Letters to the editor, February 23, 2012

WELL done to all involved with the Brean Panto put on by the Coastline Players. It was very good, I really enjoyed it.

STEVEN HARRISON

Manilla Crescent, Weston

I NEVER thought I’d see the day when I would be congratulating my political opponents.

Your article ‘Tory dives in the deep end in debate over water park fee’ has brought this about for me.


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Firstly I congratulate the Liberal Democrats for supporting my scheme for season tickets at reduced prices to be given to Westonians to enter the water park and the museum. My idea was accepted by the Weston Town Council’s policy and finance committee shortly after I was elected as a town councillor in 2011.

Secondly my congratulations to Tory town councillor Clive Darke for being so truthful about the so-called ‘Caring Conservatives’ which he corrected by his ‘uncaring’ attitude to the less fortunate people of Weston.

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TONY PROBERT

Labour councillor Weston Town Council

South Lawn, Locking

I THINK the decline of the shopping centre in Weston began when drivers were banned from driving through the town.

It’s scary to see the amount of shops closing down and I wonder if any of the owners have been asked when this decline started?

If it ties in with when the roads were closed to traffic then maybe it’s time for a rethink?

I can remember when I used to drive up Regent Street towards the pier, past the High Street and the pubs and arcades. It was normal to associate myself with the town centre and I felt familiar with the shops and pubs. Now it’s just somewhere I used to go.

I can remember driving up the High Street past all the bus stops and looking in the shop windows at the sale signs. This is a thing of the past now.

I used to know when a new shop opened, or closed, or when a new bar needed checking out. But now that I don’t drive past these events, I don’t know they are happening.

I used to be able to drop people off outside shops in the centre and then pick them up later. Now they need to walk to the edge of town.

Perhaps I sound lazy, and like I should walk more, but I think I am just too busy to browse unfamiliar streets for shops that may not be there when I arrive.

I would like to see the roads opened up again and some more on-street parking made available, with a meter would be fine if the council needs the revenue, but let me back in, and then I will go to the shops more, because I will see what shops are there for me to go to.

BEV HALE

Shaftesbury Road, Weston

Quite good

COULD B Crofton (letters, February 16) please tell me who their vet is?

A bill of �60 or �70 would be quite good.

A friend of mine recently took her dog to a vet in Weston. The dog was under the weather and, as it is an older dog, my friend wanted her checked out. The result was a blood test, an anti-inflammatory shot, some antibiotics and a small bottle of anti-inflammatory liquid.

The vet had no idea exactly what was wrong with the dog, but my friend was presented with a bill for �180.

This is absolutely disgraceful and cannot in any way be justified, apart from blatant profiteering.

It is not widely known that a private prescription can be asked for, so that medication can be obtained from the internet at a vastly reduced price.

At one time, a private prescription was about �10 but as vets realised that the public were becoming wise to their gross charges, most vets have now tripled or quadrupled their charge for a private prescription.

I have recently heard that many more dogs are being dumped at rescue centres. A lot of these dogs are sick, but owners are unable to pay the disgusting veterinary charges.

Someone I know of had a young dog that broke its leg.

After being quoted in excess of �2,000 for treating the dog, the owner decided to have the dog put to sleep and they’d buy another one. It would be cheaper in the long run.

What a dreadful reflection on what is supposed to be a caring profession, not a money-making one.

TERRI BORASH

Maysgreen Lane, Hewish

Evidence

IN YOUR recent article ‘Taxpayers pay for people’ you quote the leader of North Somerset Council as saying: “The amount you pay makes no difference to the quality of care”.

Can I ask exactly what and whose evidence he relies on to make such a statement? Regretfully my own experience and research of others show the quality of care varies enormously from one establishment to another within North Somerset Council area, very often to the great detriment of very vulnerable people. We have had cases of wilful neglect (successfully prosecuted in crown court) and malnutrition to name just two.

The website www.compassionincare.com is a revelation and perhaps Cllr Ashton should read it. Is this really the consistent ‘quality’ of care Mr Ashton refers to?

PAUL DOOLAN

Chestnut Close, Congresbury

Apalling

FOUR million pounds to be cut from the adult services budget and �1.7million from youth services, that is appalling.

These cuts affect Weston disproportionately. Our town has many problems from which the affluent areas in Greater Bristol on the northern fringe of the district do not suffer. And it is those wealthy areas within Greater Bristol which are represented by council leader Nigel Ashton and Jeremy Blatchford, the councillor in charge of children’s services.

Millions of pounds can always be found for pet projects like refurbishing the town hall, again, to make room for the library, and moving council work from Weston to Clevedon, but anything for the benefit of Weston people, such as keeping Poppyfields open, there is never any money.

Weston suffers from the structure of North Somerset as a unitary authority. Weston has one of the most deprived areas in the country. That is Weston’s Central Ward, where life expectancy is seven years less than it is in the part of North Somerset which comes within Greater Bristol.

The Government in London looks at North Somerset as a whole when it allocates the money which the district council of North Somerset can spend (council tax makes up only a small part of that). It sees a comparatively wealthy council. What it does not do is look at need within North Somerset. It relies upon North Somerset Council to do that.

If Weston was separated from those parts of North Somerset which lie within Greater Bristol, the needs of the town would become more evident to Central Government and adequate funding for the social provision that Weston requires to deal with the problems of its deprived areas, health inequality, the funding of its youth service, the funding of help for vulnerable adults, and the needs its elderly population (particularly high in Weston) would be forthcoming directly from Whitehall without having to get over the North Somerset Council hurdle.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

Surprised

I WRITE in response to the item ‘Patients forced to seek medical advice elsewhere’ in the Mercury on February 16, 2012.

I am the patient representative for Weston GP Healthcare Centre and was surprised to read the NHS North Somerset spokesman stated they are supporting everyone currently registered with the GP-led centre to register with another practice by giving them a list of local options and by helping facilitate that move.

This is not true. The first our patients knew of the possible closure was the publication in the Mercury and no-one from the NHS has made any contact with the patients at this time.

With all the changes that are happening within the NHS surely we need to have some stability within our practices.

There are two practices in the same area that are moving out to Locking Road. This surely leaves an opening for a small surgery to mop up the elderly, disabled, also drug and alcoholic patients, people of no fixed abode and other groups that will struggle to get to Locking Road when they move.

The Boulevard is a purpose-built building for a general practice. It is criminal that it be closed for this purpose and replaced with what can be only described as another tick box exercise for Public Health and the PCT (Primary Care Trust).

To say that Public Health have engaged well with the local community is ridiculous when The Health Shop is only open to the public two hours per day. This is not what I call open access.

All we ask for in Weston is good patient care. It is just a shame that when we have it we then decide to remove it for something else

MRS B PORTER

Uphill Road South, Uphill

Would be ideal

RE LETTER from Sarah Thorne in the Mercury on February 16 is an excellent suggestion, to have a new indoor pool complex somewhere in the town.

It would need a large site. Would she consider having the town hall demolished? The site would be ideal.

FREDERICK PARSONS

The Old House, Wick St Lawrence

Highly admired

HAVING just spent 11 days in hospital in Weston and Bristol I just had to write and say that having read various adverse reports in the general press about the state of the National Health Service that from my personal experience these reports cannot be completely believed.

From the time I was admitted as an emergency until the time I was discharged I had only the very highest standard of care and attention.

The hospital staff and doctors give their complete attention to all their patients.

All I found was complete support. I was looked after with regular checkups for blood pressure, blood sugar levels, temperature, etc.

All the nurses looked after the people in their care constantly and I saw that they ensured that they either used new gloves or cleaned their hands after each action and everyone was pleasant and anxious to give comfort and have to be highly admired.

The cleaning staff appeared to be continually cleaning all the surfaces, floors and all nooks and corners.

The food was of the highest standard even though you had to place your orders 24 hours in advance and no-one could complain about the menu and the selection offered.

Rest assured if anyone has the misfortune to have to go into our local hospitals, I am sure they will be well looked after.

For myself I can only thank each and every one from Kewstoke and East Harptree wards and the staff in Bristol for looking after me so well and as long as we have NHS staff as good as these may our health service continue as it is.

LAURENCE F ORME

Shrubbery Avenue, Weston

So it went on

WHAT a fiasco. I went to the planning committee at the Town Hall.

It started at 6pm on time apart from one councillor arriving late, so far so good.

After formalities one councillor had a residential meeting so had to go early.

Then somebody else had to leave early for something else and so it went on.

Eventually the meeting got under way, the first on the agenda was somebody wanted to extend their front window. I still don’t know whether it got passed or not.

Then the highlight of the evening was the subject of the ill-fated Tropicana.

After it was agreed that anybody in the public gallery could speak several people did and then it all went out of the window. Amendments here for this and amendments relating to something else.

In the end it was suggested they took a vote. Not sure why or what for but with some encouragement from Councillor Elfan Ap Rees all his side put their hands up and the motion was carried in their favour.

I think they want us, the rate payers, to pay to have it pulled down but surely if somebody is willing to spend a lot of time and money in making the site something for Weston to be proud of, for crying out loud let him do it, it’s his money and not mine.

If somebody wanted to put a building on my land and make some money and improve the value of my property I would welcome him with open arms. Oh, I forgot, he would have to get past the committee first.

I wonder how many of them live in Weston and so what real interest do they have in Weston?

Years ago when my mother was on the Weston Town Council with the likes of Mr Haskins and Mr Couch to name two, they were all business people with one thing in common, putting the super into Weston for the people of Weston and so their businesses would also flourish.

So come on you lot see a bit of common sense and let the guy have a go.

If you say it has to come down let him do it with or without a business plan.

If and, I hope not, it all goes pear shape then it won’t be coming out of my pocket and last but not least whoever said that the seafront contractors could put their rubbish in the swimming pool should make them leave it as they found it or clear it themselves.

One last gripe, those microphones. Put them in a position to suit your needs and leave them alone.

Every time anybody spoke they had to touch and reposition it. Why?

CLIVE CARPENTER

Ewart Road, Weston

Exemplary

I TOO was a victim of Richard Webb who burglarised my home in August 2011.

The police response was exemplary with three uniformed officers and three SOCOs attending.

A pinprick of blood was found (I like to think my dog bit him) that resulted in DNA identification. He hailed from Ipswich and was unknown to local police as a criminal.

The police deserve the highest praise for their immediate response and their follow up actions.

Your piece about undercover officers buying stolen goods off him seems odd however. If his arrest predated my burglary the police would obviously have known of him and if it was after his visit to my home then subterfuge was unnecessary as they had him bang to rights with the DNA evidence?

As with his featured victim, my wife and I lost jewellery and irreplaceable pictures from our laptop. A valuable, if painful, lesson about backing up files was learned that day.

PIET HAGENDYK

Address Supplied

We are still here

JUST when we thought there was nothing else that could be done to interfere with our trade, I read that the council has now set the date for the facelift of the south end of High Street starting April.

McLaren Life is funding the work so the council is happy because it is at no cost to it.

What about us? We are still here, trading as normal.

We are all busy getting ready for the start of our season which begins at Easter with plans in hand for events in the square to let folk know it’s business as normal.

The coach trippers will be making their way to Weston, first stop often the market.

Now the main route from the town to us will be a building site as well. Surely this can wait until the rest of the development gets under way in September when it will have the least impact on traders and customers.

We all have our regular customers that travel from near and far, for which we are very grateful and they have continued to support us despite all the obstacles.

The powers that be decided that the area would be redeveloped.

There was nothing that we could do, just a question of when they want to do it, most of which we have found out by reading the Mercury.

We have no compensation or help from anyone.

All I can say is that it’s a good job that the council doesn’t control the daylight or else I’m sure we would be completely in the dark!

We are still trading as normal and will continue to do so despite everything going on around us.

GINA SIMPSON

Tea Cabin,

Covered Market,

Dolphin Square,

Weston

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