life-enhancing prospect of watching Tesco join Sainsbury, Lidl, Aldi, and Morrisons in competing for the last few pennies from the purse of a town that is high in debt and unemployment. Didn’t Sedgemoor recently held a consultation asking us what we most/least wanted to see in Bridgwater? Didn’t more supermarkets come top of the NOT WANTED list? So much for consultation. And how much did that exercise in ignoring people cost?

Sedgemoor Tory councillors – you shame us all. Bridgwater people – you deserve better.