Closed, demolished or in decay

WHEN I was a boy growing up in Weston I had the privilege of enjoying many of the facilities that were built for us by our forefathers.

WHEN I was a boy growing up in Weston I had the privilege of enjoying many of the facilities that were built for us by our forefathers.

The Rozel Bandstand, our open air pool (Tropicana), Birnbeck Pier, Knightstone Baths and Theatre, to name but a few. All of them, whether privately or publicly owned, now lost to our community. Closed, demolished or in decay.

In 30 years untold damage has been done to our community and there is no sign that it is getting any better. Indeed, it is getting worse.

The council wants to shut the museum, which has been in Burlington Street since I was a boy and has benefited generations of families and visitors for nearly 150 years.


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They want to sell off or privatise the Playhouse Theatre and the Winter Gardens. Handing over even more of our few remaining community facilities to speculators and profiteers.

This current council administration should be ashamed to be presiding over such a devastating period of cuts and closures. I don't want my baby son to grow up in a town that has lost its way because of the arrogant attitude of a handful of councillors.

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Weston is full of great, talented, hardworking people and we should be looking forward to the future with confidence and optimism. But we are instead being dragged down by what must be - to paraphrase a well-known lager brand - Probably the Worst Council in the World.

But there is hope. There will be a General Election soon and local elections next year. Local residents will be able to give these out-of-touch politicians a kick where it really hurts - in the ballot box.

The fundamentals of our town are still strong. We are incredibly lucky to have entrepreneurial and ambitious local business people like Kerry and Michelle Michael, Richard Nightingale and many others.

We have groups of business people running small firms who are just waiting to be offered some leadership and direction. People like the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, who are working hard to lead Weston out of recession and create jobs - despite the best efforts of the council and government.

Some things are going well. The investment in Weston from the Regional Development Agency and the Environment Agency in the form of the sea defences and Civic Pride will improve Weston and, when completed, have a real impact. Our schools and college are doing a great job - despite being short-changed by the Government - in educating our young people and raising standards.

I was born in Weston. I live here, I work here. I am not in the business of running down our town. But you do have to tell it like it is. We have to be honest about the shortcomings before we can do something to put them right. Top of the list for turning Weston around must be to get rid of Nigel Ashton and his cronies from the Town Hall. They are not unlocking our town's potential to grow and thrive, they are dragging us under. They've got to go.

MIKE BELL

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Weston

George Street, Weston

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