Letters to the Editor, January 7, 2016


Letters - Credit: Archant

IN reply to Brian Austin’s letter in the Mercury about the state of Birnbeck Pier, as far as we know the only people that have been out on the old pier are engineer’s NS members of Birnbeck Regeneration Trust to study the condition of the structure of the site, so this information can be given to Pier Heritage.

If Mr Austin took the time on a Saturday or Sunday he could see for himself about the history of the pier, as in the war it was know as HMS Birnbeck.

Anyone on the pier without permission is breaking the law, as it is private property.

We are open on Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm, weather permitting.


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A pier volunteer

Swallow Gardens, Worle

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ON BEHALF of Birnbeck Regeneration Trust I would like to thank everyone who supported us in our recent Christmas raffle, either by buying or selling tickets. We sold more than 1,100 tickets, which is a great result.

I would like to especially thank Julie and Paul Hatton and The Cut in Milton Road for selling so many tickets.

A special thanks to Darrell’s Butchers, Gardners Fruits, Indigo, Oasis, Tesco and Lidl for supplying the trust with raffle prizes.

However, this would not have been possible without the team of dedicated volunteers who worked extremely hard to make our first Christmas raffle a big success.


Milton Road, Weston

I FEEL I have to comment on Amy Knight’s letter in the Mercury about dog fouling. I am a dog owner, and I fully agree and sympathise with her. I am constantly disgusted by the amount of dog excrement on our footpaths and pavements. Unfortunately a minority of thoughtless dog owners give the majority of us who are responsible dog owners, a very bad name. It is a great pity that these people are never caught in the act.


Spruce Way, Weston

I TOO find the amount of dog excrement left on our paths a disgrace and it shows a total lack of respect for our town and fellow citizens.

However, I find Ms Knight’s remarks equally as offensive. She infers that dog owners are morally degenerate, ‘nasty people’, somehow have less social responsibility and respect, than those who do not have a dog.

Does she not think for one minute that dog owners are equally outraged by the irresponsible actions of a few? In the same way that a responsible motorist is outraged by the drunk or speeding driver. Bad, antisocial dog owners are the problem, not dog owners, she would have more support among the ‘canine community’ that she appears to despise so much, if she were able to make this distinction.


Oakford Avenue, Milton

I WAS rather bemused when I read the Mercury’s report, ‘Iconic Winter Gardens will be safe’, published on December 31. I wondered at first why the Principal of Weston College Dr Paul Phillips was pronouncing on the future of public availability of the Winter Gardens. Then it became clear that the report was not referring to the gardens, but to the pavilion.

It would be helpful if people were to restrict the use of Winter Gardens to the gardens and to use pavilion when they mean the pavilion.


Priory Road, Weston

WITH regards to Amy Knight’s letter on last week’s Opinion page concerning dogs fouling the promenade, I have to disagree with her comments relating to Westonians allowing their dogs to foul this area. Perhaps if she had said some dog owners it wouldn’t have been so bad, but a lot of people come here for day trips and holidays and bring their dogs with them. And to be honest a lot of people who live in Weston have other places in and around Weston to exercise their pets, as most here know most of the summer the beaches are out of bounds.


Oaktree Park, Locking

YET another company has submitted plans to build houses in Congresbury. Now Gladman Homes want to build 50 houses off Wrington Road and of course like every one of these building companies they are only building these houses to quote ‘meet the needs of the area while respecting and enhancing the sites environmental assets’. They don’t mention how the houses would cause more traffic problems especially traffic trying to get to Bristol and no mention of any money towards school or doctors both who are already struggling to cope with the ever growing population of Congresbury. Yet again this building is on prime farming land. This building application has got to be thrown out as just the road access alone is not suitable for more houses.


Chestnut Close, Congresbury

MY husband and I always find Geoff Malham’s letters very interesting and to the point on many issues.

His letter in the December 17 issue has raised a point of tax discs and dishonest drivers who do not even have insurance.

On December 29, around 1.45pm my husband who has a blue badge could not find a parking space in that area. So parked elsewhere in Asda car park.

When he returned to our Toyota Previa silver people carrier the driver and passenger doors were damaged also dented sills and wing.

This is another example of a dishonest and selfish motorist, who did not stop to show particulars.

Yet here we are in the season of ‘good will’. Was this a driver who did not have any tax and insurance?


Elmvale Drive, Hutton

THE Lions Club of Weston-super-Mare would like to thank the customers of Tesco, Station Road, who generously contributed to the Christmas bucket collection raising in excess of £2,000.

All the monies will be distributed to local worthy causes.

Also thanks to the staff at Tesco for their help.

The club is currently preparing for the Tough Ten on February 25.



Uphill Road North, Weston

THE dreadful flooding that has caused such misery in many parts of the UK is a sober reminder of the similar events on the Somerset Levels in winter 2013-14. Then, as now, we were assured by the authorities that such disasters were ‘one in a hundred’, that ‘lessons have been learned’ and ‘appropriate measures will be taken’. But have they? The Government has promised to invest £400million a year on shoring up flood defences over the next six years but official data shows spending was cut sharply at the start of the last parliament, from £360million in 2010-11 to less than £270million in 2012-13. And, at the same time, local authorities like North Somerset Council (NSC) are being increasingly pressurised to build more houses, even on unsuitable sites prone to flooding. During Storm Frank’s heavy rain on December 30, parts of two Winscombe roads - Woodborough Road and Church Road - were awash yet again. Such flooding events have occurred on countless occasions for years, with no solution ever being offered by any agency. Regardless of this, NSC is looking favourably at plans to build up to 185 houses on the old Woodborough Farm site, exactly where there is regular inundation. Even the developer’s agent tells us that ‘Winscombe has problems with surface water drainage including flooding of Woodborough Road and other areas close to the site’ and that ‘foul sewer flooding and foul sewerage capacity are also problems in Winscombe, especially the lower parts of Church Road and Woodborough Road’. As if that wasn’t enough, the same developer has recently applied to build another 24 houses not far away in the village. Yet both these projects clearly lie within an area described on a 2014 NSC map as having ‘surface water issues’. We are told that a number of other development sites in Congresbury, Yatton and beyond are also proposed in low-lying areas with poor drainage. In the face of all the evidence, when is NSC going to listen to residents’ genuine concerns about this serious and potentially costly future issue and stop allowing building on unsuitable land? As the saying goes ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’. After all, have the planners forgotten what happened to King Canute?


Church Road, Winscombe

WHAT a bigoted person you are Amy Knight. I am one of what you call

the canine fraternity and like the great majority of owners who are responsible and pick up after our dogs abhor those that do not (we don’t like it on our shoes either). However where are the 33 council persons that are authorised to issue £75 fines to anyone allowing their dog to foul the pavement, or persons dropping litter etc?

I have never seen one or know of anyone being fined, so no one is frightened of being caught.

Exactly the same as those that drop litter, drink cans, broken glass bottles and soiled nappies, all what Amy Knight conveniently does not see (as you are so anti dog) are not frightened either.

So Amy Knight there are many more ‘nasty’ people that leave behind what is equally abhorrent to us all and like you I say they shame us all.


The Swallows, Locking Castle

IT IS disturbing to read in the Mercury that online crime has more than doubled in the past twelve months and much of this is cyber bullying on Facebook and Twitter.

Physical bullying is bad enough but cyber bullying is much worse because the perpetrators hide behind secrecy and much of it is not even reported as a crime. Young people who use unsocial media are open to so much distress and many have even tried to take their lives.

Fortunately I can live without unsocial media but I wonder what generations, in the future, will make of our society and the way that the dark side of the internet is having such an effect on our young people.

I would like to thank Peter Barrington and J Luxon for answering some of the questions posed in my recent letter about railway electrification. It appears that the third rail is dangerous, so why is it that the Southern Region have operated so successfully for so many years? All this money being spent to knock a few miles off journeys seems to be complete madness but what do I know. J Luxon writes that I should have used my iPad or PC for research. Well I do not have nor will I ever have either as I prefer to deal with people and not machines. Everybody has a right to their opinion but does this make me a sad or bad man?


Clarence Grove Road, Weston

IT made my blood boil to see the photo showing Birnbeck Pier’s north jetty had collapsed into the sea after being battered by Storm Frank in last week’s Weston Mercury.

The writing was clearly on the wall for the Victorian Grad II listed structure when it was taken over by CNM Estates last year. Left to fall into rack and ruin not to mention other developers telling us of big ideas on how they were going to restore and revive the structure. This proved nothing more than hot air and they should stop building residents hopes up and realise action speaks louder than words.

Let’s all put our weight behind Birnbeck Regeneration Trust fighting to save Birnbeck Pier and get the message across, loud and clear, to North Somerset Council and CNM Estates to get their act together and stop going down a blind alley, set the ball rolling and save the pier.


Victoria Park, Weston

I WAS unfortunate enough to have to spend twelve days in hospital. I had to be taken to Intensive Care and the staff and doctors were absolutely brilliant, I can’t praise them enough. After my stay in Intensive Care, I was moved to Berrow Ward, and there again the nurses and doctors couldn’t do enough for me.

Everyone was wonderful, although they work very hard, the care they give you doesn’t slip. I am now recovering at home. A big thank you to everyone.


New Bristol Road, Weston

AS A young(ish!) Westonian I think it’s a real shame that local historians can’t get their facts straight when it comes to Birnbeck Pier and its regeneration plans, as well as having the nerve to say that hardworking trustees and volunteers ‘make up’ information regarding the ongoing campaign.

The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust (BRT) has been around for over 10 years, and treasure the relationship they have with the Friends of the Old Pier. It’s strange that it is not fully understood that The Trust work alongside the Friends and that most BRT trustees and volunteers are also members of the Friends of the Old Pier! Whether you were born and bred here and trod the Birnbeck boards 70 years ago or are new to the area and have an interest in her history should not be discriminated against; All are welcome at Pier View. These plans are not ‘for us’ but for anyone who wants to see her brought back to life; backed up by MP John Penrose and actor Timothy West who’ve recently spoken out about what a valuable asset she is to both our heritage and Weston itself. All ideas are appreciated, as well as anecdotes and information on her history than may well be unknown.

With regards to the piers owners, the point that we’re trying to make is that if the Friends and the Trust were not here to work with them then they would basically have free reign on the future of the Birnbeck Pier site. FOTOPS and BRT have the piers best interests at heart, and our intentions are clear: we want the pier reinstated as a leading South West Victorian amusement and heritage centre and to do this we must work with CNM Estates, not against them.

People are always looking for someone to blame about the state that Birnbeck Pier has gotten into over the last 21 years, but it must be understood (once and for all) that she is in this way because of an accumulation of 50 years’ worth of neglect, and this ‘innate cynicism’ has only fuelled the fire of her rapid decline.

Rest assured, we will not stop until this has been achieved and we won’t be bullied by biased and factually incorrect letters that get published. Those that truly love Birnbeck Pier would not attack those trying to save it, without their own hidden agenda.

Time is running out for our dear 149 year old war-hero, so there is no room for egos or personality clashes. Let’s unite and transform this end of Weston, and embrace a new era of Birnbeck’s history together.


Birnbeck volunteer

Shrubbery Avenue, Weston

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