LETTERS TO EDITOR MARCH 25

Tidal power

SO THE experts on renewable energy have spoken once more that we as an island haven’t done more to exploit the sea around us.

They say we could get some 20 per cent of our electricity needs by investing in wave and tidal power. Seeing as the sea is there permanently, it’s sort of commonsense to use it.

Thousands of jobs could be created, ours and other communities’ economy would grow, but unfortunately there will be objections galore, it appears that wind and tidal power will be detrimental to the environment.

Yet if one thinks over decades of years gone nature recovers from adversity.


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Yes there is nuclear, then there’s the waste product at the end of the uranium’s life.

It takes hundreds of years before the area can become safe.

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Then there’s the millions it costs to dismantle the nuclear station plus keeping the area safe over the years.

What is spent on that programme is enough to create tidal power, which will only require normal maintenance, as long as the sea keeps flowing.

So why not secure the future for our children, and generations to come.

Let’s do something now for them.

Tomorrow’s generations will be saying what was wrong with those in the 2007-2011 era, didn’t they care about us?

P J MAIN

Axe Close, Weston

Brilliant job

ON March 6 my family, dog Jake and I came to Weston for the day.

During the day our dog had an accident and suffered bleeding badly from two of his paws.

Thankfully at that time a lady approached us and said she was a veterinary nurse and could she help. She did a brilliant job for Jake, stopped the bleeding and made sure he was OK.

I would like to send a special thank you to her as at the time we didn’t have the chance.

Also thank you to all the people that approached and offered help.

MRS D COLE

Manor Road, Chippenham

RAF St Eval

RAF St Eval Friends Reunited Association 1939/1959 would like to contact all ex-RAF St Eval personnel and invite them to our next reunion at the Trebarwith Hotel Newquay in September 2011.

All members receive two newsletters each year and can also do a search for their ex St Eval pals.

RAF St Eval (Cornwall) airfield opened in 1939 and closed in March 1959. It was one of the largest coastal command stations in the country which was situated about seven miles from Newquay. So that the airfield could be built a small Cornish hamlet consisting of seven cottages and the public house the Spry Arms, which was situated where the main runway was to be built were demolished. More than, 1000 personnel lost their lives while serving at RAF St Eval, and in the churchyard is a poignant reminder of the past where many brave RAF St Eval personnel are buried.

For further information please contact Dave on 01202 423292, Peter on 01271 814439 or Bob on 01303 892559.

DAVID LOCKYER

Halebrose Court, Seafield Road, Bournemouth,

BH6 3DU

Rubbish

IT WAS a really beautiful day on Saturday, and so nice to see Weston thronging with visitors, enjoying the sunshine, the new Grand Pier, the seafront and the new Pier Square.

Long queues formed at the food outlets, and business was booming.

Just what we want to see.

But at 4pm this was not what I want to see when I go to enjoy Pier Square with my grandsons - rubbish.

The summer is stretching before us, hopefully with many such lovely days, so I do hope that the question of dealing with rubbish is not going to become yet another big problem.

I personally think that the council do a reasonable job, but I do think that the food outlets who are selling meals in these polystyrene boxes for visitors to consume while sitting round the walls should have an obligation to regularly clear up.

It would be nice to think that the visitors who are enjoying Weston and eating these meals would deal with their own rubbish - but that would be taking things a bit too far!

Weston has always had a nick name of Weston-super-Mud - we do not want a new one of Weston-super-rubbish.

MRS HILARY WYATT

Whitecross Road, Weston

No such plans

IN OPINION of March 10, Councillor Dr Mike Kellaway-Marriott said that Staines was considering that all traffic and pedestrians could share the same space without pavements or kerbs.

I understand from my local councillor that there are no such plans. Currently, Staines has a pedestrianised High Street with no entry permitted for vehicles. The only exceptions are for emergency services and vehicles used for setting up stalls on market days (twice weekly). I would suggest that Staines is a model for other small towns to follow.

Cllr Dr Kellaway-Marriott also highlighted Ashford as having successfully introduced a shared space scheme. If he was talking about Ashford in Middlesex, there is no such scheme in operation or likely to be.

SYLVIA HARRINGTON

Ashford, Middlesex

Insight

I WAS surprised by the letter of Mr Thomas regarding the rescue of a young man who got his leg trapped in the rocks near Birnbeck Pier, perhaps he hadn’t read the story of the incident in last week’s Mercury which might have given him better insight before writing.

Of course one might question why all the services were called upon but just think for a moment, the young man in question was trapped by his leg in the rocks with an incoming tide, so you would perhaps need the services of the Fire Brigade with their specialised equipment, then of course you would need an ambulance on stand by for any medical treatment, the police would attend as they must do with any incident and would be there as well in case of crowd control, the Coastguard or RNLI attend as it involves an accident where with an incoming tide there services could render assistance. As to the number vehicles by the various services involved I don’t recall the Mercury story stating how many were in attendance so perhaps Mr Thomas was there counting and to use a quaint expression ‘rubber necking’ or was it by Chinese whispers. I think I would have been more supportive of Mr Thomas’ moan had it been about the idiots who ignore the signs along our beach warning of the dangers of mud and not to venture past them, and due to their own stupidity involve all the services mentioned, yet year in and year out calls are received by the emergency services to rescue these people who think they know better, ignore the signs and get stuck in the mud or worse lose there lives, due to it and the tide.

DAVID JEFFERY

Turnbury Close, Worle

Public money

FURTHER to last week’s “Architects committed to Birnbeck Project”.

Levitate’s commitment along with Urban Splash is non-existent, whilst I am pleased that some remedial work has been carried out on one set of trestles, which was funded by public money.

Possible plans which include holiday flats, restaurants and “rock pools” that visitors can explore, “what a load of rubbish” and as to developments on the island, these will never happen, any emergency services required would not be able to gain access.

The locals and visitors just want a pier to be proud of and be able to walk over the water.

MIKE DAVIES

Baytree Road, Weston

Acknowledge

I READ with interest your article about the local councillors and the salaries they receive. Do they earn them, and especially those responsible for the council tax office?

I have lived in this town since 1970 and have always paid my taxes when due but this year I have had considerable trouble.

I set up a direct debit with my bank for council tax, they didn’t take it in December and only half in January.

I am now getting letters for underpayment of tax. This is just an example, after months of writing and phoning, I write to the chief executive, he doesn’t even bother to acknowledge my letter. Don’t try ringing the person in charge, he doesn’t speak to the public. Can you believe it?

This whole scene reminds me of Robin Hood, the chief executive is the Sheriff of Nottingham, his minions in the council tax office the tax collectors hounding the poor.

I am looking for a Robin Hood to come to my rescue. I speak on behalf of the senior citizens of this town, we are not past our sell-by date, because the snow is on the roof it doesn’t mean the brain has stopped working. These guys should look at the Chinese – they treat their elders with respect.

Do you wonder we don’t all turn out to vote at local Government elections? I would like to employ a solicitor to act on my behalf, but have no spare funds so I have put the matter into the hands of the Local Government Ombudsman as a last resort.

GRETA PLANK

Bridge Road, Bleadon

Lavatories

OUR lack of lavatories in Weston is the main reason I do not go into the town centre.

By the time you catch the bus, if it turns up, or drive and find a place to park the first thing you need is a loo.

There are many people with health problems, who can’t be without a lavatory.

Just think of people’s health and dignity.

DIANA GULLICK

Wynter Close, Worle

Abrupt end

SO THE Tropicana has come to an abrupt end again.

I suggested two years ago to build the swimming pool on Dolphin Square, there are plans to build a hotel, bar, restaurant and shopping centre. Why not have the swimming pool on ground floor with the shops above? The swimming pool will still be on the seafront plus there is a multi car park at the back.

JOHN ARIS

Uphill Park, Uphill

Resurfaced

TOWARDS the end of January this year, Maysgreen Lane, in Hewish, was resurfaced by Balfour Beatty.

That in itself was a bit strange as there are main roads in and around Weston that are in a dreadful state, so to resurface a country lane did not seem to make a lot of sense. However a good job was done for the first time in years I didn’t run the risk of breaking my neck down huge potholes while walking my dog.

On one of these walks a few days later, I discovered that there was a large amount of tarmac in the gullies on the lane, and two of them were completely blocked so that there was no chance that rainwater could drain away.

I rang the council and explained the situation and was told that Balfour Beatty would be contacted so that they could come and rectify problem. Big joke, I have been ringing the council every week for the past seven weeks to tell them that nothing has been done.

Last Monday I spoke to someone who informed me that all he could do was keep e-mailing Balfour Beatty and ask them to clear out the gullies. He went on to tell me that there was absolutely nothing else he could do as there had been no penalty clauses in Balfour Beatty’s contract. It seems that, should Balfour Beatty so choose, they can totally ignore any requests from the council to make good.

So, if we have heavy rain there is a good chance that the properties at the top end of Maysgreen Lane could flood because the drains are blocked. What kind of a farce is this?

TERRI BORASH

Maysgreen Lane, Hewish

Indeed correct

WHEN John Cleese called this town soulless he was indeed correct, speaking for many of us who have been misled into coming here to live: it came as a shock to see it for what it really is.

There is nothing for seniors to do here, and very lonely if by yourself many miles from family. There is no sense of community spirit at all, only for the very young. Where are the Scrabble and bridge clubs, lectures, discussions, book clubs and choirs?

The Campus Library fares no better, with its quite late and short opening hours, and pathetically small selection of books. The opening hours geared to children from school, not for retired people who want a quiet morning to study. Once the children come in it becomes a ‘no go’ area; often getting too noisy to seriously concentrate; they come in with coke and crisps, noisily swivelling on chairs. A while ago three came in on scooters. There appears to be no rules about consideration for others here. Everywhere I’ve been noise is kept to a minimum.

Everything about this shabby town reflects the council and its abysmal lack of imagination and capability to bring this town out of the doldrums.

Never mind the ‘tickled up seafront’ with its ugly wheel, and yet another pier that belongs to ‘time gone by’ era. The Pier Square will also soon go the same way as the dirty littered ‘carrot’ square.

The back streets and side roads are unsightly slums, with dangerously narrow and broken unsafe pavements. And the scruffy little pubs are shameful. The old Railway Station too is long overdue for a face lift. And why do people here put up with the jarring bus rides, enough to give you a headache, because of the neglected state of the roads?

It totally lacks good and individual shops here: too many junk food outlets, too many charity shops, and too many high technology shops, all which go to making people unsociable and unable to communicate.

The council has been happy to sell off surrounding countryside too, to greedy developers, who have crammed in characterless houses, which was without any consideration for immediate residents, taken away their privacy, security and peace. When nothing has been done to ease the nightmare road congestion here in the eight years I have been here.

I see no pride in this town, or the people, and it is plain that the council cares little, as long as these problems are not on its doorstep.

Weston is not a place I would recommend anyone to live, if they care about their immediate surroundings, as I do. Sadly, I cannot move away with the present economic situation, but I do have to get away from here in summertime, to be with like-minded people: to stretch my mind, and get away from all frustration I feel just being here.

SYLVIA THOMPSON

Harvest Lane, West Wick

Imperfect world

TONY Lake’s letter ‘Facts’ in last week’s Mercury raises an interesting issue regarding those among us who never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

There seems to be a local hard-core of serial complainers who regularly use your correspondence columns to regale us all with their often misguided and inaccurate views.

Whether the subject is the Tropicana or Pier Square, these armchair experts always seem to have the answer – regardless of reliable professional advice or the experience of those qualified to express an informed opinion.

And these same moaners are only too quick to denigrate our councillors and local representatives, often suggesting that they are either incompetent or only motivated by venal self-interest.

But what these know-alls don’t appear to understand is that we live in an imperfect world – people make mistakes (yes, sometimes big ones) and plans occasionally go awry.

If this Victor Meldrew faction thinks they can do better, then let them use the great gift of democracy we all enjoy and put themselves up for election. Then they might see how much harder it is to get things done rather than just snipe destructively from the sidelines.

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

Sympathy

I HAVE some sympathy for both Mr Nightingale and for the council. A massive building is not suitable for this site on the sands and will spoil the grand sweep of the seafront.

Any use should be low and be contained within the three handsome local stone boundary walls.

Can the people of Weston accept an increase in the town council tax for several years to provide a modest swimming pool?

In recent years other towns and some parishes in North Somerset have raised large sums for special projects within their boundaries.

Why not Weston?

FREDERICK PARSONS

The Old house, Wick St Lawrence

Disappointed

I, LIKE thousands of other Weston residents, was extremely disappointed to read in this week’s Mercury that Richard Nightingale had been forced to pull out of his bid to give Weston a long-awaited swimming pool.

Weston is a seaside town which has been without a swimming pool for more years than can be remembered despite various companies trying to provide one.

Weston wants and deserves a swimming pool.

GEOFF BEAVEN

South Lawn Close, Locking

Additional

I AM writing to clarify the facts relating to the story in last week’s Mercury that “the council will have to pay out �26.8million for Castlewood over the next 25 years”.

This is absolutely true, but it is only half the story.

Without the office amalgamation programme, the North Somerset taxpayer would be paying an additional �11million on top of the �26.8million over the 25 year period because the previous accommodation arrangements would have to remain in place. Running 18 buildings would be far more expensive than just two.

As the savings and income from amalgamating offices outweigh the costs by �11million over the 25 year period they provide money to protect local services.

Thus, the answer to your editorial piece on page 16 which asks “wouldn’t the cash spent on Castlewood and the Town Hall be better spent on mitigating the effects of council budget slashing?” is no - it is avoiding further cuts of �11million which would otherwise be needed.

PHIL HALL

Director of finance and resources

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston

Library

AT A public meeting about the proposed closure of Weston Central library North Somerset Council were not convincing.

A decision on the budget had been rushed through the previous Tuesday, without any public consultation. It seems the council have failed to understand the feelings of the people of Weston.

Balancing the books is necessary, but simply to put a financial value on iconic buildings is unhelpful.

Such buildings as the library and the museum define the town and give it its identity, shaping many lives from childhood onwards.

DAVID AGASSIZ

Stafford Place, Weston

Relocation

LAST Saturday morning (March 19) a packed meeting took place at Weston’s Blakehay Theatre, which emphasised the strength of opposition in the town to the proposed relocation of the Central Library to the Town Hall.

I had previously presented the case against the move to North Somerset Council at its meeting the previous Tuesday, and it was profoundly depressing to observe Weston’s Conservative councillors all towing the party line.

What came across strongly on Saturday is that the unique, Hans Price library building is held with great affection by young and old. They confirmed, time and time again, that the service offered there is pleasant and efficient - despite the groundfloor’s need for a lick of paint. What was also confirmed by this great crowd of Westonians was the nightmare of trying to park in the Town Hall area - most places are bagged by working people before 9am. The Boulevard is much less encumbered, and the wide road makes it much easier for the disabled.

Speakers also emphasised the fact that libraries and town halls are different places with quite different functions. The view was expressed by younger people that they would find the town hall site intimidating and that they wouldn’t go there. They find the present library welcoming and friendly.

In these straightened times, Weston needs to hold on to its special places. They are what gives the town its particular identity. North Somerset Council has failed utterly to consult Weston regarding the library move, the costs involved and the future of the Hans Price building itself. It’s about time they started to do so.

DR HOWARD SMITH

Stafford Place, Weston

Brilliant

WHAT a brilliant public meeting (about the library)!

I would like to thank:

? The architect who explained to us the difference between public and civic buildings (one neutral and value-fee, the other part of an authority plus administration).

? The girl who told us that some people wouldn’t use a library in the Town Hall because they had bad experiences with local authority officialdom.

? The host of people who spoke about their fears of losing a beautiful purpose-built building and their fears for its future when sold off.

? Those who challenged the lack of consultation and information.

? The historical overview – even two world wars and the great slump didn’t manage to close the library and install in it a modern bunker.

? The local resident who made the case for our library and that Weston shouldn’t lose it because there was space in Weston Town Hall.

? The MP who chaired the meeting.

? The brave councillor who defended the indefensible coherently.

Sorry I don’t know your names, but you made me proud to live in Weston.

DOROTHY RILEY

Stafford Place, Weston

WHAT a breath of fresh air it was to see the colourful Grand Pier’s battery driven land trains called Silver Arrow and Golden Arrow back on the pier chugging their way along the Weston landmark.

I’m sure for Weston’s magical �51million Grand Pier, with its brightly coloured flags, bunting and the huge variety of amusements ranging from dodgems to futuristic space flight simulator and go karts, the popular Grand Pier’s land train will be a delight for the elderly and children.

D F COURTNEY

Victoria Park, Weston

HAVING received a number of letters this week which we deem to have a political agenda criticising individuals or parties we have decided not to publish them or have deleted such content.

This is because we will not publish political letters in the run up to the local government elections on May 5.

Letters which were not published came from Susan Gibson, Peter Carter, Trifia Gibbins, Mr and Mrs L Evans, Ailsa Brent, D M Glassock, Dean Harris, Stephen Griffin, Mr and Mrs W J Raynham, Mrs C Davis, C Wythes and Julie Power.

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