Review of the year: October, November and December
PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 December 2017
This year may be best remembered for two controversial subjects – the overnight closure of Weston A&E and parking. But 2017 was also filled with the generosity of strangers, people taking a stand in campaigns and well-attended events. But here is what happened in October, November and December.
• Proposals to convert Alexandra Parade into a bus interchange and alter the road layout were announced after £5million was secured for the project.
• The Mercury revealed the Italian Gardens project had ended up £200,000 over budget.
• The derelict Cliffs Café went up in flames. Fire investigators said the fire was caused deliberately.
• Weston Woods was added to the Centenary Fields programme to ensure the space is protected due its role in World War One. Around 80 per cent of the wood’s trees were cut down to shore up the trenches.
• England cricketers flocked to East Brent to watch Ben Stokes get married.
• The Mercury launched its Cleaner Coastlines campaign to achieve plastic-free coastline status for the town by completing five objectives. Since the launch, one objective is complete, and two will be finished by the new year.
• The first restaurant at the long-awaited Dolphin Square development opened its doors, when popular chain Nandos served its first customers. Pizza Express, Costa Coffee, Luda bingo soon followed. A cinema will open in January.
• The Mercury launched its Books For Schools campaign, to stock school libraries with new books. The first recipient was Mendip Green Primary School.
• Four out of five of all North Somerset parking tickets were handed out by traffic wardens in Weston, the Mercury revealed.
• Public space protection orders to crack down on dog fouling, skateboarding and antisocial behaviour came into force.
• Sunshine Hospital Radio station celebrated after raising £20,000 to replace out-of-date equipment.
• The UK’s biggest ice rink, Icescape opened at the Tropicana.
• The hospital scanner appeal reached £300,000 of its £400,000 target.
• Housing groups geared up to fight the West of England’s Joint Spatial Plan, which shows where houses may be built up to 2036. It includes plans for garden villages on the outskirts of Banwell and Churchill with 4,700 homes in total – but may pave also the way for a Banwell bypass.
• Weston Railway Station was listed by Historic England.
• The Mercury revealed how birds on Steep Holm island were feeding plastic to their chicks and were becoming trapped in trees because of beer can holders.
• Five Mercury readers won £500-worth of jewellery vouchers each to spend at Caboodle as part of the late-night shopping events.
• Alcohol-related crime tied to Weston’s night-time economy fell for the third successive year.
• Weston Town Council announced a proposed 12.3 per cent precept rise for 2018. North Somerset Council is proposing increasing council tax by 1.99 per cent, along with a three per cent adult social care levy next year.
• A Christmas light display for charity on the Oldmixon estate was destroyed by vandals. Criminals also targeted The Strawberry Line Café in Yatton.