On 11th January, Wilstock News attended the NPTC council meeting. The meeting started with a presentation of the town fund application for £25 million by Doug Bamsey (Strategic Director, Sedgemoor District Council) the town council were interested to know why Wilstock and Stockmoor were excluded from the funding application despite being within the relevant area for funding. It appears that none of the 3 district councillors were consulted or even informed about the possibility that Wilstockhub could apply for funding.
The community fund will help with the river barrage and rebuilding the roundabout at junction 23 as well as going towards the new cinema complex in the centre of Bridgwater. Bridgwater town hall will also receive a makeover as will the docks there will be a home for carnival where the new carts can be built and also other smaller projects. With Wilstockhub so close to being ready to build councillors expressed their disappointment that Wilstockhub was excluded from applying for funding particularly as all the money meant for the development of the community paid to Sedgemoor by the developers was taken by the county council to go towards rebuilding the A38 roundabout at the top of Wilstock Way, not thought to be of any great benefit to local residents.
Councillor Lucinda Spelman-Ives (trustee and chairman of Wilstockhub) pointed out that before the process for submissions of projects had closed, there was no information forthcoming to North Petherton town council which meant that none of us knew that we could have applied for funding and she found this very unsatisfactory. Councillor Richard Ives (trustee for Wilstockhub) said he couldn’t understand why it is one rule for the roundabout at junction 24 and another for junction 23 and surely the new industrial development at junction 23 should be paying for the road improvements there. Councillor Julian Taylor stated that there are no facilities what so ever in Wilstock and that the tidal barrier is being funded by a roof tax . Councillor Alan Bradford (North Petherton Town Mayor) said he was disappointed that Wilstockhub didn’t get the opportunity to apply for funding as Cllr Spelman-Ives and the other trustees have worked so hard to get Wilstockhub off the ground. Councillor Les Pickersgill asked what exactly they intended to do to encourage people to come into the town centre, Mr Bamsey replied that it was by providing a cinema complex, a bowling alley and restaurants and encouraging people to visit the docks and there will be things to come and do and see.
Councillor Luke Parchment (North Petherton Town Deputy Mayor) asked how many of the 380 people asked for their ideas came from Wilstock and Stockmoor, and he felt that the council had decided what they wanted to do and did a survey to satisfy that decision and that anti social behaviour is by far the biggest issue in the town centre. Cllr Parchment also pointed out that Bridgwater town centre could do with a lot of money spending on improving it however to ignore the estates around the town then anti-social behaviour would not be reduced he also said that it is all very well ‘tarting-up’ the town hall but Wilstock and Stockmoor doesn’t have a building at all. Mr Bamsey responded by saying that the town centre needed this money and all surrounding areas were not getting any of the funding. Cllr Parchment replied by saying that it was disappointing that none of the outskirts of the town would benefit from this fund, councillor Linda Hyde commented on the lack of public transport.