The latest news and stories affecting the Bridgwater Westover ward.

February High Tide pass with minor incidents

posted 1 Feb 2014, 01:09 by Westover Labour

The predicted high tide of early morning February 1st failed to reach the levels of the January 4th floods in central Bridgwater but again drains on West Quay failed and the street filled with water whilst in Blake gardens the Durleigh brook again overtopped and filling the park once more this time was diverted by the new St Saviours temporary flood barrier sending gallons of water cascading via a new water-feature into the Old Taunton road underpass.

On West Quay by the time had turned at 8.30 Somerset Highways engineers were pumping out the drains whilst in Blake Gardens Derek Wall, Sedgemoors Engineer on the spot was waiting forn the river to drop before giving the order to pump out the underpass.

Drain Watch;- At 7.30 residents alerted Highways workers to the drains on West Quay filling up.

As the waters rose through the manholes extra sandbags are  brought out in front of the Fountain pub
In Blake gardens the Durleigh brook overflows sending a stream of water cascading into the lower levels but the new Sandbag Maginot line 
diverts waters from the houses in St Saviours

A new water  feature is created as Lake Blake overspills into the underpass.

Meanwhile back on West Quay  the pumping starts.


posted 30 Jan 2014, 16:52 by Westover Labour

It's fair to say that the world's eyes have been firmly fixed on the Somerset Levels this week  as the argument for dredging appears to be won and something seems to be about to be done, but might it not be in time for this weekends predicted high tides??

Journalists from Prague and Barcelona were in town today interviewing residents about their fears for the weekend. Pictured right is St Saviours Avenue resident George Goodenough who explained to them the history of drainage on the Somerset levels going back to the days of King Alfred. Behind him is the Fountain inn on West Quay currently surrounded by sandbags but resolutely open for business.

The journos were  also shown the impressive flood barrier erected at the junction of St Saviours Avenue and Blake Gardens following concern raised by Westover ward members at the recent Full Council meeting about flooding there on January 4th.

The danger times for this weekend are as follows with High Tides and strong winds forecast

Friday - 19.30
Saturday 07.59 and 20.15
Sunday 0840 and 21.00

Sunday morning is predicted to be the highest 
but on Saturday the winds will be stronger


posted 27 Jan 2014, 16:13 by Westover Labour   [ updated 27 Jan 2014, 16:30 ]

Westover councillors made a special visit this week to the Bridgwater Food Bank in it's new temporary location in a back lot opposite the Cinema soon to be transformed into yet another urban housing scheme. Having been turfed out of their former home at the former Enterprise centre on Northgate by Somerset County Council and temporarily rehoused, the days are ticking away for the towns foodbank unless it finds somewhere permanent.

Staffed entirely by volunteers, the food bank was set up in May 2013 with funds raised around the district including a grant from the Town Council. During these past 8 months the foodbank has served 1,246 clients in a crisis situation. Of these 835 were adults and 411 were children.

Volunteer Ted Stock (right) says " Throughout Bridgwater we now have 21 Approved professional Care organisations able to issue vouchers of which the most prolific is the Citizens Advice Bureau which accounts for 63%. In the last 3 months - over the christmas period - vouchers issued have averaged over 100 a month."

Mark Hollidge, who also volunteers his time to the Foodbank, says "Since the foodbank started we have achieved 9,417 metric tonnes of food solely from donations by the people of Bridgwater. We are currently  holding stocks of 4,853 metric tonnes. All this goes to show the need for the foodbank to continue in this town. in fact the people of Bridgwater are reliant on it to help them and their dependants through their temporary crises when they happen."


Westover District Councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce were joined by Bridgwater South County Councillor Leigh Redman and Town & District Councillor Ian Tucker, who was involved in negotiations with county to set up the temporary solution. They agreed that a permanent home was urgently needed for the Foodbank and agreed to assist in identifying what could be available.

Cllr Brian Smedley said "Around the country some  half a million people are using Foodbanks which is a staggering figure in the 21st century in one of the richest countries in the world. The volunteers told us that although many of the users were people in crisis because of dire circumstances, many others  were ordinary working people who still couldn't make ends meet. A visit to a food bank will provide someone whose life has fallen into crisis with three days’ worth of balanced food. These are the basics people need to survive—cereals for breakfast, some fresh fruit and vegetables, and tins of beans, meat and fish. Whole families can look to food bank vouchers for weeks at a time. Also food banks offer extra items such as toilet roll and toothpaste, some clothing for instance. It's not a nice thing to have to admit is needed, but it seems to be and without these volunteers peoples options would be severely limited. For this reason alone we need to keep Food banks going as long as there's a genuine need for them and the people who run them also need  security and that means  a permanent base so they can get on with the job."

One further big surprise for the councillors was that it appears Westover Ward is the number one recipient of food bank donations - so all the more reason for us to find a central location!


posted 14 Dec 2013, 06:29 by Westover Labour

It seems like years. That's because it is. Years and years people have campaigned to get a skatepark in Bridgwater. Now they have one. It's in Westover and it's one of the biggest and best in the South West. It's been designed by the users (who've had their names engraved into the concrete..with only one slight mis-spelling) and now it's finally open.

The skatepark was opened today , Saturday 14th December 2013, with the cutting of the ribbon by long term skatepark campaigner and skater George Rollinson, who,several years back, had led a skateboard protest through the High Street with others wearing only their boxer shorts. Well, it's probably what Trotsky would have done. Although when he asked Stalin for a skatepark it didn't turn out too well.

The official delegation today included the first citizens of Bridgwater (Mayor Dave Loveridge) and Sedgemoor (Cllr Peter Downing) along with portfolio holder Cllr John Swayne, Ward County Councillor Leigh Redman, and neighbouring ward member Cllr Gill Slocombe. Er, plus loads of skaterkids, but they didn't have chains on.

Standing atop the longawaited skatepark was Sedgemoor officer Rob Semple (right), who had been tasked with bringing the park to actuality from getting funding in place to assembling the user group to completion. Rob also wasn't wearing a chain, but deserved one.

Also present was the secretary of the skatepark campaign group, Laura Costello (below left), who had organised the skaters and BMX'ers through a series of meetings which led to the achievement of the mini skateparks at Cranleigh and Victoria.

The skatepark is on the site of the YMCA, which was crucial for resolving the key final jigsaw which was the provision of the land. Director of the YMCA Martin Hodgson was present alongside his team of workers and his Chairman of the Board John Ennals who , in a short speech, said how he'd told his own skateboarding son that the skatepark was finally here, only to discover he'd grown up and moved to Australia in the meantime.

Westover Councillor Brian Smedley (left), whose 'land survey' had identified the YMCA as the choice of preference and who, along with his fellow Westover councillors, had agreed to allocate the wards RLT leisure funds to the skatepark, said "The campaign has been a long one but we got there in the end. As Chairman Mao said 'the long march began with a single skateboard ride'. But of course would have been quicker if it had been downhill."

The Year in Westover 2013

posted 9 Dec 2013, 02:49 by Westover Labour   [ updated 9 Dec 2013, 03:11 ]

On Friday 6 December, Councillors and residents met up at the Bridgwater Arts Centre for an informal chat about the years key events in the ward at a christmas social. It was a chance to see where we were on certain projects, introduce new developments and exchange forthright views on things that were contentious.

First item under scrutiny was West Quay. It was just over two years since the collapse of the wall on the riverfront had brought misery to many traders and residents but the repairs were now complete and the new pedestrianisation up and running. As far as the wall collapse went most people had now received some form of compensation and the wall itself looked like not collapsing again in the near future. The pedestrianisation,which had come about as a result of a petition by the West Quay Action Group, was now in place but having some teething problems. There were concerns at a newly installed gate which SCC wouldn't let us lock and inevitably traffic still using the street as a result. Ward councillors had also managed to get the town council to extend the christmas light show onto the Quay this year for the first time. The general view was that pedestrianisation needed time to settle in and people should try to make it work.

The Westover ward includes the town centre west of the river and so a key concern was Town Centre Planning, particularly in the light of the recent jazz cafe rejection by Sedgemoor planners. There was considerable concern at the number of empty shops in the town and  discussion as to whether SDC planners had a clear enough policy to encourage people to invest in the town centre. The key reason for the current pressure was obviously the decision to create a new edge of town hub with the Tesco development which was likely to increase the 'doughnut effect' which comes from town centre shops being drawn to the periphery where more floor space can be developed and easier parking - however the result means that wherever this happens the town centres have the life sucked out of them and this needs to be recognised and addressed by planning policy.

One of the main features exclusively within the Westover ward is the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. An underused, some might say neglected, resource that was now finally having some interest shown in it. Pat and Mike from the newly formed Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Association were at the meeting to let us know their aspirations and plans for the canal. Ultimately some form of navigability was aimed at, certainly getting people to take pride and ownership in the resource and maybe getting the dock gates accessible to the river again. Inspiration came from groups like the Brownes Pond community activists who had taken ownership of their stretch of water and turned it's fortunes around and similarly BATCA aims to promote, protect and raise awareness about this particular gem we had in our midst.

Another gem in our midst was the floodplain of the Meads where plans to build an Eco Park were under scrutiny from nearby residents who feared that houses would be built there. Cllr Kath Pearce was on the steering group and assured people that housing was not planned on the floodplain and that ward councillors would oppose such a scheme -but would support a well thought out project that made the Meads more accessible  to the community whilst retaining it's unique  character which she described as "a bit of the Somerset levels in the heart of the town".

Residents Parking had been a contentious issue but Westover councillors had taken the lead in this along with residents in some of the streets hard pressed since the new parking enforcements had been brought in harshly a year and a half back. Cllr Brian Smedley explained "We had produced a 'Westover Scheme' based on street champions , identified the streets and the spaces needed and submitted this to SCC. Time had dragged in the intervening months but recently County had produced and updated their own 'Residential Parking Zone Guidance' which could be found on the county website". Campaigners present at the meeting agreed that in Westover we already met most of the criteria laid down and a meeting in the near future was needed to reconsider and submit our own schemes within the ward.

Another long awaited development was the Skatepark. People had been campaigning for nearly 20 years to get a large skatepark in the town. Finally after achieving 2 smaller neighbourhood parks, westover had been chosen by the young people involved as the preferred location and a major park would be opened at the YMCA this month. The money had come partly from Bridgwater Town Council but also via westover RLT money from SDC. This is money that developers were compelled to contribute when building estates without leisure facilities and go into a communal pot  then being reallocated to the different wards of the town. The Westover money had all been chanelled into the skatepark facility. Cllr Steve  Austen described the imminent facility as "one of the biggest and best in the south west".

Somerset County councillor Leigh Redman was able to tell the meeting about the major investment in his Bridgwater South ward (which included Westover and Hamp) as a result of the 'Bridgwater Way' project which brought cycle paths through the south Bridgwater estate into the Westover ward and therefore the town centre, utilising the canal path but also newly constructed thoroughfares.

One area of rolling concern for councillors in the ward was the West Street area. An edge of town centre social housing development with an estate management programme overseen by Homes In Sedgemoor, there were regular estate walkabouts and a seemingly neverending list of repairs needed
 which also seemed to take an age to get dealt with. The area was also under pressure every September during the Bridgwater Fair when it took the brunt of the population descent for a week in question. Ward councillors had attended all the walkabouts, participated in the Fair working group and Kath Pearce had been elected chair of the residents association. A wall had recently been fixed.
Another major boost for the West Street area was the upgrade of Penrose School which Cllr Redman spoke to the meeting about. In particular the parking issues had been addressed with a sizeable pull in space.

Finally the meeting was brought up to speed with the current state of Ward Funding. Town councillors had access to £1,000 a year specifically to allocate to projects within the ward and in addition to this there were pockets of County funding of considerably higher figures that could be accessed. Cllr Redman  pointed to a Health & Well Being fund, pump priming money and also a transport fund for such requirements as traffic calming and so on.

Residents wishing to contact ward councillors to take up any of these issue through 2014 can contact us at



posted 2 Dec 2013, 03:34 by Westover Labour

Bridgwater people have been campaigning for a skatepark for years and now the grandchildren of those original campaigners (well almost) are finally to witness that dream become a reality. The new Bridgwater Skatepark will be at the YMCA on Friarn Avenue, and will officially open at 10.30am on Saturday 14th December 2013. The park will be opened by skate park users, staff from the YMCA, Sedgemoor District Council Chairman, Councillor Peter Downing and Bridgwater Mayor, Councillor Dave Loveridge.
Land and Freedom

Westover ward councillors Brian Smedley & Steve Austen were members of the Wheeled Sports Facility Panel that guided the final phase of the project in to it's current location at the YMCA. Cllr Smedley explained the history "The site wasn't arrived at without complications and the main issue locally was always 'land'. The campaign has been obviously going for years without that issue being adequately addressed and at one stage we thought it was solved when Sedgemoor gave planning permission to land at the College for the skatepark, then that use was suddenly changed, and then they suggested land at the Clink, but this land wasn't really in their power to gift, so none of these happened. This is why the users formed the Skateparks Campaign Group to try to drive the issue forward. This resulted in the modest gain of the 2 mini-parks on Cranleigh Gardens and Victoria Park. However, there was a concern that the big park that everyone really wanted might never happen now that they'd provided the mini-parks so the pressure had to be kept on and crucially the issue of land addressed. Eventually we produced a  comprehensive list of all possible sites in the town and put it to the users and partner groups and as a result they accepted the YMCA site. For the people of Westover it's a good choice as it's slap bang in the middle of our ward but also easily accessible to the rest of the town and also sufficiently out of the way to preserve it's independence whilst at the same time being alongside the YMCA which is without doubt the leading youth facility in the town."

The skatepark, designed by 1Skateparks, includes ramps, a bowl, rails and  has a centrepiece carrying the names of the local young people who formed a user-group and invested a great deal of time and effort into the project. The opening will see the user-group and other young people enjoy the facilities for the first time. In the early spring of next year, a skate-jam event is being planned.

The £150,000 project was funded by a £20,000 contribution from Bridgwater Town Council and £130,000 from funds held by Sedgemoor District Council. Cllr Smedley clarified "A large proportion of the SDC funds ringfenced was from money set aside for use in the Westover Ward  for youth leisure and recreation facilities. This money was stockpiled by way of a standing agreement with developers of the many housing projects in the area in lieu of providing leisure land within the developments themselves and thereafter proportioned up for allocation around the town by wards "

The land for the park was provided by Bridgwater YMCA (left).

                                          'A Far Off Dream'

Jack Bridges a local skater who was part of the user-group said ‘We are really happy to have completed what at times has felt like a far-off dream but by the looks of it the skatepark has definitely been worth the wait.’

Martin Hodgson, Chief Executive of the YMCA said ‘The group of young people have excelled themselves in bringing this project to fruition. Bridgwater has got the skatepark it deserves’.

Councillor John Swayne, Sedgemoor’s Portfolio Holder for Community and Scrutiny said ‘This is a great day for the Bridgwater skater, scooter and BMX community. Sedgemoor District Council’s Community Development team have been working with the user-group, YMCA and Bridgwater Town Council to ensure the finished skatepark was value for money and what local young people wanted. The Council are proud to have worked in partnership to achieve the great facilities opening on the 14th’.

Bridgwater Town Mayor David Loveridge added  "The Town Council are delighted to have played their part in securing another major facility, which has been purpose-built for the younger people in our community.   It has been a long time coming but is truly fit for purpose."

David Ransom of 1Skateparks said ‘Sedgemoor District Council, the YMCA and Bridgwater user-group have been a pleasure to work with. We have all been so impressed with how well the user-group have worked together, to take the time and effort needed to make sure they get the great facility they wanted. We can’t wait to ride it with them!’.

Cllr Smedley added "Apart from the determined campaigning of the Skaters and BMX'ers over the years, actually the key person to have brought this project to fruition is Sedgemoor officer Rob Semple (pictured right-in the shadows), a large part of his Community brief being youth development work and this is a classic example of  of that dedication and hard work paying off. Rob would easily qualify for   the award for unsung hero of 2013 (if there was one)." 

There will be public access to the skatepark from 11am on the 14th December. Normal opening hours after the 14th will be 8:00am-9:00pm Monday to Sunday.

New Bridgwater Hospital agrees to keep 'Mary Stanley' name

posted 27 Nov 2013, 06:16 by Westover Labour   [ updated 27 Nov 2013, 16:22 ]

Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has confirmed that the proposed name of the midwifery unit at the new Bridgwater Community Hospital will be The Mary Stanley Midwifery Unit thereby maintaining the link with old Castle Street Nursing Home (right)  where many Bridgwater children were born until it was closed in the 1980's. 

Cllr Brian Smedley, who lives in the former building, now flats, welcomed the news saying "When they tried to close down the original Nursing home we organised a major campaign against it with the result that although we didn't save it we managed to retain a delivery suite at the Salmon Parade Hospital with the same name. When the Town Council learnt that the new hospital was planning to ditch the name we raised the issue of historical continuity and this time that was all that was needed."


Cllr Smedley added a word of caution "Much has been claimed of Mary Stanley's illustrious past-but often without much actual thought or research. For instance on the Bridgwater Mercury website this week you'll see them repeating a wikipedia page about a totally different Mary Stanley (one who came from Cheshire and was in the Crimean War with Florence Nightingale). This one isn't ours...although several former Bridgwater historians - including Roger Evans in his book 'Bridgwater with and without the E' claims Mary to be the Crimean Stanley. In fact as her death records show that she died in 1920 aged 77 it means she would have been born in 1843 and therefore 9 when the Crimean war started. Our Mary Stanley was in fact the eldest daughter of a famous Whig (Country gentry 19th century liberals) who became Lord Taunton and MP for that town. She was therefore part of the landed gentry in Somerset living at Over Stowey, related to the Tory dynasty of Heathcote Amorys and eventually married Tory MP for Bridgwater EJ Stanley who also has a street named after him and  who was part of the vicious Lord Salisbury Government which often used troops to break up strikes-including in 1896 in Bridgwater. In fact Stanley only had that street - up in Hamp- named after him in the early 90's after I named a  street there Frampton (after the 1896 Brickyard workers strike leader Robert Frampton ) and another councillor added Stanley (the MP of the day) ...'for balance'....although not much balance was shown by the troops who cleared the High street of strikers at bayonet point."

However, the new facility will be named after Mary Stanley as this was felt to provide an association with the existing community hospital and acknowledgment of the support given to the social welfare of women by the  Mary Stanley during her lifetime and it's true that it's a fondly remembered place in the hearts of many Bridgwater people lucky enough to be born there.. 

The new £32 million pounds Bridgwater Hospital is currently under construction on land just off Bower Lane, and is due to receive its first patients in April 2014. It will replace the town’s existing community hospital which was opened in 1813.

The Mary Stanley who died in April 1920 has her death records online here


posted 26 Nov 2013, 16:34 by Westover Labour

Westover Ward councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce have called for a  total review of Sedgemoor Planning policy for the Town Centre following today's disastrous split vote at the Development Committee which saw members divide evenly and the Chairman's casting vote turn down the project. Cllr Smedley has written to Sedgemoor expressing his concern at the present policy and say's he will ask the Corporate Scrutiny committee to review the Planning policy at it's next meeting.

The planning application from SRL Promotions for a Jazz-Blues Cafe on the site of the old Bridgwater Bookshop at 18 High Street was put to the Planning committee in October and was supported by Councillors from the Westover Ward which includes the Town Centre and by  the Bridgwater Retail Initiative. Bridgwater Town Council had raised no objection to the proposal at it's own planning panel and so it was all down to Sedgemoor District Council's Development Committee to give the go ahead or to reject.

Planning Policy D13 Revisted

At the October meeting the issue of Planning Policy D13 was key. Under this the premises in question were classified as being in the primary retail area and therefore should be for A1 (retail) use therefore the Jazz Cafe should seek other sites in the town and the particular site advertised for a longer period in order to attract the required retail usage.

"The trouble with this Policy was that in fact there weren't other sites suitable  for the Jazz Cafe and there was no one coming forward with any other offers therefore the town would face yet another empty shop for a lengthy period and at the same time miss the opportunity to accept an offer for some entrepreneurs who were prepared to invest in the town." explained Cllr Smedley, who spoke at the October meeting urging support for the Jazz cafe. "The result was that the committee deferred  the decision for a month  in order to get more information about the marketing and about other sites."

During the following weeks, agent Lyndon Brett and Sedgemoor's own Valuer Tim Mander worked hard to put the case for acceptance of the Jazz Cafe and to interpret the Policy more flexibly. At the same time Sedgemoor's Planning Officers stuck to their guns and continued to recommend refusal on the basis of the application being 'contrary to policy D13'.

"At this stage the position of the ward members was crucial and ourrefusal to accept the Planning Officers decision meant that the application had to come back to the full Development Committee for a vote." Said Cllr Smedley "This meant the applicants could resubmit and be supported by the marketing information report which clearly demonstrated why this Jazz Cafe should be supported in this instance."

At the committee meeting of 26th November Lyndon Brett presented a full report including the complete marketing history, listing why all the other sites weren't suitable and why it was crucial not to have yet another town centre void. A  Bridgwater Retail Initiative  report showed that while the National average for voids was 14% Bridgwater was on 16%. Lyndon Brett added "the evidence clearly shows that the Council's policy on controlling uses within the High Street is not working, nor is it advancing the BRI initiative to revitalise the Town Centre."

Knocking on Tesco's door

Lyndon Brett also pointed to the knock on effect of the Tesco Northgate development and the resulting pressure on the Town Centre where "retail space would be limited" in comparison to what would be on offer next to Tesco's .

Cllr Smedley added "The key to the problem now is that Tesco has changed the ballgame for the Town Centre and to expect sizeable High street retailers to even look at an area with diminishing footfall  and without the floor space required means we need to adapt our policy to encourage a more mixed and experimental use of what space we have and that the worse thing we can do is leave them empty so that they get eventually end up as bookies or charity shops. The main worry now is that retailers will leave the centre for edge of town locations- a prime example of this recently is Argos. This 'doughnut effect' is a reality and we have to find ways to reverse it or we'll just have a massive hole in the middle."

Whilst Planning officers continued to hold out for an outright rejection based on the rigid application of D13 even they began to offer a way out by pointing to  3 key exceptions 1)that the property had been marketed but with no success 2)that there were no other suitable sites in the Town Centre and 3) Policy D11 could be met which supported a diverse town centre economy.

The 15 Committee members from all over Sedgemoor District debated the pro's and cons of the case and ended up split 7.7 leaving Chairman Bob Filmer (Con, Brent Knoll) to cast his second and deciding vote, rejecting the Jazz Cafe.

We Better Talk This Over

"To say people were angry is an understatement. SRL promotions already make a big contribution to the cultural life of this town and were prepared to take a big risk to support our town centre and members rejected this in favour of an empty shop and a failing policy." Said Cllr Smedley "Social media instantly went viral with people expressing outrage at the Council's decision, setting up petitions and urging  SRL to resubmit and not accept the verdict".

Cllr Smedley has urged SRL to resubmit and has called on the Corporate Scrutiny committee, of which he is the Chairman, to urgently look at Sedgemoors Town Centre Planning policy to ensure it is fit for purpose in the new circumstances that Bridgwater finds itself in.


Work Starts on £3.5 Million Redevelopment of Penrose School

posted 13 Nov 2013, 13:10 by Westover Labour

Work has officially started on a £3.5 million re-development of Penrose School in Bridgwater after the first turf was cut at a ceremony on 12 November. 
Teachers and pupils from the school were present along with representatives from Somerset County Council, Futures for Somerset and contractor BAM Construction to officially start the major re-development project that is due to finish in September 2014.

Penrose School caters for children of all ages with profound and multiple learning difficulties. New facilities will consist of fully accessible classrooms, a new school hall, soft play room, sensory room, learning resource centre, group rooms, and hygiene and therapy rooms.Students from the school have been temporarily placed at other schools in Bridgwater while the re-development work is carried out.

Bridgwater South County Councillor Leigh Redman (left) , whose area includes Westover and Hamp, said "I was lucky enough to be invited to the turf cutting yesterday and was excited by the plans for the new building, the new school will be a fantastic resource for the students and whole community.I was impressed to see the drive and commitment of both teachers and assistants, the parent mentors were inspiring.
The head teacher and her assistant have been integral in developing the proposals.I am looking forward to seeing the building grow and cant wait to see the finished school and pupils fill the spaces."

Head Teacher of Penrose School, Liz Hayward, said: “I am delighted and extremely proud that this new Primary School for students who have additional needs is being built in Albert Street in Bridgwater. The students and families of Penrose School will be able to learn, thrive and ultimately belong within the wider community. It is another important milestone for Bridgwater and the development will further support the excellent work of our staff, and families in ensuring our students become active and contributing citizens in this town.”


posted 13 Nov 2013, 08:41 by Westover Labour

At 4pm today (just 3 hours later than originally planned) the new Bridgwater Town Centre Post Office opened it's doors onto the streets of Eastover. 

The first customer to be served was Mr Paul Newman (below left) of Bower Manor who was dealing with a 'registration'.

The official opening will be in a few weeks time and it is hoped that Westover resident Ken Trunks, who campaigned so hard with his petition to get the Post Office located in the town centre and not in Sainsburys as had been suggested, would be guest of honour.

Westover Cllr Brian Smedley was on hand to witness the shutters going up and the media scrum inside the spacious building He said "It is a credit to the people of Bridgwater that they didn't accept the Sainsbury's proposal and united to fight that decision and it;s a credit to the Post Office that they actually listened to the people and accepted their case. The location in the town centre is a major boost for regeneration and increased footfall particularly in the Eastover area and importantly it's within easy walking distance of the Town Bridge thereby linking together Westover and Eastover  and redefining the town centre so that we can look at boosting the shopping zone as a single entity."


1. Adrian Fraser of West Quay Records assumes the pose of Admiral Blake
2. Andy Slocombe leads the media scrum into the new Post Office
3. Laura Tarling from Post Office  and her staff hold up a specially made string of stamps

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