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posted 21 Dec 2011, 09:24 by Westover Labour   [ updated 21 Dec 2011, 09:44 ]
At todays Full meeting of Sedgemoor District Council, Westover Ward Councillor Brian Smedley asked  for an urgent response to West Quay traders and residents facing a Christmas of uncertainty in the wake of conflicting advice from Sedgemoor  only to be told by Burnham Councillor Neville Jones to "Stop carping about West Quay, take it in your stride and it'll all come right in the end". The Tory Grandee went on with his cheery christmas message saying "When we had the floods in Burnham in 1981 things weren't fixed until 1988!!"
                               Secret Meeting

Cllr Smedley (left)  had asked "Sedgemoor has recently downgraded the risk on West Quay, the wall and buildings haven't moved, and traders and residents are being told they can move back but 'at their own risk'. This is totally unhelpful for any insurance claims and puts traders in a very difficult position in what should be their key trading weeks just before christmas. Sedgemoor has been very visible in fronting this whole excercise but time continues to drag on and peoples situations are getting worse not improving. This week we were told there would be a meeting on Thursday 22nd between the Agencies involved to look at a solution , to identify the cause of the Wall collapse and to apportion liability. But now it seems that that meeting was in fact held in secret last monday night!! It also turns out that no Forensic investigation has been taking place during these past weeks despite claims that one was being undertaken to explain the cause - crucial for some peoples insurance and compensation claims. It looks very much like Sedgemoor is hiding something!" He asked if Sedgemoors role as the Port Authority was one reason for their coyness?

                                                               "We are not hiding anything!"

Cllr Kingham said he had written the report a while ago and there were new developments, at which point leader of council Duncan McGinty took the michrophone saying "Work to restore the collapsed West Quay river wall in Bridgwater gets underway early in the New Year.
    "An innovative £1.5m engineering ‘fix’ proposed by Somerset County Council has been agreed by all partners and will see the start of a careful reconstruction of West Quay in stages, in the first half of January 2012 and last for several months.
    "This follows the meeting held on Monday, which saw Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council, the Environment Agency and Wessex Water agree to address the West Quay collapse with engineering works. We are not hiding anything!"

                        "No Emergency fund" 

Cllr Smedley asked  if funds had been   made available for the Bridgwater Arts Centre which had acted as an Emergency  rest centre on the night of the Emergency.
Cllr McGinty replied "An invoice has been presented and we are paying it". Cllr Smedley came back "So, is there therefore a  fund currently  available to compensate residents and traders which they can similarly apply to" .
Cllr McGinty
said "No, There isn't".

                           Repair Work

“There are two possible solutions and we are going to start with the one that looks like it will resolve the issue in the shortest time,” said Somerset County Council Cabinet member Harvey Siggs in a press release put out by Sedgemoor.
“Our priority is to deal with the problem and let people’s lives go back to normal as quickly as possible – residents, businesses and those who use the area"

 “We will pilot some repair work and if that solution works, we’ll roll it out across the rest of the collapsed wall. We are confident that this will work but, of course, we have a plan B to fall back on. However, it would be far more time consuming and would take over a year to complete.”

 "The pilot work will involve working from the road and the north end of the site. The collapsed material with be replaced with concrete held in place by a mixture of ‘piles’ and ‘ground anchors’ to stabilise the wall. The second phase of the work will involve facing the wall with concrete panels and if the work goes well, the project will be completed by the end of summer."

Westover councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce have called for an urgent meeting with Sedgemoor officers to explain the secret meeting and have asked for minutes to be made available.