The usual protestations of innocence

PUBLISHED: 12:57 28 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:23 24 May 2010

WESTON Town Council's democratic vote to protect the town's future both physically and economically with a marina based on Glentworth Bay and Knightstone Haven, was dismissed last week by John Crockford-Hawley in the most derogatory terms. Whatever else t

WESTON Town Council's democratic vote to protect the town's future both physically and economically with a marina based on Glentworth Bay and Knightstone Haven, was dismissed last week by John Crockford-Hawley in the most derogatory terms.Whatever else this famously garrulous and grandiloquent member may be, he is certainly no gentleman. He has so little regard for the mayor and other elected members of the town council that he called it a toy-town meeting that was not intellectually challenging, adding that he could not wait to get out. I too was at that meeting.The town councillors, particularly Councillors Ley-Morgan, Morris and Porter, presented their case very well. That is why it was voted through. All this time, I watched JCH listen intently. Far from trying to get out as he claims, he was riveted to his seat, fearful that his personal mission to destroy what remains of tourism and the seafront economy might suffer a reverse.We can of course expect the usual protestations of innocence, but just look at what is happening already. The fishermen have been pushed off Knightstone just as the island has effectively been given away to the developers; boat trips are at risk as the operation of the Bristol Queen has been made very difficult by the developers throwing Martin Woolls off the island where he has worked for 30 years. Legal action is now brewing. Water-sports and sailing too will be much more controlled as access to the promenade is increasingly restricted and (despite there being no bylaws) there are continuing threats by Alan Hockridge to control the ancient moorings. And with only three openings available in the 750 metre long wall, access for promenaders will be massively restricted as will their ability to cross the road to their favourite hotels and bars. Unsurprisingly a new splash wall is relatively cheap, costing only £1.5 million. This will enable the Lib Dems to use the rest of the £17 million budget from Defra prettying up the promenade, even though officials protest it cannot be used for that purpose.As a defence against a 1 in 200 year the splash wall proposal is as preposterous as it is fraudulent, even if a million pounds has been spent consulting and modelling so that officials may assure us that the wall will work. Instead of asking people in land-locked Leicester for their opinion, let us use our own local knowledge to assess the risk instead. To show that the proposed wall will fail to defend of the town against the waves sooner rather than later, we only have to add the 1.5 metre storm surge of December 6 to the 13.5 metre tide of September 9 to realise that if they had coincided the resulting 15 metre sea would have swamped the promenade with water one metre deep. With six metre waves hitting the sea wall in the last six weeks it does not seem out of place to imagine two metre waves pumping the sea over both the prom and the 'splash wall' beyond. Such a wall will therefore not protect the town for the 200 years claimed. No wonder the Environment Agency has been talking about the need for much higher walls at 2.4 metres and much more than that if we are to cope with dangerous wave over topping.What we need is a breakwater in the bay to prevent wave energy reaching the sea wall that also needs to be raised 1.1 metres high, in solid masonry. But that would never suit those who now seek to sell the dream (or nightmare) of 'Island Living in the waves'. And there are some indications that they are in the driving seat, all be it remotely. On December 14 that influence was applied via the permanent officer corps who introduced the two real reasons why it was passed. Councillors were told (1) if you don't pass this now, the Government will keep us waiting another 10 or 17 years and we cannot wait that long and (2) we can't have any more gateways in the wall either; a man at Defra does not want them and won't give us the money if we insist. So much for democracy, Lib Dems style.JULIAN PARRYVictoria Park, Weston

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