Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Sedgemoor District Council has made funds available to ensure the survival of Re-Creation and the Edinburgh road Drop-in centre  while a revitalised Hamp Community Association has relaunched it's bid to obtain long term and sustainable funding with a major community renewal campaign it is calling the Hamp Action Plan.

The £16,000 funding is being provided in response to a request from the HCA which in turn has called on the Community to unite behind its Action Plan .

Hamp Councillor and HCA secretary Brian Smedley said "Hamp has had a difficult year since the death of our Manager and key fundraiser Lynne Macriner but we have finally turned a corner and I would appeal for calm and co-operation in helping us ensure that the funding we are now putting in place becomes sustainable in the longterm."

A key element to the Action Plan is the re-structuring of the way the Hamp Community organises itself. This includes a clarified membership system, a committee structure to provide support for the operational management of both Re-Creation and Edinburgh road, plus 2  crucial Finance and Governance Committee. It also includes a new innovation  with  a series of Community Review Panels which will be Resident led and professionally supported and will deal with key issues such as Mansfield Park , the Wireless project and the Hamp minibus.

Cllr Smedley added " It is also crucial to get genuine involvement from the Community in an organisation that they feel will  represent them . This will only work if people join in. We are asking for All Hands On Deck. People should join the panels they feel they can contribute best to and in January everyone should come to the AGM, join up, re-name the organisation if they like , and then take the project forward. "

"This support from Sedgemoor has come at a crucial time and is invaluable to us in giving us the breathing space to find further funding to make the projects sustainable in the long run. "

A Finance committee chaired by Cllr Kathy Pearce has already met and is producing a business plan for the development of the Hamp assets, whilst the Governance and Admin Committee chaired by Brian Smedley has re-drawn the constitution and the structure of the organsiation to encourage wider community participation and draw in professional support. Support Committees for Re-Creation (Jason Roberts) and Edinburgh Road (Gloria Jackson) have already met to deal with the operational matters of those 2 buildings and the first of the Community Review Panels to be set up will be Mansfield Park-chaired by Ben Harvey and which will consider how to spend a further £31,000 available to Hamp through SDC's RLT2 funding.


Thursday, 4 November 2010


Pauline Hayes leads the Lakeside group to Westminster

Hamp Ward Councillors Kathy Pearce and Brian Smedley took members of the Lakeside Park Residents’ Association to Westminster this week (3rd November) to take part in a rally calling for improvements in the law to protect the rights of those living on park home sites.

The delegation joined up with other Park Home campaigners from across the country as part of a National cross party movement to put pressure on their MPs to bring about a change in the legislation. The National Campaign had been organized by Sonia McColl from Dorset and the Bridgwater Group was led by hard working Lakeside resident Pauline Hayes, who was interviewed by ITV .

Lakesiders & Councillors met their MP

Following a request from Cllr Brian Smedley to meet with the group ,Bridgwater MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, turned up ,invited them into Parliament , listened to their case and firmly pledged his support. Brian Smedley praised the Lakesiders determination to stand up and fight for their rights saying "We have been heavily involved with the Lakesiders campaign for justice for 3 years now and they are clearly living under terrible pressure 24 hours a day 7 days a week yet they are still out there fighting. Coming to London today and linking up with other campaigns around the country shows they are not alone and the support of all parties, the MP, the District Council and the case now hitting the National media shows that they are part of a Historic turning point for future generations of park home owners." 

 In the afternoon the group attended a meeting of the Cross-Party Committee looking at this issue, who listened to the wide-ranging reports of harassment, bullying and intimidation suffered by those living on sites owned by ‘rogue’ owners.

Hamp Councillor Kathy Pearce at the Rally

Over 100 residents from across the country, including the Bridgwater delegation, told MPs that a change in the law was required to prevent potential site owners who had a record of harassment or bad practice from owning sites and that they should be denied Site Licences. There were also calls for local councils to be more clearly directed to take action against owners who do not comply with site licence conditions.

A number of MPs from all three parties told the packed meeting that they agreed that the situation had been allowed to go on for too long. The general election had interrupted plans to introduce new legislation but, buoyed by the strength of the rally, they would be pressing forward to work towards the change in legislation that the park home residents were demanding.

Speaking in Parliament Cllr Kathy Pearce said “thousands of people across the country living on these sites, who are often elderly or vulnerable, have seen their homes completely devalued. Their lives have been made a misery as they find themselves completely trapped at the mercy of unscrupulous park site owners. It is not acceptable that even site owners who have successfully been taken to court by residents are then allowed to go on and buy other sites, making huge profits in the process. It is a complete disgrace that people are forced to live in these conditions in this day and age. The fight for justice WILL continue”.

Lakeside Residents, now part of a National Campaign
 The delegation was invited back to the House of Commons in the new year to attend the full cross party debate on the issue. Park home residents would also be looking out for the new Housing Bill, with the aim of lobbying MPs to include legislation for park home residents within the new housing policy.

Pauline Hayes, Lakeside Residents’ Association, Bridgwater: speaking on National TV said

“We can’t sell our homes anymore because the type of people that’s been put on the parks. They used to be elderly residential parks and they’re no longer that. There are owners that are actually deliberately devaluing the parks a) so we can’t sell them we have to sell to them at a pittance and also to get us off so that they can sell it for whatever reason they want the land.”

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Czech family centre workers from Bridgwaters twin town, Uherske Hradiste, visited Hamp recently to compare facilities in their country to what we have here in Britain.

The 9 women from 3 different centres spent time at the Edinburgh road Drop in Centre where they were given a history of Hamp and local government by Cllr Brian Smedley, took part in a discussion about the possible future role of Community Interest Companies with input from Walter Houghton and Chris Done and were given an overview of the daily work of the centre by Julie Raven.

The Czechs were taken on a walkabout tour of Hamp and shown the Mansfield park, which is being targetted by the Hamp Community Association for an upgrade this year and then to Re-Creation where Les Riddle and his staff gave them a full insight into the valuable work the centre does in the Community..alongside several home made Fairy Cakes.

In the evening the czechs joined a sizeable crowd at Re-Creation to watch the Mikron Theatre company perform their show 'Striking a Balance' which told the story of the struggle for Equal pay .

The Czech visit was organsied by Cllr Brian Smedley and was funded by the European Union 'Leonardo fund' and also included other family centres in Bridgwater along with Home Start in Minehead, the Octopus childrens centre in Burnham and Somerset Skills and learning. Brian Smedley said "The project was a great success and there is funding available for a return visit by somerset people working in the same field. The Czechs were impressed by Bridgwaters Community spirit and hopefully learnt from some of our good practice whilst learning NOT to take on board the bad stuff."

For more information about Bridgwaters Czech links visit

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Historic women’s play comes to Hamp
at RE-CREATION sept 2nd

Some of the most profound changes for the better in our lives are forged by pioneers over many years, through separate but linked events. These events are the ‘long revolutions’ that at the time seem interesting but, looking back, have permanently raised us up to a higher level of civilisation. The pioneers do not have to be politicians, scientists or academics. They can be trades unionists."

The sewing machinists from Fords Dagenham, the Belfast cleaners, the Yorkshire dinner ladies and Liverpool cooks were working-class women. But they were making ‘herstory!’

This was the Equal Pay struggle!

The Mikron Theatre Company, in its only west country performance, are coming to the Recreation Centre, on the Hamp Estate in Bridgwater on Thursday September 2nd to tell this inspiring tale.
Set against the turbulent industrial and social background from the 1960’s through the next twenty years, the play chronicles the struggle of working women against the might of a discriminatory establishment.
Fast paced, inventive and a whole lot of fun with some wonderful characters, this Mikron show, with music, is an unusual and exciting theatrical event.

See you there!”

Striking the Balance’,
Thursday 2nd September. 8pm The Recreation Centre, Rhode Lane, Hamp, Bridgwater.
£8 ( Concessions-including trade union card and Bridgwater Arts Centre members-£6.)
For further information contact Pat Morley (Bridgwater Arts Centre)  at
or Dave Chapple (Bridgwater TUC)  on 01278 450562 or


Ben in the stocks
With the continued success of the second Annual Mansfield Park Fun Day on Hamp, we caught up with key organiser Ben Harvey to find out how it went.

Q;- Ben - so how did it go then? What happened, who turned up and what was the response?
BEN;- on the day we had 15 of the 16 teams turn up, but got over it and the 5 aside football was great and every one had a good time watching. There was some very entertaning football played. We also had Sue from Pitmans doing some slush puppies and sweets. Pitmans helped sponsor the event by paying for the charity shield which was very kind of them.  We also had Jason Kirk there with his burger van, and Carla Richards from Hope inn did the bar. We had  Antonella whippy with her ice cream van, we had the YMCA  bouncy assault course which looked so much fun and  I did not get round to having a go lol!!  There was also one more bouncy castle, my partner Sam did the brick a brak, we had Kerry Taylor from Fancy Faces, and Claire Woodward doing balloon modeling , a lucky dip and lots of other fun things and stalls.  I was in the stocks for about an hour.   99% of the feed back was positive and everyone said they had a great day and will definetly come to next years 5 aside/funday and would come to anything else we do . on the whole the day was a great success 

Q;- How did you come up with the original idea for the Fundays ?
BEN;- We just want to do something for the community, mostly the kids to c their faces having fun, and raise money when doing it so  we can keep on doing events for the Hamp community, 

Q;- What were the highpoints of the day and what else would you like to see in the future?
BEN;- the highpoints of the day has got be walking round the event and wherever u looked there were kids with big smiles on their faces, and the final as we had a team for Hamp in the final they lost - but one of the winning team   lives on the park which was nice.

Q;- You've been a key mover in the campaign to improve Mansfield park which both Hamp Community Association and Hamp Action Group are pushing forward with - what is your personal vision for the future of Mansfield Park?
BEN;-Mansfield Park is not a park. It is an empty playing field. My vision for the future would be to have a play area for the little ones with equipment, seating area for all, teens and dog walkers. To keep the football pitch and even to add a smaller pitch.. Some trees and planting would also be nice. 

Q;- What support have you had from local businesses, the council and the wider community?
BEN;-the local businesses helped a lot. The main ones were Pitmans, and Bridgwater Car and Van Hire donated a van to use for the day . Pitmans saved us money by paying for the winners shield which can be use every year for 11 years.The council gave minimal help really for the day although they did provide bins and line markers, we did have to pay for the line paint which we hardly used any of.

Q;- Were there any areas you weren't happy with and is there more input from the community that you need?
BEN;- We always underestimate the size of the park. There was lots of space left which could have been filled with stalls, advertisers etc... We do need lots of voluntary help to organise and set up. A few lads did help with the packing down but most was left to me and Sam. We have learnt from the 2 days we have done so far and will probably learn more with each one that we do.

Q;-Whens your next one?
BEN;- The next footy tournament will take place in July/begining of Aug 2011. We are having a rest now lol but would like to organise something just for the children for christmas, maybe a santas grotto . 

Thursday, 12 August 2010

HCA Mansfield Park Working Party

Minutes of the Meeting held on Wednesday 11th August 2010 3.00pm at 1 Edinburgh rd

Ben Harvey talks to SDC officers about the state of Mansfield park .

Members -Cllr Brian Smedley, Jason Roberts, Ben Harvey, Gloria Jackson + Teresa Harvey ( SDC Group manager Leisure services ), Harley Cook (SDC Parks and open Spaces Policy Officer ) Adrian Gardner (SDC Group manager – Environment and Strategic Housing)  
Apologies;- Cllr Steve Gill,

Introduction;- Cllr Smedley said we were here following SDCs agreement with HCA to formally fund a Feasibility study for the development of Mansfield park . This would entail bringing in Consultants at SDC's expense who would hold a scoping meeting with the Working party and present a range of options.

After discussion these options centred on the use of the field for football or not.

Op 1;- To leave the pitch where it is as the centre piece of the park recognising it as one of Bridgwaters best pitches and to see what could fit around this
Op 2;- moving the pitch, possibly at an angle to the West end of the field thus freeing up central space around and either side of the footpath for extra usage such as childrens play areas and possibly a MUGA.
Op 3;- Removing football from the park altogether , relocating this elsewhere and devoting the park as a play area and public open space.

There was considerable discussion about the state of the park, which everyone agreed had improved since the site meeting in June with Dave Agett and James Presdee, however there were still areas of concern which Adrian Gardner said he would undertake urgently and attempt to complete before the Mansfield park funday on 21st August
  1. A focus of enforcement against dog fouling and the consideration of extra bins.
  2. Investigate the cost ,siting and positioning of benches along the footpath
  3. Tidying up the edges of the park and approaches.
  4. Re-instatement of the area around the temporary practice goal

Teresa Harvey undertook to engage Consultants to draw up options for a management plan, cost the various options and bring these to a meeting in october , particularly looking at the Pitch, the FA's conditions, the requirement for a buffer zone , the inclusion of a MUGA, the viability, location and contents of a childrens play area, the possibility of a Youth Shelter and the usage of the pitch whether with Blake Old Boys or with additional teams.

Teresa would also check with SDC estates valuers the terms of the deeds of Conveyance to clarify use of the park but she believed football was now an established usage as it had a long history on the park.

Harley Cook confirmed there was £31,000 in RLT money available towards this but stressed the conditions for the siting of the things we sought in relation to nearby housing- a MUGA required a 30m buffer, a football pitch 36m. He also said that EDF had allocated money for refurbishment of the Bristol rd fields.
Cllr Smedley agreed to contact the Blake Old Boys to make sure their voice was heard and said he would invite a member onto this working party.

Date of next meeting -TBC (October 2010)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Notes taken at the site visit to MANSFIELD PARK Wednesday 16th June 2010 5.00pm

1.Members Present
Elected members;- Cllr Pat Parker (Chair), Chris Done ,Cllr John Turner Co-opted members;-Cllr Brian Smedley (sec), Cllr Kathy Pearce. Observers;- Jason Roberts , Ben Harvey(Hamp Action Group) Carl Watt, (Blake Old Boys) Gloria Jackson (Resident) Mark Searle(volunteer)Sam Harvey (Resident) Mrs Ives (Resident) SDC;- Dave Agett, James Presdee Centre Manager;- Jan Capel
2 Mansfield Park ;- James Presdee and Blake Old Boys gained access to the Changing rooms which were visited to assess the condition. There was general feeling that they weren't as bad as anticipated but clearly needed work doing to them to deal with the roof, the ceiling and damp. Also the toilets needed bringing back into working order and the locks addressing
Dave Agett undertook to have the changing rooms back in full working order before the next football season started in August. Blake Old Boys first game was 25 August, Ben Harvey was organising a 5-a-side tournament in the park on August 21.
Dave Agett asked if the best way forward was for SDC to resume full control of the changing rooms in order to do this as opposed to the current arrangement with the Blake Old Boys. Carl Watt agreed that this would suit Blake Old Boys.
Gloria Jackson expressed concern about the kids accessing the roof and wanted railings lowered. Dave Agett said that lower railings would not solve the problem but would rather suggest a butress effect on the corners of the changing room. Although Mrs jackson wasn;t convinced by this and Mr Agett admitted it wasn;t in place on any other changing room he said it had some success on the Blake bridge park access and people accepted that it was worth a try.
Ben Harvey asked about the option of a pitched roof but Mr Agett said this was costly and they needed to get as much as feasible done within their limited resources to make the best impact.
Mr Agett said that SDC would arrange painting over the mural on the changing rooms. Mrs Jackson proposed a camouflage colour but Mr Agett suggested that whatever was used kids would still grafitti on it.
Mrs Jackson asked for assurances that the weeds would be dealt with along with flytipping. Mr Agett said he would arrange this to happen as a priority and Nick Garnet would deal with it within 2 weeks including the full perimeter .
It had been raised that there were no dog fouling bins – however, Mr presdee pointed to 2 in current existence and felt these were adequate- however they could look at siting one at the opposite end of the park.
Mrs |ves said there was an ongoing issue about parking in match days on the lane from the parkstone direction
Mrs Jackson asked for plans relating to the original layout of the Park dating from the time of the conveyance as she had an original copy which she had transcribed. She pointed out that Mrs Mansfield had lived at 121 Taunton rd (South lodge) and should be commemorated for her donation within any future development on the park.

3 Dates of future Meetings; There will be an open meeting of the HCA on Thursday 8th July at 5.30pm at 1 Edinbrugh rd to discuss Mansfield park and SDC response. 16 June at 6pm

Secretary;- Cllr Brian Smedley 7c West Quay Bridgwater TA63HL tel 07772402671 email;- brian.smedley@