Letters to the Editor, February 12, 2015

letters

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FIRSTLY, why not rename your paper Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury “with Mike Bell’s views”.

Secondly, and perhaps on a more serious note, following the article in last week’s edition about the loss-making carnival would the Mercury consider campaigning for bigger donations from onlookers. If each adult contributed £4 and each child £2 then the increased takings would lead to substantially more money going to charity.

Our carnival is the best in the world and a truly fantastic spectacle. The Mercury could make a real difference with an effective campaign. Are you up for it?

Can’t wait for next week’s edition to see which of my suggestions provokes the biggest response. I’m pretty sure Mike Bell will agree with my second idea.

PETER WHITMARSH


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Pendlesham Gardens, Weston

I’VE noticed over the past few weeks that the Mercury prints a lot of letters from candidates of North Somerset First.

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Why does the paper seem to favour this particular party rather than others? I thought the press was supposed to be neutral.

GEOFFREY MARSDEN

Drove Road, Weston

EDITOR’S NOTE:

While some parties, councillors or candidates are undoubtedly more keen and willing to engage with this paper and its readers than others, genuine scrutiny of our opinion pages will reveal that in recent weeks we have featured letters from representatives not only of North Somerset First, but also the Conservative Party, Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP.

The Mercury’s letters pages remain an open platform, and we welcome contributions from all readers, irrespective of their political allegiance; our judgement on whether to publish each submission is made on the local relevance of the issues covered, rather than the author’s political loyalties.

DESTROY North Somerset. Get rid of Clevedon and Portishead and so set Weston Free. What a marvellous idea.

We in the north of the district would love to be free from the cloying and overbearing influence of Weston but sadly we have to live in the real world.

In 1950 there was in Whitehall a blueprint to create the Metropolitan District of Bristol which would extend along the railway corridor from Weston to Bath. The idea still remains and its implementation is supported and grows ever nearer by the fact that we live in a world where only big and bigger units of local government are acceptable, both in Westminster and Brussels; to be small is to disappear and if the north of the district is swallowed up by Greater Bristol, Weston will quickly follow as it will be too small an authority to stand alone.

Sharing a little historical knowledge is always useful and when in 1974 the district council was created, its HQ was in the Town Hall at Weston, every ‘taken over’ local council had to hand over all of is assets – houses, offices, yards, parks, playing fields, money and land – to the new council which promptly sold a great number of them and pocketed the money. A considerable sum, many thousands of pounds then, probably millions now. Sadly little of that wealth has re-appeared north of the Banwell River.

Weston and its surrounding area have at present 29 members on the district council, a large, significant, domineering and cohesive group, virtually all of one party, who wield enormous influence in the council as no major decision can be taken by North Somerset Council without the agreement and consent of the majority of the Weston members. All of the major parties are based in the area and it could be fair to say that Weston members rule North Somerset. Believe me it is true, I’ve been on the council long enough to know.

The tragedy for Weston concerning local government is that the town council, which Ken Lacey and I fought long and hard to create, is still dominated by the attitude and presence of the major political group that formed the Charter Trustees, who in their time bitterly opposed the formation of a town council because they were afraid that they would lose their power to run Weston town affairs as they did under the auspices of Woodspring District Council.

To the residents of Weston I would simply say this, please don’t keep on grumbling about what is happening to your Weston as nothing will change until you stop electing people whose major interest and loyalty is to the district council which pays them.

At the next Town Council election think very hard and do something, such as only voting for people whose sole interest is in the welfare of your town. People who will fight for its future and then you can create a Weston-super-Mare that all of us can be proud of.

Greater Bristol is a continuous threat to our present freedoms and only constant vigilance will stop the whole of North Somerset becoming part of it. To me that would be an unmitigated disaster. So I would respectfully say to anyone who thinks that being a part of Bristol is best, be very careful as to what you wish for, for if it happens, Weston will never have any say in its future as it will have insufficient representation on any new body for its opinions to count.

DAVID W SHOPLAND

North Somerset Councillor

Old Street, Clevedon

I WAS taught long ago not to get over-excited about things I could do nothing about, so I suppose I’ll have to accept the loss of the Winter Gardens as part of the price of progress – as long as they don’t try putting a car park on the gardens of course.

If the college is going to transform the site into a law centre as stated I wonder if, as a concession to residents, there could be a debating chamber? It’s just that the chance to have a democratic debate with anyone in charge around here would be an interesting novelty.

There might also be one of those ‘mock parliaments’ that used to be so popular and which have now been taken over by Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesdays.

By the way – I understand it is still possible to join organisations in Weston without the need to slag off fellow members on the internet. I’m not sure everyone around here knows that. Living in a computer free house is so relaxing – honestly.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

I HAVE written to the newsdesk about our dear council many times, but, I have to stop for a while after this letter, as I think that it may prove to be injurious to my health.

I was very annoyed by the giving away of the Winter Gardens, but consoled myself by the thought that the bottom of the barrel had been reached, and even our council could not possibly find other depths to explore but no, the council has come up with another of its gems.

The Tropicana has long been deteriorating and waiting for it to be put on sale by caring council, alas, it is not to be. Why the council cannot rent it out and indeed sell it, is a mystery to me, and I am sure others, as it could produce a good return for the hard done to taxpayers.

Instead, I suspect that another Winter Gardens and council fiasco that will cost the ratepayers is just around the corner.

COLIN HUNT

Ringwood Grove, Weston

IN ADDITION to comments by C J Peverelle, Bournemouth’s University is, in fact, in Poole and some four to five miles from the coast.

Having lived in Poole for five years during the last decade I viewed the success of Poole and Bournemouth to its geographical position; easy access to London, where higher salaries are achievable and the profusion of colleges teaching English as a foreign language.

There is a busy student night life in Bournemouth which seems to be targeted at the foreign visitors. Couple that with the fact that both Bournemouth and Poole have vibrant unitary councils working only for the businesses and residents of their respective towns you have pretty well an ideal situation. Shame they were not socialist.

Weston is the jewel in North Somerset’s crown. If Weston is healthy and vibrant, the spin off can only be good for North Somerset.

So, let’s make Weston healthy by keeping and improving its crown jewels. It is in the interests of the present and future, generations.

ROGER BABER Prospective council candidate for the Labour Party, district council

Dormeads View, Weston

THERE are two contradictory reports abut the future of the Weston Tourist Information Centre now that the present site in the Winter Gardens has been sold.

North Somerset Council is considering situating the centre in the newly-revamped Tropicana but only using computerised information.

The other report is that the council events team will also be housed in the Tropicana and if so it is not rocket science to expect a member of this team to assist in the new information centre.

The trouble with office staff is that they are so computer orientated that they forget that there are many visitors who prefer face to face assistance and do not understand the digital world.

It would also do no harm for members of the events team to meet those they are planning to help.

There is good news, however, in that the main post office may well be saved, albeit in other premises close to the present premises.

Maybe North Somerset Council can take a leaf out of their book by ensuring that the new information centre will serve all visitors, not just those who understand faceless machines.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

I AM both horrified and disturbed by the current state of planning legislation in North Somerset.

It seems that due to a challenge to the planning core strategy the flood gates have opened for avaricious developers everywhere to make ludicrous planning applications which threaten the very nature of village life and our green and pleasant land.

Proposals appear to be thrust forward with scant regard for the countryside, wildlife, infrastructure, water and sewage and traffic issues to name just a few. Some of these applications are actually outside the village settlement boundary as is the case in Congresbury. This will be the thin end of the wedge and it could be that before long we will find ourselves living in soulless new towns with no community spirit or sense of belonging or neighbourliness.

There are, of course, many aspects of ‘progress’ which we are forced to embrace simply because things do change for the better at times even if we fail to see it at that moment.

It really is not reasonable, however, to desecrate a meadow for the sake of a greedy developer with no interest whatsoever in our village life. We must act to preserve these green areas or why do we even have village boundaries in the first place?

I make no apologies for being an old fashioned romantic, if you like, who enjoys nothing more than afternoon tea in a peaceful garden, whose heart is gladdened by humming bees, the sight of a fox or rabbit, cottage gardens and open fields. It is, after all why I live in the country. I make no apologies for my ‘we’ll fight them on the beaches’ attitude towards this situation and I would urge all those with similar feelings to make objections to these preposterous plans to desecrate the villages which make up our beautiful county.

I particularly refer to the proposal at the rear of Venus Street, Congresbury (reference number 15/P/0109/F). If you feel as I do I suggest that you send an objection letter to North Somerset council about this or any other plan to spoil our countryside forever.

ANITA TONKS

Venus Street, Congresbury

I AM writing with reference to the unsightly, big signs advertising Puxton Park, the butchery, ‘selling hay’ and other signs along the A370 carriageway (The Gateway to Weston).

I was always led to believe any signs like this need planning permission?

If the private business owner has received planning permission for this, than I can only say by granting this, the council will turn the reputation of Weston into a tatty and rundown town. Is this to be the first impression a visitor receives when entering Weston?

Where would we end up if every business owner will stage his own marketing campaign with signs like this?

Having given my opinion I look forward hopefully to the removal of these unsightly signs.

HEIDI MUELLER-JACOBS

Yarbury Way, West Wick

I WAS extremely grateful to be passed an article from the Weston regarding ‘Bag and bin your dog waste’.

This issue on dog owners leaving their dog faeces is something which I am disgusted with on the Bournville Estate where my husband and I reside with our two little dogs. I have in the last couple of weeks been in contact with Bob Davis the environmental protection officer, at North Somerset Council, by email and letter on this matter.

I provided clear photographs which were of sickening findings. He has replied on each occasion.

I realise without public help supplying information regarding offenders this is virtually an impossible task to undertake to catch these offenders.

Areas around the estate have again recently been sprayed this time with a red substance depicting where dog faeces has been left; one area has a dog waste bin right by where these offences have taken place so bins aren’t always the answer.

Not only is this offensive to look at but a health hazard which could easily turn into something more serious with toxocariasis.

Children walking to school and stepping in this mess resulting in it being carried into school on their shoes.

It is obvious with the amount of dog faeces left on our streets/walkways and grass areas some dog owners think they are exempt from the penalty attached to this offence.

It would be good news to read more bins are affordable and to be emptied together with a firmer approach to combat this filthy mess.

Thank you for reporting this article; let’s hope eventually our streets will be more pleasurable to walk.

RITA KAYE

Tennyson Road, Bournville

CONSIDERING what is happening in the Burlington Street and Meadow Villas areas, I would like to nominate Weston-super-Mare the unpicked up dog mess capital of the world.

M RICKETTS

Meadow Villas, Weston

BUS route 3/103 Worle to Searle Crescent: Can anyone inform me why the council has decided to add an extra bus company (Crossville) to this route?

First bus reduce the times out of season because of reduced passengers to every 20 minutes.

Now suddenly we have two buses travelling almost in tandem at times carrying only a handful of passengers each.

It might be to passenger’s advantage if the service were at 10 minute intervals if it is deemed necessary to have two companies running buses on the same route.

What will happen in the season when First bus revert back to every 15 minutes?

Surely there must be an area not covered that needs a new bus route.

R S DAVEY

Coleridge Road, Weston

A WHILE ago I fell ill, not badly, just enough to make life difficult.

Walking, getting to the shops and other simple tasks have become difficult or sometimes impossible.

I have been in awe of the way people have offered support and kindness, not just friends but people I don’t even know.

I know I am exceedingly lucky to have people around me that I can call on for help but I wanted to share an insight with your readers who know someone in a similar position. I am a stubborn foolhardy person who values her independence and so to call on people for help is exceedingly hard. Especially if the help required is very minor.

If you know someone ill, infirm, elderly or incapacitated or is even just very busy offer them positive proactive help. Instead of just saying ‘call if you need me’, which is no doubt genuine, try saying ‘I’m in the supermarket, do you need any milk?’ or ‘I’m heading into town do you need me to pick up a prescription for you?’ By offering help in this type of way us stupidly foolish people who really would appreciate your

help, don’t feel as if we are inconveniencing you in quite the same way.

Little things can make a huge difference. So if you know someone who is their own worst enemy, and you want to help but don’t know how. Try a slightly different approach and it may well pay dividends - for both of you.

Kind regards, and thanks to everyone for their support.

EMMA ROBERTS

Milton Brow, Weston

IT IS gratifying to know that the spirit of kindness and goodwill is still alive in Weston today.

I had a very heavy fall near the Odeon cinema last Thursday afternoon.

I was bleeding profusely from my nose and face but two young people and an older man came to my rescue.

An assortment of towels, tissues, etc, was soon with me (I assume they were probably borrowed from the charity shop opposite) and I was mopped up and the ambulance soon arrived and took me to hospital.

The anonymous helpers, the ambulance crew, the hospital staff and the Red Cross all did their jobs magnificently.

Thank you everyone who helped me in a nasty situation, that could have been a lot worse but for their assistance.

JEREMY NORTON

Nithsdale Road, Weston

WE WERE the lucky winners of family tickets to see the Frozen Sing-A-Long at the Playhouse on Sunday evening and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to the Weston Mercury for these tickets.

Myself and my husband took my four-year-old daughter Sophie and her best friend, Olivia, and they had a fantastic time.

The girls are massive fans of Frozen so it was just perfect for them and we all thoroughly enjoyed the show. Thank you again.

LOUISE BURT

Bransby Way, Locking Castle

THE Cancer Research Race For Life this year is on a Wednesday night (July 8). What?

What a joke. Mothers who can’t find a babysitter or are at work, for some the only time they can work. Husbands still at work so can’t support their wives. The list is endless.

When an enquiry was made, as to why we, and only us in the area, have been given a midweek evening time the explanations were as follows.

‘Our feedback shows participants do find the event on the beach hard work.’

Well, everybody I have spoken to says, they would prefer the beach ie less stress on the joints.

‘Too many pedestrians on the prom in summer.’

Well the council manages to close the beach/prom/lawns for many reasons most years.

‘Jam-packed calendar for beach throughout summer.’

Is Race For Life not important enough? This has never been a problem in the past.

‘Tide times?’ Looking at the tides it is only a matter of moving start and finish times.

‘Weather is changeable all year round in Weston, more settled in summer.’

Really? Which is it? Changeable all year round, or settled in summer?

‘Perhaps a weekend fundraiser in the pub before or after the event.’

Exactly the point. That is what we and many others do, on the day.

In 2013 The Waverley Wags raised over £4k. Last year over £3k, this year most have said they can’t do it or won’t because of the loss of atmosphere on the day.

BOB PAYNTER

Moorland Road, Weston

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