Appalling

I'm e-mailing you having read your article on page 5 of the Portishead Times (September 6, 2006) and there are a number of points I would like to make, not about the article itself, but about the council's appalling performance. North Somerset Council ha

I'm e-mailing you having read your article on page 5 of the Portishead Times (September 6, 2006) and there are a number of points I would like to make, not about the article itself, but about the council's appalling performance. North Somerset Council has had plenty of time to draw up a list of tenders, and draw up prospective contracts - peregrine falcons nesting on the rockface do not prevent such activities, yet the council has clearly dragged its feet.The mathematics concerning 12 weeks and an end-date of mid-December are slightly unclear, as it suggests work must start on September 25, to complete by December 15. The article says the council has started the process of selecting a company to do the work, but the important point is: when will the selected company be on contract, and when can they actually start the work? It is these aspects which really drive the re-opening date. It is worthwhile pointing out that I have had no reduction in my council tax as a result of the site being closed, and whilst the council would no doubt respond with mock sincerity that I can use either Backwell or Weston, the Backwell site is too small to cope (I've been turned away twice because it was full) and the Weston site is virtually a 40-mile round-trip.Councillor Deborah Yamanaka's comments are preposterous, and I cannot believe they were printed without challenge, for they remind us all that North Somerset Council has no real knowledge of Portishead, and very little interest in its population. For example; what can "We would like to thank the people in the Black Rock area for their patience" mean? Firstly, there are no people in the Black Rock area. Secondly, the site is one of only three amenity sites in the whole of North Somerset, and is intended to serve the populations of Portishead, North Weston, Sheepway, Pill, Portbury, the Gordano villages (Easton, Clapton, Weston and Walton) in Gordano, and much of Clevedon.The council is extremely proud of the marina development in Portishead, and rightly so - the regeneration of such a previous wasteland and eyesore is to be applauded. But let us be very clear; the council is interested because it is the stuff of good publicity, as the council website shows. The counterbalance is that council shows no practical interest in the logistic impact the Marina development and other major housing developments have had on the town. For example, the ludicrous High Street/Wyndham Way/Cabstand junction realignment is controlled by a set of dysfunctional traffic lights, and even a fool would recognise it as totally inappropriate. The congestion is appalling. It should be immediately replaced with two mini-roundabouts, and a number of pelican-style pedestrian crossings. But the greatest criticism must be reserved for the council's total indifference to the problems of leaving the town during the morning rush-hour, when the queue back from Junction 19 of the M5 can reach back almost to the town itself - some two miles! This lack of joined-up thinking is, of course, not just a criticism of the council - it is a common complaint across all levels of government, both local and national, and in particular where the two meet (or perhaps don't!).In summary, the council is only interested in the north part of its territory when the context suits its purpose. At other times we are merely a source of revenue. The council would no doubt plead otherwise, but, as always, actions speak louder than words, and many of our councillors would do well to bear that in mind.David ChillistoneVia e-mail


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