Sunday, 28 February 2010


Sedgemoor District Council are re-looking at their spending priorities in relation to Hamp following a meeting convened to focus on community demands for the much neglected Mansfield Park.

Park Campaigner Ben Harvey ( pictured presenting a cheque for Re-creation to Cllr Pat Parker Chair of the HCA) who attended the meeting said he had been consulting in the schools and around the Estate and the most common demand was for Childrens play facilities.

At an earlier meeting in the Black Horse, Labour councillors present urged campaigners to work in conjunction with the Hamp Community Association to make sure the whole community was working together and this was agreed

Following on from this meeting a further meeting at Edinburgh road ,drawing together Park campaigners with Play Rangers, HCA committe members, Councillors and SDC parks and leisure officers was held to focus on the Community demands.

The Play Rangers present spoke of immediate action to get some provision on the park such as climbing in the form of a large dead tree - which was a popular option elsewhere or a play equipment pod -which would require a key holder. Ben Harvey said he was planning a Mansfield Park 'FunDay' event on Saturday 8th May which could be used as a focus for community consultation. He was also organising local people in fund raising events.

Cllr Kathy Pearce said "It was apparent that there were other key issues pertaining to the park - the state of the changing rooms, the future requirements for football on the park and addressing the concerns of the residents regarding potential nuisance. However, Mansfield Park is in the heart of the community and was donated to the people of Hamp to enjoy. We are working hard with members of the community to combat anti-social behaviour problems and to improve the facilities on the park."

Sedgemoor Parks officer Harley Cook said "We need to first undertake an official consultation and then I can put the proposals to my new line manager". Sedgemoor has undergone a major reshuffle recently and former officer Nicola Slawski is moving aside for Teresa Harvey-who recently oversaw the demolition of the Splash.

Cllr Brian Smedley (SDC Shadow Portfolio for Health & Well Being) said "At the meeting we made it clear to Sedgemoor officers that Mansfield park was the only park left in Sedgemoor that had not had money spent on it and this was long overdue. There were people in the Community with some positive ideas and clearly a proven need for immediate attention. The ball is now in the court of SDC to tell us what funds they're prepared to devote to Hamp and then we can work out how to spend it. The way to do this is with a Genuine Community Consultation so we're all on board and the Hamp Community Association is key to this and will be considering it as soon as SDC gives us the go ahead."

Brian Smedley is in the process of compiling a Hamp Community Audit to present to Sedgemoor and to the Agencies active on Hamp to demonstrate areas of need and how they can be addressed. It will be presented to a HCA meeting in April for an Action Plan.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Hamp Labour Councillors Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley, who have been a central part of the 'Save the Splash campaign' , made a last minute intervention at the County Planning committee last week in an attempt to keep swimming provision in Bridgwater town centre but their bid was scuppered by an unholy alliance of Tory and LibDem County Councillors and the inactivity of Bridgwaters most recent lib dem convert Cllr Gill (who not only abstained from the vote but left the meeting so he couldn't take part in the debate).

Kathy said "Sedgemoors swimming policy is in tatters and they are now spending £6.3m on a new pool, when even they said it would have cost £4m to refurbish Splash . I think they got hung up on the fact that the revenue costs for the Splash were 700,000 (even though 300,000 of those were on-costs). My theory is that they were so obsessed with selling Northgate - they acted in haste and backed the 'wrong horse' with the BSF, with the expectation that the 3 bidders for Northgate would remain. Bit by bit it all began to fall apart and the scenario predicted by the Labour Group has happened. Public pressure has forced them not to abandon the idea of swimming in Bridgwater altogether -which was the original policy put forward by Chief Executive Kerry Rickards and management team-but at far greater cost than it would have been had they stuck with the Splash (especially if they had modified it to make it more cost efficient as we had suggested) and with a 2-3 year gap with no swimming in the town. They are now putting a positive spin on it all."

Brian said "The Labour controlled Town Council passed a motion condemning Tory Sedgemoor for tearing down the Splash and criticising the Chilton location as out of town and calling for
town centre swimming . A rejection of the Chilton site for swimming at the same time they still have the Splash site could have derailed their plans and made them relook at the town centre location. Myself and Kathy supported the Bridgwater Forward groups protest at the County meeting and attempted to get the councillors to reject the swimming element of the planning application. Sadly the Lib Dem councillors this time round totally fell in line behind the Tories and even our new LibDem/ex-Tory county councillor Steve Gill allowed himself to be convinced that he had to leave the meeting and not take part in it...despite Tory councillors such as Derek Alder (who had already voted on SDC to close the Splash) choosing to stay and vote . It;s yet another Tory blow against Bridgwater and yet more LibDem hot air. They're all promise and no action!"

Monday, 8 February 2010


Without doubt the saddest loss of 2009 was the death of Hamp Community Associations Lynne Macriner-Manley who had worked so hard for the people of Hamp from her days as Family Centre manager to her final role as Manager of the Information and Advice centre where she was the leading light in preparing funding bids and community initiatives for the HCA.

Hamp District Councillor Brian Smedley says "2010 will be the year we need to find a new person to take on these important roles and at the same time we need to revitalise the Hamp Community Association to make sure its inclusive and reflects the current needs on the estate. I have launched a Hamp Community Audit which will be presented at a Hamp Public Forum meeting to be held at Re-Creation once complete. The aim is to see what we have, what we need and how we achieve it. There are lots of of people that are active on the estate now whether it be the Hamp Action Group-campaigning for long overdue facilities for Mansfield park, or Rhode Lsne Wanderers -who clearly need a home on Hamp or the BSF initiative which will see millions spent on school and community projects on the estate -we need to get everyone on board now!"

To contact Brian with ideas for the Hamp Community Audit write to

Saturday, 6 February 2010


This is General Election year and Bridgwater Labour Party has selected Hamp ward Councillor Kathy Pearce as their candidate to take on Ian Liddle Grainger. Hamp is a good example of a Labour area represented by Labour members who have worked for their area over many years to achieve a better community in the face of serious and targetted Tory attacks. It's the people of Hamp we need now to help us lead the attack on the Conservative domination of our lives here in Bridgwater.
We need look no further than the closure of the Sedgemoor Splash to see their total disregard for the people of the town and their needs.