LETTERS TO THE EDITOR JANUARY 20
I CAN only endorse the criticisms of the council’s waste collection published in the Mercury last week.
For two weeks over the Christmas period the council failed to keep to its own programme for waste collection, with the result that with the high winds over this period, roads in this area were strewn with rubbish from uncollected boxes.
If this was not bad enough, I had to complain to the council about an episode involving its contractors in which rubbish was allowed to fall onto the centre of the road whilst a waste box was being emptied.
No effort was made by the employee to pick up what he had left despite my drawing it to his attention. Both my complaints about this to the council with a request for feedback seem to have fallen on ‘deaf ears’.
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Brean Down Avenue, Weston
AS SOMEONE who drives through Congresbury nearly every day, I find myself in complete agreement with Councillor Tom Leimdorfer (Mercury article ‘Tesco entrance chaos warning’).
With regard to the stretch of road between where Wrington Lane meets the A370 and the bridge at Congresbury, three major mistakes have been made.
Firstly the road has been divided into three lanes (not enough room for three lanes) to accommodate a little-used bus lane. Secondly three lanes are in operation approaching the bridge and across the bridge. The lanes are not wide enough to accommodate three lanes of traffic especially when you consider large articulated lorries. Thirdly, just to compound the problem, the planning department allowed the entrance to Tesco to use the A370, bus lane and all!
I suppose there will have to be a major accident (several accidents have already occurred, one on Saturday) before the council admits it has made a mistake.
Sense of humour
NORTH Somerset Life has a sense of humour. The latest edition’s front cover shows swimmers in a pool but inside it has a brief history on the doomed Tropicana.
Whatever happens we can only do so much finger wagging at the council. Maybe if it could have been maintained and managed properly years ago we might not be where we are today. There were also some ludicrous designs and ideas put forward from so-called developers who ended up having to desert us.
It was 1969 when heating and screening the pool was discussed but it was too costly. That same year it was decided to build new baths at Hutton Moor. Only one councillor voted against it saying it would be suicidal to have the baths located anywhere but on or near the seafront. Another councillor suggested using Knightstone Theatre and having a Lido linked to Marine Lake.
A few years ago our council leader Nigel Ashton briefly announced that he favoured turning the site into an open-air music venue. That idea was just as entertaining. At the time the council owned and operated the Winter Gardens, a venue that was built for the benefit of young and old but can anyone remember when young people were last allowed in there.
But why have the expense and hassle of running a pool or open-air venue when you can simply knock it down and extend the chargeable beach parking?
Demolition comes at a cost and it looks like it will be far more than the cuts that have been announced for youth services. So by turning the Tropicana back to sand the council could also be turning their backs on teenagers and local people.
Hazeldene Road, Weston
READING your Opinion pages last week, I was concerned for the lucidity of some of the contributors.
In ‘Cannot flourish,’ Robert Craig treats us to the latest of his many entreaties for Weston to separate from North Somerset and return to the ancient Winterstoke Hundred.
Perhaps Mr Craig is inspired by Alex Salmond’s proposal for Scottish independence, but his suggestion can only be regarded as just plain dotty.
Regarding the Tropicana, Denise Jacobs tells us in ‘Lucky enough’ that ‘we don’t need a roof straightaway but our pool back with a decent caf� and restaurant overlooking (sic) with daytime and evening access.’
This is the stuff of make believe – who in their right mind would swim there, open air, in the evenings? Besides, the site has lain derelict for 11 years and is thought to have severe structural faults which would be prohibitively expensive to repair.
And then Richard Birtill in ‘As a whole’ puts the doomed case, yet again, for the restoration of the pool.
He is clearly unencumbered by any reference to the facts in his assertion that ‘Henry Boot, Richard Nightingale and others have all put forward schemes, but time and time again they have encountered the prevarication and negative thinking of the council.’ This is pure fantasy.
A small amount of research will show him that all the Tropicana projects – from Mace, to Boot and Nightingale – have foundered through lack of funds or commercial viability, not from council action. He also asserts that ‘quite constantly letters have appeared in the Mercury all expressing the wish and desire for the Tropicana pool to be developed.’
I’m sure that Mr Birtill is genuine in his aim but a few letters in a local paper is hardly an indication of widespread public support in seriously cash-strapped times.
Where is the real proof of this overwhelming majority, other than in his head?
When will folks accept that facts have to be faced? Stand alone, open air swimming pools are no longer commercially viable in the 21st century and retractable roofs are an unaffordable pipe dream.
A few ‘publicity-seeking’ local businessmen have belatedly requested the latest reprieve for the Tropicana but they have offered no concrete development proposals or apparent sources of funds. In a recession, how could they suddenly have answers when so many others have failed in the past?
In the meantime, the Tropicana continues to moulder and decay – a sad eyesore on an otherwise excellent new promenade in our ever-improving town. The time is long overdue for the council to finally end this sorry affair and look to a realistic future not a romanticised, outdated past.
Church Road, Winscombe
AS I drove down the seafront the other day, I was amazed at what was going on. At the first glance of the prom I spotted steel barriers with steel wires being erected on the sea wall.
My first thought was are they making a film Private Ryan 2, all that would be needed was a few barricades on the beach, the landing craft and maybe a helicopter gunship borrowed from Cllr Ap Rees and the scene would be set for the next D-Day landing.
After pulling over and taking a better look, I was horrified.
We have the view blocking first wall, a gap (prom) and the sea wall covered in twisted metal.
Straight away an awful picture entered my head. It looked like the early days of the Berlin Wall.
How and why was this ever allowed to have taken place?
It is hideous. The last little historic piece of a once beautiful seafront has now been altered to fit in the decaying and wounded face of Weston.
Why not go the whole hog and bring in the army to shoot any tourists who manage to clear the wall and scale the razor wire in an attempt to make it to the beach?
Broken buildings, barricades, high wires, helicopters! The jigsaw is starting to piece together.
What next? Mines in the sea, gun turrets, instead of ice cream parlours, nothing would surprise me any more.
St Austell Road, Weston
WHY bother to keep the old cycle stands when you now have more than 350 new ones to choose from along the seafront between Knightstone and the Grand Pier?
I agree with Howard Smith that these new railings are a bad design for this location, completely ruining the overall look as envisaged in the original design. I would like to know who chose them and how many other designs were available at the time. After speaking to some of the men fitting them, they agreed that they were completely ‘over the top’ and railings similar to the ones around Knightstone would have looked better.
It was always in the recommended design brief that railings or raising the parapet wall would be required along this stretch, long before work began. I once read the Environment Agency’s report on the scheme’s proposals and funding clearly stating this, but can no longer find it on the internet. However, this link will take you to an artist’s impression picture courtesy of Birse Coastal that clearly shows the railings in place.http://www.waterprojectsonline.com/case_studies/2008/EA%20Weston%20super%20Mare%20sea%20defence%202008.pdf.
If this is the case why was the decision made, and who made it, not to include the railings or raise the height when the original sea wall was being repaired as it would have been much easier and cheaper to fit brackets in the mortar under the coping stones for the railings to be attached to?
How much has all this cost and who has paid for it as the original scheme was mainly funded by the Environment Agency? By being installed now after the completion of the scheme has it been paid for out of our council tax?
By the way, if you wondered during construction, why the foundations were so big for the secondary splash wall, it was kept very quiet that if sea levels continue to rise at their present rate over the next 23 years the wall will be raised by another metre in height along its entire length. Won’t look so good then will it?
Earlham Grove, Weston