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BRINGING THE COUNTRYSIDE INTO THE HEART OF THE TOWN-Plans for 'The Meads'

posted 15 May 2012, 14:54 by Westover Labour
Sedgemoor District Council has embarked on Stage 2 of it's public consultation about the proposed new park to be developed on the farmland between Durleigh and Hamp and which also borders on Westover, known as 'The Meads'. This phase of the consultation ends on June 11th and then gets put to Full Council on the 18th June.

This week the Consultation Roadshow has been at Angel place, the YMCA and Westfield Church - all in the Westover ward, and the final public drop in session will be on Thursday 17th May at Hamp Re-creation Centre on Rhode Lane from 3pm to 6pm.

'Something like Apex Park'

Westover Councillor Brian Smedley (left) joined the consultation process at Westfield church and said "The Meads is being described as an 'Eco park' and it is a plan to basically open up farmland to the neighbouring communities and to encourage wider access - something like Apex park in Burnham. The plan is that along with increased public access will come children's play areas, seating, picnic areas and public art. One major disadvantage is that they're basically working with a flood plain and the second problem which is causing concern is the prospect of vehicle access across a section of the Fairfield to link in to a proposed housing development off Haygrove lane which will part fund the project. However, community access to open spaces and taking some public ownership in their management is surely a step forward. If other funding sources can be obtained to offset any need for over-development it might encourage the people who are lukewarm to the project. The crucial thing though is if people actually want it - which is a question you could be excused for thinking that Sedgemoor don't often ask themselves before embarking on some of their schemes. This is why response to the consultation is important either way."

                      'not enough green space in Bridgwater'

Sedgemoor Officer Stuart Martin said "The response has been very positive. People say there isn't enough green space in Bridgwater and it's a really good idea. Schools in the area such as Penrose have had to travel miles to find such a natural outlet when in fact here's one on their doorstep if the access is developed. We're particularly inspired by the example of Brownes pond where the community took the initiative in smartening up their neighbourhood and now others can see exactly what can be done"

Neighbouring Tory County Councillor Ann Bown said she was "Not happy with the Highway infrastructure relating to the proposed housing development and wondered whether it was worth it ."

'Priorities'

West Street Resident Dave Winters (below) said he had some concerns  "With so many entrances and exits how is the place going to be policed? Many of us remember the benches on the Fairfield. The areas massive. Also,  this involves us as ratepayers. An eco park is lovely but if it's all for just 400 houses to be built and is costing us no money it makes you think about priorities and what else could be done with that money."

'Consultation'

The Sedgemoor Consultation is available on the web and is prefaced by the statement "The Meads area has the potential to deliver an excellent resource for communities on the west side of Bridgwater and for the wider town and other visitors. It could create an area of enriched nature conservation value and landscape quality which will enhance the town. A wide range of environmental, recreational and educational benefits will arise from the project and it is hoped that the participation of a range of project partners and local communities will help to progress the project successfully."

' Vision '

The purpose of the consultation is ostensibly to develop and inform a Vision for The Meads area. 


 A primary focus will be to:
  • Conserve and enhance the existing ecological value,

  • Improve public access to and through the site for disabled, pedestrian and cyclists,

  • Provide suitable infrastructure to support visitors,

  • Provide appropriate educational, leisure  and recreational opportunities,

  • Improve the sustainability and accessibility,

  • Achieve appropriate and sustainable land management.

"

For further information go to www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/themeads.
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