Plans to transform Bridgwater and its immediate surroundings were unveiled last week at the official launch of the ‘Bridgwater Challenge’ project as part of the Hinkley Point A Site’s annual Business Breakfast.
The ‘Bridgwater Challenge’ is a partnership initiative, which brings together Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, the South West Regional Development Agency, Bridgwater Town Council, Bridgwater College, Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce, the Environment Agency, Taunton Deane Borough Council and the Learning and Skills Council, under the independent chairmanship of Anthony Gibson, former South West regional Director of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The project has already been awarded funding of £355k from the South West Regional Development Agency and is being supported by Hinkley Point A Site as part of their socio-economic work with the community.
Its aim is to develop and communicate a compelling vision for the future of the town, which will act as a framework for its economic, social and structural development.
A key aspect of that will be to enthuse and engage the people and organisations of Bridgwater, and it was that process – which will be facilitated by design consultants, Gillespies – that was launched at the Business Breakfast.
Speaking at the launch, the Chairman of the Bridgwater Challenge Project Board, Anthony Gibson, said: “Bridgwater has a lot going for it; a proud and fascinating history, many fine buildings, an historic waterfront and docks, one of the highest achieving further education colleges in the South West, beautiful countryside and superb road and rail links. Its strategic location marks it out as a centre for growth and innovation.
“The challenge is to take the many threads of economic, social and cultural development that will be at work in the town over the coming years and knit them together to create a single, unified vision that can fulfil the potential that Bridgwater offers and transform the image of the town.
“But we will not be able to do that unless we take the people of Bridgwater and their organisations with us. Our consultants, Gillespies, will be talking to the people of Bridgwater about their aspirations for themselves and their town, so that what finally emerges is not a plan dreamt up by a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats, but a vision that the whole community identifies with and believes in.”
Gillespies are now developing a programme of work that will take place in early 2009 that will gather the ideas of the public and help develop a vision designed by the community. Public engagement events will be held at key stages of the project and will be promoted through the local press to give opportunities for community participation. The project board welcome the views of businesses, local organisations and communities and value all contributions.
It is important that everyone makes the most of this exciting opportunity.
For further information contact:
Tel: 01458 259423
Tel: 01278 435262
Tel: 01865 326789