What on earth is going on at Sedgemoor District Council? First they demolish Sedgemoor Splash, a much-loved, high quality leisure pool in Bridgwater, apparently to make way for, wait for it, ANOTHER SUPERMARKET, which years later has still to materialise. As if this wasn’t bad enough, we now hear that the operator in question, Tesco, have been refusing to pay all of the application fee. Everyone else, you and I included, have to pay a fee when we apply for planning permission. But apparently Tesco feel themselves to be above such things and have refused to pay £20,000 of the fee levied by Sedgemoor District Council for wading through all the application details in deciding whether the proposal is acceptable or not. Tesco apparently disagrees with Sedgemoor’s calculation of the fee and disputes the quoted fee of £47,000, preferring instead to pay £27,000. A planning application cannot be formally registered by a local Council without the fee so the Council holds the whip-hand. No fee, no application.
So why on earth is Somerset County Council, part owner of the site, giving Tesco the balance of £20,000?? That’s right. £20,000 of Council Taxpayers money handed over to a supermarket. Like they need it! Tesco make around £3billion profit a year. And again, just like in Taunton with the Firepool site, it’s not like Bridgwater needs another supermarket. Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons and other smaller foodstores are already represented in Bridgwater. How much better it would have been to keep the Splash. But having made the decision to demolish it to make way for Tesco, it is completely unacceptable that the Conservative-controlled Sedgemoor District and Somerset County Councils have cooked up this deal to hand over our cash to Tesco. Maybe they thought “Every Little Helps”. We need an urgent inquiry into this.