Letters to the Editor, July 23, 2015

PUBLISHED: 11:07 24 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:07 24 July 2015

Archant

ON BEHALF of Somewhere To Go, I wish to thank J D Mapletree for taking enough interest in the difficulties of the homeless and disadvantaged in Weston to write to the paper.

Even though I cannot agree with the comments raised it allows me, as chairman of Somewhere To Go, to respond to a few points and also offer an invitation.

The council does give assistance where possible and when it can afford to. Sadly some of our members do not trust ‘authority’, as the council appears to them. They prefer to come for help, advice and companionship to Somewhere To Go. It is safe place for the vulnerable, disadvantaged, traumatised and abused of both sexes. Their troubles may be temporary or long standing.

Somewhere To Go provides food sustenance, benefits advice, legal direction, nursing care, chiropody service, help with job applications/CVs, hospital appointments, clothing, bedding/sleeping bags, clothes washing facilities, shower, and above all companionship. The staff try to get the homeless temporary accommodation in B&B for a couple of nights, if we have the funds. Landlords are selective who they take in their bedsits and so more permanent accommodation is often not available. One could go on about the various problems and situations.

Why is it necessary to have Somewhere To Go near the centre of town? Where else should it be if not near the people who we serve? They live in limited accommodation or on the street, close to a town centre! This is as it is all over the land. The need is here. We try to meet some of that need here, where shoppers shop, buses run, friends meet and – sadly – where a few try to beg for help, loiter or occasionally fight.

I am sorry J D Mapletree has such a job to get into the town but if he (or she) would like to visit us, I would happily meet them and show them round our premises. It may help to understand the difficulties some folk have to face. If you would care to ring Somewhere To Go and leave your number, Joan our marvellous manager, would discretely pass it on to me and I’d return your call to make an appointment when to meet. This invitation applies to anyone who is concerned about our town’s homeless and disadvantaged. We welcome your interest and your help.

MRS JENNY POPHAM

Chairman Somewhere To Go

Boulevard, Weston

ANYONE caught or suspected of abusing a homeless person should be made to or encouraged to work and help these unfortunate people.

No one knows why they are on the streets; they could have been in care or ex-servicemen. So why ridicule them?

I grew up in the North East in the 1930s and 1940s when times were hard, but we were encouraged to care for those less fortunate than ourselves. There is a saying “Don’t kick a man when he’s down”. Have some thought for these people. It might make you a better person.

M WHITTAKER

Milton, Weston

IT WAS with horror and disbelief that I read the letter in your paper from J D Mapletree. How anyone can actually put in writing such ludicrously extreme and disgraceful views I find hard to assimilate.

I notice that Miss Mapletree wrote to your paper in 2014 where she made reference to UKIP.

As someone who stood as a candidate for UKIP for the district council (Winterstoke Ward) it disturbs me greatly that someone who holds such uncaring and disturbing views on our fellow human beings should feel that UKIP would in any way support her distorted view of our society.

If Miss Mapletree is in any way representative of the people of Weston I personally feel ashamed to say I live there.

That she should have some compassion towards her fellow human beings surely goes without saying but just to answer her misguided view regarding the local business owners she should understand that a large proportion of them belong to Weston Rotary Club and other charitable organisations that work tirelessly, giving unselfishly of their time, to raise money for local causes.

The current president of Weston Rotary Club, Major Gordan Fozzard of the Salvation Army provides food, clothing and shelter for the type of people she refers to in her letter and he will also regularly refer people to Somewhere To Go who do an amazing job in helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Weston Rotary Club raises more than £20,000 every year to be distributed within the local area to those in need.

It is not for me to suggest to Miss Mapletree how she should perceive the society in which she lives, that is a matter for her conscience but I would just, in conclusion, refer her to the words of Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee): “if you learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it”.

CHRIS CHILDS

Old Mill Way, Weston

THE message should be loud and clear, we need to encourage everyone to recycle more. Though we now face a difficult challenge with the forthcoming renewal of the waste contract, and we need to get the best value we can for taxpayers, three weekly recycling collections is something I personally will not be voting for, but better recycling will be.

We cannot continue to rely on landfill because these sites are already reaching capacity. As a community we are wasting resources by sending items to landfill which could be recycled. Plastic for example is made from oil. If we want to carry on using plastic we will have to recycle the plastic we already have. Bauxite is the raw material that is used to make aluminium. Bauxite is mined in places where rainforests are destroyed to get bauxite out of the ground. Therefore it makes much more sense to recycle aluminium than to make new aluminium.

Food recycling is particularly important as it can be turned into electricity through anaerobic digestion. It costs less to recycle it and far better than throwing it into landfill. To encourage everyone to recycle their food waste, North Somerset Council is pioneering a £50 voucher scheme. To take part, all you need to do is put your food out for recycling regularly. Make sure that you label it clearly with your address and put it out by 7am on your collection day and you may be randomly selected to win a reward. The more times you put it out, the more chances you have to win. Further details are at www.feedmeandwin.co.uk

Working together we can make Weston cleaner, greener and healthier.

CLLR RICHARD NIGHTINGALE

North Somerset Council Central Ward

Aisecombe Way, Weston

LAST week I went to my first meeting of Weston Youth Council. I was thrilled to be asked to be one of the town council representatives on the group, supported by the YMCA.

I was struck by the enthusiasm and dedication of the young people on the Council, giving up part of their Thursday evening to meet and work through their agenda.

The youth council is an important way to give young people a voice and official representation, ensuring their concerns and aspirations are communicated.

It’s also an excellent way to encourage active citizenship and participation of young people and I will do all I can to support this.

The group tell me that they are keen to hear from any young people who would like to join them. If you or someone you know is interested, aged between 11 and 18 and lives or studies in Weston, please call the YMCA on 01934 629787.

Another important means of engaging young people locally is the YMCA’s 2015 Summer Starter event, delivered in partnership with Weston Town Council, which will be held in Grove Park this Saturday, July 25.

Activities and entertainment will be open to the public from 11am-5pm.

The event aims to offer a variety of fun activities and entertainment to engage or interest children and young people of all ages and celebrate the skills, talent and positive contribution of young people in the local community.

Please come along or for more information email Kevin.Lilwall@ymca-sc.org or look it up on Facebook.

COUNCILLOR SARAH CODLING

Winterstoke Ward

Worle Moor Road, Weston

I WAS brought up in Weston, which was then a ‘family seaside holiday resort’ where we saw very little crime. Sadly, as everywhere, those times have changed.

I have been elected as town councillor for Mid Worle as of May of this year and am doing my best to bring the ‘Good Life’ back into our town for future generations.

There are so many crimes that are not followed through with any form of punishment, nor deterrent to do the same again. These petty crimes are mainly carried out by minors who have no respect for property nor the people who own it, they appear to have a free hand to destroy whatever they want to knowing that they will get away with it. I hope you agree with me that petty crime is the first step on the ladder to the hardened criminals that we have in our country today.

There are many crimes that go unreported, as being of no consequence, a prime example was brought to my attention whilst visiting The Hub in Mid Worle. I was saddened to see that the local volunteers time and hard work to make the new floral displays so amazing has been wasted on some people, or their children, who obviously have no respect for anyone or anything. Plants lifted from their pots to die. A pot which had a large gap in its centre due to some lazy person who dumped a dog litter bag into it instead of taking it home, hence dead flowers, bus shelter roof smashed, for what purpose?

I was told that someone had taken photographs and reported the damage to the displays, the police said that they can do nothing as the culprits are underage?

They should be named and shamed, then be taken to help the volunteers repair the damage that they caused, plus put in extra hours helping those who make our community areas so attractive and welcoming. If they are minors then their parents or guardians should be made to work alongside them.

If we can educate the youngsters in this country to have respect for people and their property we will be far less likely to experience another generation of criminals. Maybe some will educate their parents?

I have emailed David Cameron and Sue Mountstevens our Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, in regard to this matter and hope to receive a reply in the near future.

CLLR ANITA SPENCER-JOHNS

New Bristol Road, Worle

THE situation in the National Health Service can be compared to a Greek tragedy.

The Government has promised an extra £8billion but the question is, where will the bailout be spent? It is not just a question of money because the NHS does have room for improvement.

Matrons should be brought back and hospitals should dispense with ward managers who have limited medical knowledge.

The time taken for ambulance crews to pass over patients to hospital staff needs improving. I have witnessed crews waiting for more than an hour before staff accept patients and this means that ambulances are off the road longer than necessary.

Hefty fines should be given to patients who miss appointments without good reason – it is easy to telephone a cancellation. This also applies to doctor’s surgeries where patients have to join a waiting list whilst others fail to turn up.

If your doctor is not available then try the clinical nurses. They are very efficient and can deal with minor ailments. They can often give advice.

I am sure readers have their own ideas and there is certainly room for improvement. Money cannot always buy care and care is what the NHS is all about.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

I WRITE in relation to the article in last week’s edition ‘Thousands sick from booze’. The figure (stated in the second paragraph) of 4,460 relates to the number of admissions not the number of people - one person could have been admitted many times. This figure does not tell us the actual number of unique individuals that were admitted for alcohol related reasons in 13/14.

Likewise, the ‘per 100,000 figure’ (stated in the pint graphic) of 1,810, relates to admissions not people.

There are several other mentions in the article where your reporter confuses the number of people with the numbers of admissions.

Because of this incorrect interpretation of the data the front page statement ‘1 in 50 people living in North Somerset has been admitted to hospital for alcohol related illnesses’ cannot be considered as being valid. The available data does not allow for this type of calculation to be made.

It should also be noted that this data relates to local residents admitted anywhere in the country, so if a tourist were to be admitted to Weston hospital this would be recorded against their home area.

On a positive note I was pleased to see you highlighting the work we are doing with our partners to offer treatment and support. We will continue to work with other organisations to do all we can to reduce alcohol abuse.

JO MERCER

Safer and stronger communities service manager

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston

BEING in Poundland in town, we felt it was very commendable of them to announce over the tannoy that a minute’s silence would be observed at 11.30am to remember the victims of the 7/7 bombings.

However although almost everyone in the store stood for that minute in silence, we felt it would have been more appropriate if that same staff member, who announced this, had actually had the forethought to turn off the piped music for this amount of time.

KATHY DUTTON AND TERRY DUNHAM

Mead Vale, Worle

I AGREE with Andrew Sutton’s letter on dogs in the Mercury on July 16.

I also had a dog jump up my back and was nearly pushed over, all I got was “it won’t hurt you”.

I live in one of eight houses and we are surrounded by seven dogs. We cannot sit in our garden in peace, we get nothing but barking.

They are a real nuisance and very annoying. We don’t all like dogs, I for one don’t.

MRS M STANLEY

Constable Drive, Worle

I READ in the July 16 Mercury, that the Government could grant more independence to Weston and North Somerset, as councillor leaders begin the next steps towards devolution.

It is to be hoped that more independence to Weston and North Somerset means as separate entities. The danger is that it means just more power to North Somerset, which, as we know from experience, would not be an unalloyed blessing for Weston.

The Government wants its proposed combined authorities, with devolved powers, to be run by metro mayors. Devolution is the right way to go, providing that the structure is right. Whether the combined authority should be run by a metro mayor is another matter. De facto, we already have a metro mayor. He is George Ferguson the mayor of the city of Bristol. The difference is that the people of the whole of Bristol Province (the Avon area, plus Somerset and West Wiltshire) would elect the metro mayor, and not just the residents of the city of Bristol. We are unable to boot out George Ferguson but we could sack the metro mayor. That would be better than the current situation in which it is virtually impossible to replace the present leaders of North Somerset Council.

George Ferguson recently decided to sell land at Avonmouth Docks. That area is an economic driver for Bristol Province and many folk from Weston work at Avonmouth. Thus, the future of all of us in the travel to work area depends on Mayor Ferguson’s whims. A metro mayor would be better than what we have now, particularly if the devolved combined authority recognises the Weston Town region, including the villages.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

THERE are currently two housing applications for land in Langford - one for 43 houses by Says Lane and one for 141 houses on land off Pudding Pie Lane.

There is also a pre-application for 35 houses on the land opposite Churchill Primary School.

As reported in the Mercury last week, the parish council has unanimously voted against the Says Lane proposal.

At the residents meeting held by the parish council for the Pudding Pie Lane development more than 150 people turned up and the majority opinion was residents did not want any development to go ahead.

To date, there are only 13 objections/comments for the Pudding Pie Lane development on North Somerset’s planning section of its website.

I would like to appeal to the residents of Churchill and Langford, if you don’t want these developments to go ahead, if you haven’t already done so, you please take some time out and register your objections/concerns for both planning applications as soon as possible on www.n-somerset.gov.uk/planning or write to North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare. Thank you.

JOANNE STICKLEY

Bristol Road, Langford

HAVING concerns is one thing doing something to beat developers and keep all the green field landscapes for essential food, is another. Even if they get outline planning permission – it is still not too late to beat them.

If we don’t like what developers want to build on green fields outside our villages, ‘we communities’, need to meet the market demand for extra homes within our village boundaries; by advertising that new home buyers can get better deals and home style choices within our villages, by working with current property owners to re-design, build up and not to build outside the village.

To own a home not having to rent one and not having to be saddled with an enormous mortgage too, is most people’s dream.

If you agree please answer this question and convince yourself that building on spaces within villages (including using three or four storey structures, ie building up, not building out), is preferable to outward urban sprawl constantly eating up the green spaces that farmers could use to feed us in an international crisis.

To beat the developers ambitions, we have to provide people who need homes a home where they would like to live not where developers choose to build, whether it be built of temporary materials, or in such a style and size that they can really afford to own their home .

Here’s why time is on our side.

Big developers themselves predict that to meet the Government’s annual extra homes targets, it may take 10 years; because there are insufficient skills and building materials available. This means, that even if developers are granted outline planning approval on appeal with the planning inspectorate, most communities will have years to organise home creation inside village boundaries, so whenever developers decide to apply for detailed planning permission, their surveys would show them that the market had been taken from them by developments organised within villages, by village residents.

So community by community the ball is in our court; we either let the developers win, or provide the homes within our villages, in a way that pleases new occupiers better.

Come on all you campaigners for green field preservation; this is the only way to beat developers, before it’s too late. It’s infill, or green field. We have to decide and act, to please the buyers first.

RICHARD SIBLEY

Dunsters Road, Claverham

I’M SURE thousands of people have noticed the disgusting state of the Odeon building in the past few years.

The once proud and much used landmark, loved and valued meeting place for many a courting couple looks nothing more than a dirty old public lavatory and that’s insulting lavatories. It’s funny how many people are so complacent when they know that something ought to be done, but do nothing.

I know that vandals have added to the destruction but if there are signs of dilapidation certain individuals will always add to it.

Surely the tiles could be removed and painted over or a nice pebble dash effect.

If it looked nice people would us it more, who wants to be seen walking into a building like that? Also some lights would be nice inside the screen rooms so you don’t have to grope your way through. Weston used to be a lovely town now it’s lowly becoming an eyesore.

JEANNE HOARE-MATTHEWS

Jubilee Road, Weston

ON BEHALF of all the people who are so supportive of our Playhouse, we would like to thank the manager, Mark Thompson.

Mark deserves a huge accolade for bringing The Mousetrap to Weston, such a big undertaking for our small theatre.

People came from far and wide and were very complimentary about the theatre, the staff and the volunteers.

It was certainly an excellent week for The Playhouse, so thank you Mark and all those who worked so hard to bring it about.

NEVILLE AND BARBARA MEWSE

Saville Crescent, Weston

AT THE Playhouse on Saturday evening July 11, Tina Counsell School of Dance put on a show for all the family to enjoy. Thank you to all who took part, some in pain with broken arms, fingers, toe. You can be proud of yourselves. Showtime Memories, was the best I have seen in a long time.

Thank you to all who helped put this show on, Playhouse staff, and all the helpers backstage.

To anyone who did not come to see this show, you missed a super time.

M A JONES

Whitting Road, Weston

I WISH to respond to the article in last week’s Weston Mercury July 16 ‘Who will take the reins of rural WIs?’

Yes, I did say that “I think people associate the WI with the older generation” but l also informed your reporter that we have no intention of closing and told him of the activities the Lympsham WI members participate in – walking, skittling, playing croquet, curling, a recent visit to the BBC studios at Bristol, regular visits to the theatre, Carols at Wells Cathedral, visits to outside organisations and helping out at such events as the Taunton Flower Show – all of which the Lympsham WI members have done and will continue to do.

I think your article paints a picture that we are old and possibly do not have any ‘fun’ events. This is simply not the case and I can promise you we have a great time. We also have a varied programme each year and our speakers’ subjects have ranged from ‘Life in the Diplomatic Service’ to a ‘magic show’ and ‘making a hanging basket’.

The Lympsham WI currently has 24 members and we hope to have a few more new members starting soon so please don’t write off the WI.

EILEEN MALE

President, Lympsham WI

West Road, Lympsham

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