Letters to the Editor, August 6, 2015

Letters.

Letters. - Credit: Archant

AT LAST a leading councillor has recognised the issues, regarding lawless Weston. He is correct the thugs and drop outs do not fear the police. I believe the trust in police has gone.

I also recognise the financial restraints they are under and it is a very difficult job, however, it is a job and I never complained to anyone about my work.

I had to get on with it or, if unhappy find another job. The issues of antisocial behaviour, drugs and general disorder are not confined to the Town Centre; however, I understand this is the hangout for most of these people. I come to the Town Centre a couple of times a week, I rarely see a police officer, and when I do they tend to avoid eye contact as if they do they might have to engage.

I believe a root and branch reform is needed. I believe the police are complacent and casual in their approach and the perpetrators know this and exploit it.

Well done John Crockford Hawley, I have never been a fan but you could change my mind!


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Thanks for highlighting the sub criminal nature of Weston, which most people ignore.

D J TINAY

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Dunster Crescent, Weston

I AGREE with Andrew Sutton’s letter on dogs in the Mercury on July 16.

I also had a dog jump up my back and was nearly pushed over, all I got was “it won’t hurt you”.

I live in one of eight houses and we are surrounded by seven dogs. We cannot sit in our garden in peace, we get nothing but barking.

They are a real nuisance and very annoying. We don’t all like dogs, I for one don’t.

MRS M STANLEY

Constable Drive, Worle

I WRITE in response to Robert Payne’s letter in last week’s edition, “tax shame”.

Yes unpaid council tax stands at £11.7m – this figure represents the total owed to North Somerset Council in council tax and costs over many years; the council does not write off debt as a matter of routine and will only do so if there is no realistic prospect of tracing debtors or collecting monies (for example in cases of bankruptcy or the granting of a debt relief order).

This overall arrears figure will also include a number of long-standing payment arrangements, which can be attached to a person’s earnings that, by design, take a number of years to collect the debt – this means we collect the debt rather than writing it off.

The council expects to collect a very high percentage of council tax (97 per cent) in the current year and a further 2 per cent of this year’s over the next three years.

The council has to balance its debt recovery action to ensure that it maximises council tax collection and deals appropriately with those who refuse or delay payment and supports those individuals who are genuinely experiencing financial hardship.

The majority of householders pay their council tax and the council encourages anyone who is struggling to pay theirs to make contact as early as possible to make sure they get appropriate advice and avoid the expense of debt collection costs.

As far as Mr Payne’s comments about the Royal Pier Hotel site are concerned, we have placed a charge on the property and negotiations continue with the owners over their plans for the redevelopment of the site and the payment of the outstanding money to us.

COUNCILLOR DAVID PASLEY

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston

KNIGHTSTONE Island development was subject of very restrictive planning regulations to maintain the Grade II listed buildings and the area of outstanding natural beauty within which Knightstone Island formed part.

Local money was expended on providing a walkway which blended into the development that was being built by Redrow South West Homes. A zip wire paddle board experience attraction has been installed across Marine Lake (Andy Tower constructions used to support it) it’s been installed with little consideration of the local environment.

The construction of the securing wires, has resulted in a very large concrete block being secured to the She Wolf and obstructing the walkway around Knightstone Island. A similar structure has been placed on the promenade on the opposite side of Marine Lake preventing pedestrians from accessing a viewing spot. It appears that no consultation or planning applications/considerations have been carried out

ANTHONY CALLAWAY JONES

Knightstone Beacon, Knightstone Causeway, Weston

READING the comments by E F Franklin regarding the traffic situation in Church Road, Worle, I could not agree more with what he has to say about this.

Like him, I have lived in Church Road for over 45 years, and in that time have seen many changes. Particularly, since the advent of the North Worle estate, the increase in volume of traffic racing through Church Road as a route to Weston, and generally well above the speed limit. Just now, with the massive water works operation at the top of our road, and no through traffic, it has been absolute bliss. Unfortunately, the residents of Balmoral Drive are now experiencing what we have had to put up with for years. However signs have been put there stating ‘residential area, drive carefully’, which has had little effect, and of course should apply when Church Road is reopened. So perhaps one day the council will wake up to the situation here and think about adding some traffic calming measures which a number of our residents have been asking for.

DOUGLAS MITCHELL

Church Road, Worle

I WAS delighted to read on the front page of last week’s Mercury how aging Victorian Birnbeck Pier could be brought back to life if plans put forward by the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust Campaigners who want to build a hotel, a restaurant that sells seafood and Victorian-style rides.

I think this is a wonderful idea to get old Victorian Birnbeck Pier off the ground before it falls into the sea below.

I can vividly recall as a boy growing up in Weston visiting Birnbeck Pier with my parents, when passengers packed the old steamer’s the Waverley, the Balmoral and the Bristol Queen for lovely trips to Devon, Cornwall and Wales across the Bristol Channel.

And how in its hey-day Birnbeck was almost stiflingly packed with humanity. Today sad old Birnbeck Pier stands alone and just deteriorating and falling by the wayside with just distant memories.

One such Victorian style ride I think would be a great attraction and success would be The Water Chute, which provided one of Birnbeck Pier’s biggest thrills. Where patrons climbed the stairway to the top of a high tower and then got in to boats which were released to speed down a steep incline to hit the surface of the pool with a mighty splash. The boats then were hauled back up the incline on a chain. I am sure with some insight we can turn back the clock with some really good ideas for sad looking Birnbeck Pier. I would love to see a roller skating rink and bring back the famous military prize bands. I do hope the piers owner will give the green light and a feasibility study with a full structural survey is carried out and maybe then we may see that light at the end of the tunnel shine through.

D F COURTNEY

Victoria Park, Weston

SURELY the most important part of public passenger transport is the welfare of passengers and the general public yet both our rail and bus operators do not seem to agree.

The fact that the Sunnyside Road entrance to the railway station has been closed has upset many in the town, especially those who are elderly or infirmed. Anybody using the down platform found it so much easier to be dropped off and picked up at this entrance to save walking over the footbridge. Weston contains many elderly passengers and to struggle over the footbridge, especially if they have luggage is not welcome and the same applies to visitors and holidaymakers. Surely First Great Western must reconsider their decision for the welfare of the travelling public.

I am also surprised that First West Country buses have reverted to using Pier Square, especially on the number 7 route. Previously they travelled down High Street South and Oxford Street to reach the seafront and this was a lot safer than creeping through the holidaymakers in the square. I have witnessed several near misses and I just hope and pray that there will not be a serious injury to members of the public, especially children. Why the need to drive through the square, when there is a suitable alternative, I have no idea and I do feel sorry for the drivers who must have their hearts in their mouths. Once again the welfare of the public should come first.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

COULD the North Somerset Council please collect a small amount of the council tax owed to them, just enough to repair approximately two hundred yards of road in Littlefields Avenue. This section of road is in a disgusting state of repair and I suspect that had it been in Locking Village the repairs would have already been attended to.

C S WESTLAKE

Littlefields Avenue, Banwell

THE gift of the pavilion and a part of the Winter Gardens to Weston College will inevitably involve further loss of access to much loved public space, which is sad. Over the years, North Somerset Council has worked assiduously at making the Winter Gardens less attractive and at reducing footfall around the town, beginning with the loss of the rose garden. The council has been determined to off-load the Winter Gardens and they found an opportunity of doing so, at least part of it, by making a gift to the college, supported by an enormous cash donation running into millions.

I find it hard to believe that the college would have chosen this option, without pressure from North Somerset Council. Being on the seafront, it has poor access and there is very little room for expansion, or for students to engage in outdoor physical activity or to park their cars during term-time. A Greenfield site, with room for expansion and recreational facilities, close to the motorway and to Worle Parkway would have been better.

Even in the town, there is a better alternative in the shape of the old police station which has become available to North Somerset Council and is near the railway station. It would be better situated for the college’s law building, but it is a Brownfield site contaminated with asbestos which would have to be removed, and it is not supported by such a huge council donation as the acquisition of the Winter Gardens, using taxpayer’s money via the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Government’s new quango. The Winter Gardens constitute an offer that the college could not refuse.

It is all part of North Somerset Council’s long standing policy of running down the town as a resort and tourist destination and turning it into a dormitory. Some way has to be found of restoring major decisions to Weston before the town is ruined completely.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

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