November 9, 2017
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The Bridgwater Chamber canvassed 43 businesses over the last week within the Wilds Road/Drove/Bristol Road areas of Bridgwater. On the back of these meetings we convened a meeting with the help of town Council at the Charter Hall last night. The event saw 25 businesses represented along with representation from EDF, Skanska, Forest Transport plus the Bridgwater town council.
Goals of the event were to take at least three positive action points away which would ultimately help the plight of the traders who have suffered greatly because of the recent traffic scheme originally instigated by EDF. The basic text of the meeting is summed up below by the reporter from the Bridgwater Mercury. However, this is how I see the general message of the event and positives that we can work on with all various parties to take some positives from event and follow these action points through on behalf of the traders as discussed.
Discussion major topics: – 1) The traders were adamant that there was no understanding of why traffic could not turn right by the VW access from Wilds Road into Bristol Road. The feeling was very strong that the research on this was flawed.
Action Point: – I asked Phil Fricker to agree to explore a trial period of allowing right-hand turn and this was agreed. S Leahy to stay on top of this.
2) The opinion of all traders was that works on the site seemed to be sporadic and many people state that there seemed long periods when no workers appeared on site at all. This was refuted by the Skanska team and ensured they were working to capacity. The expression was made that it appeared that the workers would drag it out to make it last 29 weeks and this was not acceptable.
Action Point: – I asked David Eccles if he would be able to put every effort even if it meant more men to bring the conclusion of this project forward. David agreed to do this and again Steve Leahy to follow this up with David.
3) The point of compensation came up and David Eccles confronted this head on and said there is no compensation money available although he was aware that there was a mitigation fund of £74K which may be able to be tapped into. I asked where this money was from and who was controlling spend of this fund. He stated that it was not Monies use for CIM bids but a separate pot and managed by Phil Adams
ACTION POINT: – Steve leahy to explore this with SDC to see what is available, how can it be used to mitigate some of the losses.
4) When asked why SDC had declined to attend S Leahy replied it was political but they recently stepped up a marketing programme with Radio support for the region and newspaper adverts. And that some rate rebates may be applicable;
ACTION POINT: – S Leahy stated that he thought that the sign posting of how to get rebate was quite poor and would contact Carla at SDC regarding this.
5) David Eccles stated that the real Elephant in the room was the second wave of improvements on the Wyldes Road top end by VW garage which is scheduled to take 20 months because of the main BT infrastructure in the ground there. He believes that the reason for doing this work has not been fully justified and thinks the traders down there will be in for a further extended period of disruption and he feels this could be avoided.
ACTION POINT: – S Leahy to follow this up with Highways/ SDC and whoever is in control of this action.
Summing up the meeting from a Chamber point of view: – We feel that the event was well worth putting on although not so well attended as envisaged. If we take the 5 action points above and follow these up to a positive conclusion, its five positives that we did not have before the meeting was held.
Thanks, all for attending and we will stay on top of this.
Mercury overview from the event.
EDF says it will investigate the possibility of whether the work on two Bridgwater junctions can be done any quicker following a meeting with Wylds Road traders.