LETTERS TO THE EDITOR APRIL 7

Pay a visit

I WOULD suggest the powers-that-be that run this town should pay a visit to Doncaster (at their own expense of course) to see what can be achieved.

Across the road from Doncaster Race Course is a large area that has been developed over the years which boasts a multi screen cinema, numerous restaurants, fast food outlets, etc, shops, an outdoor mall called Lakeside with ample parking and at the fore front of all this is a large building called ‘The Dome’ inside which are an ice rink, theatre, restaurants and snack bars and a large swimming area that I would describe as a much larger version of Sedgemoor Splash in Bridgwater. There are numerous slides, bubble beds, Jacuzzis and an outdoor Lazy River.

Now Doncaster is about as far away from the seaside as you can get, so if they can have all this why can’t we, as a supposed major holiday resort, have something similar?

JOHN YOUNG


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Severn Road, Weston

Solution

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COULD the following be a solution to First Bus’ reluctance to cross the Pier Square complex?

By allowing the portion of road between Big Lamp Corner and T J Hughes be two way for buses only, the number 7, and other buses that use the Big Lamp Corner bus stop, could then turn into the High Street at the Dolphin Square end and with the two way access for buses only, once again use the bus stop at Big Lamp Corner.

This would therefore make the Pier Square complex a safer pedestrian area with the coming of the summer months and vast amounts of visitors using the area.

MR R S DAVEY

Coleridge Road, Weston

Sympathies

I SEE in the Mercury that Dunelm is to lose staff. My sympathies go out to them, as I have experienced too many ways of assessing staff first hand, and none are pleasant.

This is what the private sector undergoes all the time, and the council staff are at long last facing that loss.

Why do they think they have the right to strike and hurt the very people who pay their wages?

M JEFFREY

Locking Road, Weston

Keep repairing

RE: RACHEL Heath of Clarkson Avenue’s letter on March 31. Yes the road is in a state. As the cars just throw the rubbish at the end of the road.

The council they keep repairing the pothole but it doesn’t last.

My reason in writing this is the dog walkers ‘or rather the dogs’ think Ewart Road is a toilet. The cars think it is Brands Hatch and a race circuit.

MRS M P SMITH

Ewart Road, Weston

Patchy mud

A LETTER signed Yve Morgan in Last week’s Mercury makes an accusation about Weston beach that could be damaging to the town. I must put the record straight.

Firstly there is no “quick sand” on the beach; only some patchy mud that has no real danger to anyone with a working brain.

Secondly the tide here is one of the safest there is for paddling and swimming in. There are records of accidents from boats but I find no record of any swimmer being swept away.

The two round ponds once found on the beach were boating ponds where swimming was banned, and the original swimming pool was built to provide an all-day venue instead of trying to catch the two hours of full tide. It had nothing whatsoever to do with public safety.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

Safety reasons

SO MAX WILKINSON, from Cheltenham, believes that all of us who are alarmed by the mixing of people and traffic in Pier Square are narrow minded naysayers.

Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion but I am wondering where Max was standing when he witnessed children mixing with buses, because so far the bus companies have refused to use the square for safety reasons.

Everybody who has contacted me has agreed that there could be a serious problem and I am quite happy to be called any name under the sun if I can help save one child from being mown down by any form of transport in the square.

Also how much easier it would be for everybody if Weston had its own park and ride scheme. Bristol, Bath, Bridgwater, Taunton all have very successful schemes and Weston has plenty of land available to make it possible here.

Over the years the council have been very quiet on the subject and seeing as it now costs a minimum of �5 to park on the seafront why would they want to lose much of this revenue to an out of town park.

If this is the main reason why the Tropicana scheme has failed, then shame on the council for not looking at the bigger picture - the resurrection of the jewel in the crown of the seafront.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

It’s a shame

I SEE that roadworks on and around Milton Hill are going to take 10 weeks.

It’s a shame that we did not have an earthquake. We could have employed the Japanese to fix it in six days.

PHIL BROWNE

Worlebury Hill Road, Weston

Email address

IN A very cynical move North Somerset Council published a leaflet about their planned relocation of Weston’s Library just the day before our “Save Weston’s Library” campaign meeting at the Blakehay and after the decision had already been made.

There was virtually no debate on the library’s future at the council meeting, all had been decided behind closed doors beforehand.

This fig leaf of consultation does not conceal the fact that library users and local citizens have been treated with contempt by their elected representatives, and in any case only offered an email address to respond to.

Those of us who care deeply about this matter will be writing to their councillors direct.

MARTHA PERRIAM

Upper Church Road, Weston

Bulldozers

I SUGGEST that all the planners be put inside the Tropicana, and if they can’t sort the problem out, bring in the bulldozers and bury the lot of them.

BOB ELLIOTT

Weston Road, Edingworth

Very active

IN RESPONSE to the letter in the March 24 issue, I would question the lady who stated “there is nothing for seniors to do here”.

Has she heard of U3A (University of the Third Age) which has a very active membership in Weston?

There are more than 60 different groups covering interests as diverse as creative writing, French poetry, singing for pleasure, walking and many more.

There is a Scrabble group too as she mentioned, but if there isn’t a group for your favoured interest, such as bridge, then you can start one.

If you want to join U3A go to the Quaker Meeting House opposite T J Hughes any Tuesday morning.

If you’re active, there’s a 50+ group at the leisure centre, which will cost you �3 per annum to join.

We play badminton, short tennis, table tennis as well as an aerobics and yoga session are available.

In Weston we’re really lucky to have the Playhouse theatre.

If you’re interested you can become a ‘Friend of the Playhouse’ whereby you can support the running of the theatre by giving a little of your spare time meeting and greeting the patrons, collecting tickets or selling programmes.

The Friends meet for coffee mornings and go on occasional trips.

There are some excellent charitable organisations i.e. Lions International, who do excellent work helping local people, and are always happy to welcome new members.

Yes, there are many charity shops in Weston but, instead of complaining about lack of things to do, why not try volunteering in one of these shops?

You might actually find it very enjoyable.

There’s also Weston College, if you feel like taking an evening class.

I moved to Weston only 15 months ago from South Gloucestershire.

In this relatively short time I have joined all the groups mentioned and met lots of friendly people, making many new friends.

I therefore would recommend Weston as somewhere to live, both for younger people and the ‘older generation’.

I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

JUDITH COOMBS

Thorndale Close, Milton

Cow catcher

REGARDING the man with his leg trapped on Birnbeck rocks.

If David Jeffery had read his Midweek he would have seen actually eight fire appliances were present with the fire hovercraft on standby. I believe three fire appliances including turntable ladder came from Temple Fire Station, Bristol.

I agree with his remarks on people walking out to sea on mud. I cannot understand why the rangers do nothing to stop them.

As Mr Courtney mentions the Grand Pier land train is brilliant. I believe only the “Silver Arrow” loco is here so far. If the second engine is of the same design, which is an American engine with cow catcher and brass bell, surely they can’t call it “The Golden Arrow” which is purely English I think “Santa Fe” would be a more appropriate name!

BRIAN KINSEY

Greenwood Road, Worle

Would use it

IN THE 50s and 60s, when I was a young girl, my friends and I used to spend the day at Weston Pool at least three or four times a week in the summer. This is how it could be again at Weston Pool.

People would use it. It would be full, and it would pay for itself in a very short space of time.

All you need is a large expanse of water so everyone can enjoy themselves in their own way.

We used to sit for ages under the famous fountain, then a spot of sunbathing and back in the water to cool off.

A retractable roof would be a good idea, but failing that the water could be heated. I suspect children and adults would still use it even if it wasn’t.

This cost just over �50,000 to construct a ‘while ago’!

Is there really so much that needs to be done at the ridiculous costs one is talking about today? I don’t think so.

Come on, let’s have a new pool. I may decide to move back to my home town again!

ANN BAXTER

High Street, Nailsea

Being prepared

THE article in the Mercury covering the Save the Library meeting at Blakehay on the March 18 did not reflect the full state of affairs.

The first question raised asked: “Why are there no plans for the proposed works on the Town Hall?” Indeed it must be queried as to how any company can submit a tender without plans, specifications and quantities. The councillor representing the council replied that “the contract was being done under a Framework Agreement”, as though this covered everything. However this was not reported in the article.

The answer that should have been given is that in fact there have so far been no plans drawn up; plans are only now being prepared - probably by the Framework and its one contractor, and/or the council staff - somewhat late in the day in view of the fact that the contractor now knows that one way or another he is going to be awarded the work. A nice position to be in.

As I did not consider that the reply was satisfactory, I asked the councillor if he knew exactly what a Framework Agreement was and if so, if he would explain it to the gathering.

He appeared to be unable to do this, but replied “I will meet you and have it explained”.

This seems to have been an easy way to cut any further public discussion on a delicate and potentially controversial subject, although I did try briefly to give an overview of Frameworks to those present.

This raises the first very concerning question. How many of the councillors who voted on March 15 at the full council meeting to approve the contract with Willmott Dixon, knew what a Framework was, and understood what they were voting for?

Even more concerning is that the councillor promoting the whole process was unable to clarify what a Framework is.

The fact is that a Framework is like a club and creates a method of pre-qualification which excludes all those not in the club.

The big disadvantage of this is that small and medium companies are largely excluded. Yet the present Government purports to be promoting small and medium businesses. Perhaps they have not made their local party members aware of this yet.

The one advantage of using Frameworks is that contracts over �100,000 do not have to be published for tender in the EU Journal – I am in full agreement with this aspect of the application of Frameworks.

Usually Frameworks include several contractors within the Framework.

Thus a client can put a project out to tender within the “Framework” and still obtain a competitive quote. (Not totally satisfactory, but it does conform to tender and competitiveness requirements).

Alternatively, a client can approach several “Frameworks” to seek a quotation.

Both of these approaches would provide competition. However, in the case of the Town Hall contract, neither of these options has been followed.

In this particular case, the much vaunted Scape National Framework has only one contractor on its list of available contractors. (On the other hand The North West Construction Hub, East Sussex, and many others have at least three or more contractors included in their Frameworks).

Thus, one must ask: How is this tender? The follow-on to this question is: “Where is the competition? North Somerset’s own procurement rules require competition and open tendering.

There is a considerable amount of information available on Frameworks and the OGC, who approve and oversee the use of Frameworks.

A noteworthy fact is that 27 per cent of a sample of 32 councils surveyed by the Construction Line (a Government Quango which promotes pre-qualification lists) are of the view that scrapping the use of Frameworks “will help to secure lower bids”.

The use of Frameworks is being challenged in North Wales, whilst a Framework contract was put aside by a judge in Northern Ireland for misuse of this procedure.

Do we have another instance of misuse here?

DERRICK I PRICE

Landemann Circus, Weston

Sunday walk

MY SPECIAL thanks to the Grand Pier for providing the venue and hospitality for the recent launch of The Sunday Walk Along The Prom in aid of the British Heart Foundation on October 9.

A special thanks to Liz Lewis (marketing manager) Grand Pier, town mayor (Councillor Phillip Judd ), chairman of North Somerset Council (Councillor Ann Harley), Ursula James (tourism and events manager North Somerset Council), Alison Tanner (Team Leader) GKN Aerospace, David Urch (director) Cheddar Water Ltd., Caroline Welch (admin/marketing Weston General Hospital) for all attending the launch.

If you want to sign up for the four mile walk from Weston Hospital to the Grand Pier with the Jayne Elizabeth Stage School cheerleaders adding to the atmosphere please contact the South Volunteer Fund-raising Team on 01892 893918 (email south@bhf.org.uk)

PAUL HOBBS

Event organiser

Canberra Road, Weston

Wonderful

WHY can’t local residents of Worle Rec see the benefit in having a funfair at their local park? I drove past thinking what a wonderful surprise.

With reference to your article in last week’s paper ‘Anger over funfairs surprise park arrival’, it is giving local youngsters somewhere to go with their friends at the weekend.

What is so wrong in listening to the noise of laughter and joy for one weekend?

North Somerset Council should be applauded for getting an attraction arranged so quickly.

Apart from the youth cafe, there aren’t many places for teenagers to go in our town. What would be preferred: teenagers getting drunk in the park: anti-social behaviour or having a funfair to keep them occupied, keeping them out of mischief?

Hilary Thorne (who was pictured) shouldn’t have gone to your reporters because what should have been a ‘surprise’ for the locals will have attracted more visitors, therefore adding to the ‘noise’ which she and fellow residents didn’t want.

Future projects could also be in jeopardy because North Somerset Council will now question whether to install similar attractions within our town in future - cheers!

MARINA TURNER

Townshend Road, Weston

Spoilt for choice

I COULD not believe my eyes when reading Opinion on Friday March 25 (Sylvia Thompson’s letter).

She says there is nothing for seniors to do here in Weston.

I had spent the morning at Worle Community Centre Friday Market and while having a cup of tea with three other seniors we had all agreed that we were spoilt for choice in our activities.

There are many groups in Worle Community Centre.

But hasn’t Ms Thompson ever heard of the U3A?

A wonderful organisation with more than 70 groups.

If you want to know more enquire at the library.

What about voluntary work. I have been a member of the League of Friends at Weston Hospital for about 16 years. A great way to meet people.

No-one need be lonely living here. Having lived most of my life in West London I know where I’d rather be – Weston with its beautiful coastline, bracing sea air and friendly people.

MRS M WHITTAKER

Drysdale Close, Milton

Merry-go-round

RE: MERRY-GO-ROUNDS of rubbish: There are eight of them.

I can’t see how this rubbish collection works.

I’m in a close and there have been eight collection vans on Fridays and still bags and green bins, plus a grey bag, left around.

All left too in the pick up area to be collected.

And now we get fly tippers.

DIANA GULLICK

Wynter Close, Worle

DOESN’T Pier Square look great? People feel unsafe walking and letting go of their children.

The area is awash with rubbish (as is most of the town) and this lot was there for more than an hour and a half. Who is responsible? The council or the shop owner who has taken over the public seating. Doesn’t look good which ever way you look at it. And then we hear of the local businesses being harassed to arrange a party day for “The” wedding by a local councillor who should find better things to do and the bowler hat is old hat by the way.

BOB PAYNTER

Manilla Crescent, Weston

I AM really sorry to read your report that the council has withdrawn its support to those who play croquet in Clarence Park.

The Weston-super-Mare Croquet Club is thriving and has three full size croquet lawns in lovely surroundings opposite the village shop and caf� in Bleadon.

Those who have been denied their sport in Clarence will be given a very warm welcome by members in Bleadon, as will anyone else who would like to join us and enjoy playing croquet.

DOUG NORFOLK

Vice chairman, Weston-super-Mare Croquet Club

Bleadon Mill, Bleadon

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 Mrs C M Searle and Leighton Smart.

For a full list of councillors standing in the North Somerset Council election turn to page 12 and for those standing for town and parish councils go to the website www.westonmercury.co.uk

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