Letters to Editor 19 May

PUBLISHED: 10:23 20 May 2011

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Archant

Tropicana

I ATTENDED the recent meeting of the Senior Citizens Forum, which was addressed by both Richard Nightingale and Elfan Ap Rees.

Both speakers defended their stance on the Tropicana debate and each blamed the other for the breakdown in talks.

At times it was so heated that it was like two schoolboys squabbling in the playground in front of about 200 bemused spectators. If this is the way they behaved at the Forum, heaven help the discussions in private.

It is sad that the optimism, so strong a few months ago, has now been shattered and the Tropicana is still decaying in front of our eyes.

There is talk of new interest in the scheme but let’s not get too excited because we have been down this path on so many occasions.

I am wondering if as an interim idea the front of the Tropicana could be divided into ten seasonal retail units. Already there is a cafe and gift shop so why not expand and at least make some use of the building.

This would be the first stage and give the Tropicana some life whilst the future of the whole site is discussed.

This saga cannot go on for ever.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

At last

IT NOW looks as if North Somerset Council, after the recent elections, is at last showing an interest in the Tropicana.

They still do not seem to be interested in providing a swimming pool, be it from council resources or a private individual or company, but want to dress the existing derelict building to be a possible outdoor area which would be used for concerts, etc. As it would be an open area it would be restricted to fine weather.

Weston is a seaside holiday resort which has to have a swimming pool that can be used and enjoyed by the residents and visitors alike throughout the year.

Richard Nightingale tried extremely hard over a number of years to provide this facility but failed at the last hurdle over problems with car parking.

Surely if commonsense were to prevail the councillors, who are supposed to represent the concerns and welfare of the residents, should do their job and sort this problem out.

How much longer will the derelict property have to remain as such?

The pool area has been virtually filled in with rubble by the contractors involved in the seafront enhancement of the promenade and sea defences.

Should they not be responsible for clearing this up and at least returning the property to the condition it was in before they decided to use it as a tip?

Also this improvement cost in the region of £29million, if we had had a forward thinking council why did they not consider at the time including the refurbishment to the Tropicana as part of the contract?

If they had done so we would not be in the situation we are now.

As the North Somerset Council does not want to consider refurbishing the property as a swimming pool as they say they cannot fund it, let’s start again, and put it out to private contractors, insist on it being a swimming pool and café, forget the hotel and upmarket water attractions and let the town of Weston get what it requires: A swimming pool.

They could also consider going cap in hand and asking Richard Nightingale if he would consider putting forward a further project for the property but concentrating on providing a swimming pool and facilities.

I am sure that if they went down this line then surely something could be resolved to get the swimming pool that Weston so needs.

Or should we put the following underneath the Welcome to Weston signs the additional ‘The only major seaside resort without a swimming pool’.

GEOFF BEAVEN

South Lawn Close, Locking Village

Act together

IS THERE any chance of North Somerset Council getting its act together now the election is over by listening to the people of Weston and sorting out the Tropicana?

How many more years do we have to wait?

All we want is a pool for our children and visitors. We don’t want hotels, shops or underground car parks.

So now you councillors when you are sitting around your meeting table get a grip and give the people of Weston what they want – a pool.

RON EDWARDS

Cresswell Close, Worle

Footpath

I READ the article by Mr A Ross about no funds being available in the near future for speed reduction measures.

I am the grandfather to two daughters who attend the Banwell School and, I would like answers from Councillor Ashton, council leader Councillor Elfan Ap Rees and highway officer Ian Wilson on the funding for a footpath across the playing field adjacent to the village hall in Locking. It was my proposal in 1999 as a Millennium event which culminated in its purchase for the parish, hence my question: “Why is this contract being done and, why funded by North Somerset Council, when, if it is needed, costs should be borne by the parish precept.”

This job started at the beginning of April and is still proceeding.

I should point out I commuted to London daily from Weston and was employed by GLC/ILE, in their architectural services surveying and supervising contracts.

MR R DOCKRELL

Grenville Avenue, Locking

Our plight

I AM very reluctant to be forced into paying this ‘excess charge’ as I feel the issue this notice is extremely unjust and discriminatory.

My colleague and I brought 13 elderly and disable folk from our sheltered accommodation complex in Bristol to have a ride on the ‘Weston Eye’ this morning.

We were driving a minibus and were unfamiliar with parking in Weston, so we headed for the closest car park to the ‘eye’ which was in Carlton Street.

Naturally our minibus was a little too large to fit into one parking bay and, owing to the wheelchair lift at the rear and large opening side doors, we parked at the end of the car park, so that we would not obstruct anyone, paid the required amount at the pay station and displayed our Blue Badge.

On our return, just one hour later, we find that an Excess Charge notice has been issued, as we had taken up more than the required space in the car park.

I immediately walked across to the Town Hall to enquire where else we could have parked a disabled persons’ minibus, only to be told we should have taken it to the Locking Road coach park.

The lady I was put through to on the telephone was not at all interested in our plight and said there was nothing she could do.

We feel very aggrieved as: We did not know of the Locking Road coach park and no mention was made of this on the display board at Carlton Road.

When we later saw how far away the coach park was, I am sure we could never have got our people from there to the seafront.

There was no option to drop off (as with a large coach party) as there was one driver and one escort on this minibus and both needed to be with our elderly folk at all times.

There was absolutely no facility for disabled minibus parking anywhere near the seafront, so how are you expecting us to make use of your ‘attractions’ if you make no provision for us?

The issue of this notice spoilt what was to be an enjoyable start to our day out in the Weston area and none of our residents wish to return to Weston in a hurry.

We all felt let down and angry that there was no consideration given to providing suitable disable minibus parking, or directions and certainly no help or consideration of our situation given on the phone by the lady I spoke to.

In an area such as yours, where there is a predominance of elderly people and disabled residents, I am very surprised indeed that you feel you can behave in this way towards folk who simply wish to patronise your facilities and enjoy a day out.

Weston is now definitely off our ‘to visit’ list in the future.

MRS L G HORSCROFT

Stoke Lane, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

Upsetting

I HAVE just read online your alarmist article regarding the recent Ofsted inspection of Yatton Methodist Playgroup (‘Village playgroup is criticised after routine inspection shock’, April 7 1001)

All parents of the playgroup were personally handed a copy of the subsequent Ofsted report. The ‘failings’ were not shocking as reported. To publish such an inflammatory standfirst, having evidently investigated only one side of the story, is both upsetting and damaging to the playgroup, the parents and our community as a whole.

I find the staff at the playgroup to be highly conscientious and caring and my daughter adores her time there. I would highly recommend this playgroup to anyone.

MARY DUNN

Wemberton Crescent, Yatton

Cafeteria

FIRSTLY, I have no interest, financial or otherwise in any commercial concern.

Some form of cafeteria style outlet is needed at Flowerdown Park (but not another Costa coffee shop).

It would not impinge on town centre facilities and people who would travel to Flowerdown Park as a destination leisure eating place would be very sad indeed.

It is a shame that Andrew Stevenson, his fellow case officers and predecessors in council did not have the same concern for Weston town centre in the past.

The edge of town retail centres are probably justified in the light of the footfall they get.

However, over many years the council has overseen degradation in the quality of Weston town centre.

We are lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country, surrounded as we are by The Mendips, Quantocks, long sandy beaches, Somerset Levels, close proximity to the welcoming, vibrant and quality town of Taunton and city of Bath.

By contrast, Weston town centre has been allowed to grow tired, cheap with disjointed architecture.

When they are fully completed and “bedded in” the seafront and Dolphin Square developments will only reinforce this perception.

PHIL BROWNE

Worlebury Hill Road, Weston

Right outcome

HERE we go again. Once again, North Somerset Council is doing its best to avoid giving the people of Weston what they want and need, which is a pool on the seafront.

A recent survey of Weston people showed that a huge number are obese.

A town the size of Weston should have two swimming pools, leaving aside the value of the Tropicana as a visitor attraction.

Having messed things up for decades, North Somerset is looking for a quick solution.

Why the sudden urgency?

We need a speedy resolution, but we want the right outcome.

ROBERT CRAIG

‘Preserve Weston’s Lido’

Priory Road, Weston

Birdsong

LAST autumn I wrote to The Mercury following a visit to Clarence Park regarding the absence of song birds - both visually and aurally - that I experienced and also commented on the numbers of squirrels of which there were seven.

Last week I repeated the walk and was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite: admittedly many of the birds spotted were pigeons but, irrespectively, there were many birds and much birdsong but only one squirrel.

Has someone been eating squirrel pie?

NORMAN BROOKING

Beach Road, Weston

Clamped

IT WAS 7.30 on a Wednesday evening this month, and the last night for our visiting French students.

So for a treat and surprise I thought I would take them into town for some traditional English hospitality, fish and chips, and where better than Winstons. They were very excited, only young boys, and probably never tasted the like before.

On arriving there were no spaces to park, but there were plenty in the car park next to the Chicken Inn, one car in there to be exact.

We jumped out and went to get the supper, finding out they can’t take cards I ran to get some cash from Nationwide. The boys collected their cod and chips, we went back to the car, only to find it clamped.

A man sitting in a white van, refused to listen to reason that he saw us enter Winstons, returning 10 minutes later, with the boys carrying their dinner.

I had to pay £125 on the spot, because all he could do was lecture me on the signs around the car park, and I didn’t want the students being made any more upset.

The comment one of the French students made, was “Weston Super Hospitality”. So true. What a wonderful lasting impression you have left for Weston’s tourism. So I have three questions.

Whoever owns this car park, are you so desperate for cash you need to clamp people in an empty car park at night? And are you at least decent enough to come forward and let us know who you are, as the clamper wouldn’t inform me, as it was data protection?

Lastly has anyone else experienced this?

Maybe you should put up a chain or bollard and stop people entering the car park.

I admit I should have paid more attention to the signs, etc. I was merely 10 minutes, so surely in this case, commonsense should be used.

JAMES RICHARDSON

Old Mill Way, Weston

Thank you

I WRITE to thank people who donated to and collected information about, Uncaged in Weston on April 30. Forty pounds was donated towards the work of this wonderful organisation and, importantly, awareness was raised about ethical lifestyle choices.

Uncaged is a peaceful international animal protection organisation based in Sheffield. Its main campaigns are against animal experiments, xenotransplantation (animal to human transplants), the global boycott of Proctor and Gamble and for democratic action on animal issues through the political systems.

Government statistics reveal that more than 3.5 million animals suffered and died in British laboratories in 2009 in experiments “likely to cause pain, distress and lasting harm”. Additionally, eight million animals are bred and destroyed annually as “surplus” to requirements. The figure is rising. Animals may be infected with diseases (most of which do not naturally occur in animal species), isolated, starved, burned, blinded, poisoned, shot and irradiated.

To learn how you can avoid being implicated in the abuse of animals log on to uncaged.co.uk.

GAIL WOOLFENDEN

The Animal Information Bureau

Highcroft, Woolavington

YES, D F Courtney, I totally agree. What are they doing about our pier that crosses Birnbeck Island? Nothing!

There’s so much I can put in a letter that can also be washed out to sea along with the Lifeboat Station.

NEIL DUDLEY

Upper Kewstoke Road, Weston

YES, D F Courtney, I totally agree. What are they doing about our pier that crosses Birnbeck Island? Nothing!

There’s so much I can put in a letter that can also be washed out to sea along with the Lifeboat Station.

NEIL DUDLEY

Upper Kewstoke Road, Weston

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