LETTERS TO EDITOR NOVEMBER 10

Venture far

OBVIOUSLY Neil McArthur (‘Won’t be back’ October 27 Mercury Opinion) did not venture far along the seafront on his visit to Weston with his mother.

On Sunday last on a lovely afternoon in October, my wife and I were on the front and found, apart from the “new-style” seats, lots of “old-style” seats with covered tops and also several shelters.

Congratulations to the council for the new-style prom, the only blot on the landscape was the Tropicana.

What a shame it has come to this. I remember the opening of the Tropicana, my elderly in-laws bought season tickets for this attraction and on any warm afternoon were to be found, sitting in deck chairs, watching all the fun in the pool with the wave machine etc.


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Come on council, we all want a new pool, not just a blot on the landscape to be demolished forever.

J W BURROUGH

Most Read

Clarence Road North, Weston

Destruction

I AM a man of 44 years, born and bred in Weston. Never before have I needed to speak up, until now.

I have seen the steady destruction of a once beautiful town into a national embarrassment, mainly due to ego-driven, self-indulgent, arrogant decisions by the few that have made it a monstrosity.

To name a few, the once wonderful Knightstone Island is now nothing more than an ugly confused mismatch of Lego buildings squashed between classic Victorian ones. Staying close to the seafront, we have The Royal Pier and Bayside Hotels looking like relics from World War Two bombing raids. Best of all is our iconic open air pool left to rot and discarded like a broken toy. Nothing short of shocking. Now Councillor Elfan Ap Rees says ‘knock it down’: How are these people allowed to make such momentous decisions with no thought or care for the people who live here or their wants?

These are the people who brought us ‘the infamous Carrot’, ‘Big Lamp Corner’ and absolutely nothing to our over-housed, congested, leisure-less town to benefit the Weston people.

Cllr Rees, it would be great to see you put in as much positive energy as you do into your negative one. What lengths would you go to if you had to save the Helicopter museum?

I have lived here plenty long enough to have my say along with thousands of Westonians who state ‘enough is enough’. How come the voice of so few remain so much louder than the mass?

I for one am not scared to meet any of these big fish and would actually love to have the opportunity to meet them face to face to discuss my beloved Weston.

So please, do not destroy anything else in this town without asking the people it belongs to.

MIKE HEADINGTON

St Austell Road, Weston

Requirements

IS NORTH Somerset Council aware of something that the residents of Weston are not, as it now seems after putting off numerous attempts by both local and public developers to re-build the Tropicana it wants to demolish it, and has only allowed any would-be interested parties two months to come forward with a scheme which on its present record it will again turn down.

We the residents of Weston have been waiting for the past 10 years plus for the Tropicana and/or pool as it was originally named to be re-built, but every time a proposal is put forward the council comes up with further requirements which have proved impossible for the companies and/or individuals to meet.

The building and interior has been further damaged by it being used as a dumping ground for all the rubble produced during the refurbishment of the prom and it seems that the removal of this will or could add extra cost to any interested developer

Weston is a seaside town with a reputation built over the years as a great place to visit but without any swimming facilities it is losing out to other nearby towns that have this facility.

Portishead can do it so why cannot Weston?

The council is in the process of spending �9million plus on the refurbishment of the Town Hall but why? It has moved the majority of the staff to Clevedon. Surely this money could have been put to a better use in rebuilding the Tropicana?

To now state at this stage that the site is for the local economy and the missing part of the seafront puzzle is just unbelievable.

What about the income that could have been produced if the council had pulled their fingers out and agreed to the development of the Tropicana years ago instead of now telling us something that we have been trying to tell it for years?

It seems that they have more interest in getting their pictures in the papers and on television than caring for the requirement of the residents.

It is time that the council sat down with the developers or companies that are genuinely interested in the rebuilding of the Tropicana as a swimming pool, forget the fancy add ons that seem always to be part of the scheme and build a basic swimming pool.

We want Weston to have a viable swimming pool with a roof which can be enjoyed by the residents and visitors all year and then possibly we can get the super back into our town’s name because at the moment it is missing.

GEOFF BEAVEN

South Lawn Close, Locking

Wasted

COUNCILLOR Elfan Ap Rees has wasted 10 years, and who can say how many thousands of pounds of council taxpayers’ money, pursuing pie-in-the-sky schemes for what to do about the Tropicana which hadn’t a snowflake-in-hell’s chance of coming to fruition.

Now the man has the confounded cheek to place a deadline on those looking for an answer which would preserve this iconic feature of Weston, which says “Weston-super-Mare” to the whole world.

He should resign his chairmanship of the working group on the Tropicana. Too many of North Somerset’s senior Conservative councillors do not want to know Weston.

A symptom of this fact is the way in which so many public services are being relocated to Clevedon, a place which is not easy to get to by public transport from Weston, or anywhere else except Bristol.

As for the structure deteriorating, that is the same tired excuse that North Somerset has used about the library and the museum.

With the Tropicana, in my opinion, it has been a matter not so much of deterioration but of wanton vandalism by North Somerset Council.

Weston needs to get back to Somerset and be a borough once again with a majority of councillors who care about the town.

ROBERT CRAIG

‘Preserve Weston’s Legacy Lido

Priory Road, Weston

Thank you

I WOULD like to say thank you to the workmen that worked so hard to clear the public footpath between my bungalow and the school at Worlebury.

I’ve lived here for 18 years and it’s never looked so clean and tidy. They were working in dreadful weather some of the time. Also while I’m writing, I would like to say how helpful and cheerful the refuse collectors are. They seem to get a bad press most of the time, but I wouldn’t like their job.

M SHERWOOD

Monks Hill, Weston

Tackle

SOME time ago you published my letter regarding the car parking on Uphill’s roads following the introduction of staff parking charges at Weston Hospital.

I now read in the Mercury on November 3 that, in response to the lack of action to tackle the inconsiderate motorists who obstruct Uphill Road South, First Bus has re-routed its 102 and 112 services to avoid Uphill.

This, in effect, deprives Uphill residents of using these services unless they are prepared and able to walk to Grange Road.

When will ‘the authorities’ have the courage to tackle the problems rather than condone the actions of inconsiderate and sometimes law-breaking motorists?

DAVID STOTT

Sandcroft Avenue, Uphill

Motorhomes

CAN I warn motorhome users to not park in Carlton Street car park in Weston?

I have parked my small motorhome there many times over the years with no trouble, but last month I got a ticket for being a ‘Prohibited vehicle’. The signs on the payment machines say ‘No caravans or trailers’. However, the sign at the entrance says ‘No campers’.

You could argue that a camper is someone in a tent, but of course that cuts no ice with the council. I will reluctantly pay up, but if I can save someone else some money I will be well pleased.

MR G LYNE

Baildon Court, Weston

Pitch black

AT MIDNIGHT we now live on a pitch black road - particularly noticeable as for the last 36 years we have had a street lamp illuminated reassuringly at the front of our house which has always given a strong element of security.

How pleased our criminal fraternity must be that the council is helping them to carry out their activities under cover of darkness, be it either house-breaking or vandalising parked cars.

Today, to add insult to injury, I have received my unwanted monthly copy of the council’s propaganda magazine, Life, which always joins the recycling pile on arrival. How much does this cost us yearly in paper, production and recycling costs?

Surely it is time to stop its publication in this time of draconian cuts and at a time when this council is continuing to squander millions of pounds of council taxpayers’ funds on needless relocations of council staff and facilities. On both health and safety and security grounds we want out street lamps back on.

LAURENCE PRICE

Baytree Road, Weston

Lost to Addiction

ON SATURDAY October 29 I attended a memorial service at All Saints for those Lost to Addiction.

The service was the first of its kind undertaken in Weston, however other such services are held annually in Bristol and other towns and cities around the world.

There are few families that are not in some way affected by addiction, whether it be drugs and/or alcohol, gambling, food, co-dependency, etc.

We don’t choose to have this disease in our lives and yet just as the addict is stigmatised so we, their families, feel discrimination. We are not able to disclose our bereavement due to careless and thoughtless comments, and talking about their death becomes impossible unless it is to a few close individuals.

The service on Saturday evening was so beautifully orchestrated and I thank the organisers for their care and compassion in its inception.

Music, poems and words were shared, along with the names we wish to remember, because they were our parents, spouse, children, siblings or friends, candles were lit and tears were shed.

Addiction creates an emotive response, mainly because it is so misunderstood, but please remember that these individuals, so despised in today’s society are human beings, they have families and friends and they will be loved by someone, somewhere. There is no demographic for addiction, it affects indiscriminately irrespective of financial status, social background, age or sex. It’s insidious in our society and sadly for many its final outcome is death.

I understand the organisers are planning another such service in December 2012 and I urge anyone who has lost someone special to addiction to look out for details and attend.

To be surrounded by others who share your experience of loss is extremely therapeutic. To sit with tears streaming down my face without fear of comment or reproach was cathartic.

There are support groups for those affected by addiction – Families Anonymous, NACOA and Alanon. Sadly despite the prevalence of addiction in Weston, the nearest meetings are Bridgwater, Nailsea, Bristol and Wells.

I urge anyone who has been, or is currently affected to find your nearest meeting and seek the solace such support can give.

For those for whom it’s all too late and the worst has already happened, I urge you to attend next December and I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

Preservation

SO AT last someone has taken upon themselves to endeavour to get a Building Preservation Order on the stately library in the Boulevard.

Lets’ hope it succeeds and afterwards they do the same for the art deco fa�ade of the seafront pool.

These public amenities were never built as viable sustainable and cost-effective projects. Like parks, recreation ground, schools, hospitals, town and parish halls, they were all built for the benefit and enjoyment of the community.

Vandals come in all shapes and sizes, but when the very ones elected by the community act as such; something is very wrong with the political system!

C J PEVERELLE

Edinburgh Place, Weston

Subsidies

WITH the news that the bus company is to axe the route to Sand Bay, it leaves the question are we getting good value from the subsidies that it gets from the council tax-payers.

First Bus has embarked on a television advertising campaign which must be costing a lot of money. Does it think that it will encourage more people to use its busses?

If I want to catch a bus I go to the bus stop and if the first bus that comes along is going to my destination I get on it. I don’t worry about which company runs it.

It would make a lot more sense for First Bus to use subsidies to run services for passengers instead of wasting it on advertising.

CHRIS ADAMS

Florence Grove, Weston

Personalise

THE latest issue of ‘Life’ magazine contains, on page 26, an invitation for North Somerset residents to ‘personalise’ their house by giving it a name.

It goes on to say that if you send North Somerset �45 it will check the name to see “if it was suitable”, and also check if anyone else had used it first.

My problem with this is that North Somerset has no legal authority over house names (unless they are very rude!) and has no central data base of such names because it is none of its business in the first place.

I’m sure that it is some kind of misunderstanding, but as it gives the impression of being a scam I wondered if someone might care to explain the thinking.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

Deprivation

THE Mercury proclaimed ‘Live longer here than elsewhere in the UK’.

The real story is that North Somerset is now ranked 115th out of 404 areas, having been in the top 80 in 2004.

When it comes to multiple deprivation, Weston’s Central ward comes consistently near the bottom of the national list with regard to a number of measures including life expectancy which is well below average.

This is in part another outcome of the North Somerset unitary authority set up. Because measures of income and health are high on the fringe of Bristol, the district as a whole gets less funding from Central Government which is where most of North Somerset’s money comes from. The assumption by Central Government is that North Somerset will distribute its income according to need, but the wealthy areas near Bristol do not fall over themselves in order to spend money on helping Weston with its problems.

If Weston had local autonomy, its needs would be obvious to Whitehall and the necessary cash would come to the town to spend on improving health outcomes.

Also, decisions about how to take the town forward would be made by councillors elected by Weston people, rather than by councillors who see Weston as the undeserving poor.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

Reputation

I COULD hardly believe my eyes when I read ‘Fox wants front bench return’ in last week’s Mercury.

Lest we forget, our local MP betrayed public trust in his high office by breaking the Ministerial Code in the ways that you reported.

Also, despite official warnings, Dr Fox ignored the fact that Adam Werrity was presenting himself around the world as his advisor, with no authority whatsoever. And, as we now know, the MP also solicited funds from a number of wealthy donors for Werrity’s operations in yet another misuse of his position.

Dr Fox continues to tiptoe around the notion that he did anything wrong, blaming his misfortune on ‘blurring the lines’ and a media witch-hunt. But, by his expressed wish to return to Cabinet office in the future, he clearly thinks that we voters will be too stupid to remember his fall from grace.

By exhibiting such blatant hubris, is it any wonder that politicians have such a poor reputation with the public?

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

Timetables

I LIVE in Highbridge, and last Sunday, October 30 I wanted to take my daughter, aged 19 months, to Fun City Brean Leisure Park.

I checked online on the First website for bus times. The timetables stated that the bus was due at 20 past the hour every hour. I went to the bus stop at 11.10am, the bus did not turn up, I walked to another bus stop and called the traveline number that is on bus stops to double check the time and was again told that they were 20 past the hour every hour.

Again the 12.20pm bus did not arrive so I called again and was again told they were definitely running. Now with a fed up and bored toddler I called First customer service and yes was again told that the busses were at 20 past the hour every hour. At this point I was starting to get very annoyed. The lady that I spoke to called the control centre to see if there were any problems on the route. She then informed me that the 112 from Highbridge to Weston does not operate on a Sunday!

When I explained all the methods that I had tried to confirm bus times I was told everything would be updated on the Monday as there is no-one to do it on a Sunday.

This is disgusting and I fail to see why First continually get away with how they treat their customers.

I complained to First on Sunday and still have not received anything back from them.

I may not have been going anywhere important but that’s still not the point. I don’t understand why there is no service on a Sunday.

I’m glad I don’t still live in Brean as now there is no service there at all!

FRANCESCA GAFFNEY

Gulliford Close, Highbridge

Competition

I WOULD like to say that this time FirstBus has really upset passengers.

This morning, October 31, I waited on the Broadway, Oldmixon, for the 6.40am X1 Bristol bus. No bus. At 7.03am a No 7 came. When asked, the driver said no more early Bristol busses this way, straight to town from their depot.

No-one can therefore get to town or Bristol from Oldmixon, Coronation, Devonshire Road and Walliscote Road until after 7am.

I suppose a taxi or walking to town is the only way to get a bus before then and I think it is once again about them and not passengers. It is a pity there is not any big competition against them.

E WALLER

Monkton Avenue, Weston

Air cadets

THANK you for your article and pictures regarding the launch of this year’s Poppy Appeal. However I would like to take issue with the content of the article.

Present at the event and forming a significant part of the parade, were 20 or so very smart young men and women from the local air cadet squadron. They were the only section of the cadet services to take part, the sea cadets and army cadets being unable to attend due to other commitments.

These young people willingly gave of their time and effort to support and publicise a very important event and their involvement did not even warrant a mention. The youth of today is always being portrayed as uncaring, selfish and disinterested, yet here we have an organisation willing to help others and support the work of the armed forces and the superb contribution of the Royal British Legion.

In a society, where the value of our youth is often undermined by the actions of a small minority, I would like to commend and praise the efforts of our local air cadets. They are a credit to themselves, their parents, teachers and to our community. Long may they continue.

G R HAWKES

President, 290 Weston Squadron ATC

Devon and Somerset Wing Headquarters

Wyvern Barracks, Barrack Road, Exeter

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