Letters to the Editor, July 28, 2011

Vulnerable

LAST week’s headline ‘Council taxi bill tops half a million’.

Was this necessary as a front page headline? Placing a negative perception upon a minority and vulnerable group of children with special educational needs or those from vulnerable households?

I would have preferred a more positive headline from your article on page 3 where there is clear evidence and demonstration that the council spent �36,757 less upon refreshments.

Now I wouldn’t want some to think that having a child with special needs that rely upon a taxi to school to feel privileged.


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For those taxpayers who perceive that they personally have ‘shelled out’ there are likely to be more parents of disabled children sadly coming to terms that their son or daughter may not have the capacity to make their own way to school.

HELEN ASH

Most Read

Stroud Way, Weston

EDITOR’S NOTE: If it was only disabled children travelling to school in taxis it would not have made a headline and the bill would have been considerably diminished.

Essential

WHAT hasn’t appeared to have been highlighted in all of the many, supportive letters that have been published concerning the Tropicana is the fact that Weston can never really be considered a seaside resort, in true terms, without our pool because quite simply, owing to tidal constraints and other factors, people can’t/don’t swim in the sea at Weston. A pool is not a nice-to-have but essential.

So please no more daft talk about skateparks and the like.

We have a wonderful sandy beach, a very much improved esplanade with many more improvements in the pipeline but we will never have the finished article until we have our pool on the front.

If ever the opportunity arises again, the council should, within (sensible) reason, give the property developers what they need to make it viable. Don’t let it be plagued by obstructive red tape and petty rules.

Remember the good old adage: “Rules are for the guidance of wise men and for the obeyance of idiots”.

KEN HUNTER

Montpelier, Weston

Reassure

NORTH Somerset councillors told us that they would move the present boulevard library holdings into a ‘bigger and better site’ in the refurbished town hall.

The latest information coming my way is that the actual space in the town hall will be less than that available on the Boulevard ground floor, let alone the reference and local history rooms upstairs. Thereby putting both of the latter at risk.

If my information is correct I will feel that I was lied to and be extremely sad! If it is not correct I would appreciate a reply from an expert (not a councillor or computer-based officer) who can reassure me with some measurements which I would, of course, check later.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

Left to rot

HOW dare Mike Bell suggest that Elfan Ap Rees might have a closed mind when it comes to the Tropicana and should stand down as chairman of the Tropicana working party. That suggestion could stimulate John Carter into writing another letter.

After all, no-one could imagine that Cllr Ap Rees had any part in the ill-starred Mace and Boot proposals, or was responsible, while chasing after such phantoms, for the building being left to rot for the best part of a decade, when it could have been restored as a simple swimming pool for a town which is under-provided with swimming facilities.

ROBERT CRAIG

Preserve Weston’s Legacy Lido

Priory Road, Weston

Improvements

YET again there is to be an attempt to secure Government aid to carry out improvements to Junction 21 where the usual lack of forward planning and future proofing reflects the total lack of life experience obvious in our council’s planning departments.

We see this reflected in other road planning that is now resulting in chaos and the need for remedial roadworks all around the industrial arteries into and out of Weston, to improve traffic flow. I shall not be holding my breath.

And, the Tropicana merry-go-round is back in motion, yet our councillors again appear unable to grasp the concept of ‘ask the people what they want’.

Mr Birtill and Mr Craig certainly have at least some understanding of what has been called for over the 11 years of neglect, waste and misuse, but in reality the idea of putting a roof over a good water facility has been around since my 75-year-old mother was a teenager.

It is time the councillors stopped wasting our money on committees to investigate hare-brained, over-the-top ideas and blocking simple ideas by local businessmen with at least an understanding that we want something to be created before we end up with a bare, facility-free, concrete slab for deck chairs or car parking at stupid rates.

High time local people were given the opportunity to add their experience and views to all so-called improvements around Weston to cut down on wasted millions and get in place real working solutions.

PAUL BURNS

Sunnyside Road, Weston

Union flag

HOW great to see the Union flag flying over the stone wall on the link road roundabout near Morrisons.

I understand it is part of a publicity display for Help for Heroes - a very worthy cause.

When the wall was built, some years ago, I wrote to the town council asking why we could not have a large welcome to Weston sign emblazoned on the wall.

The town clerk, at the time, replied that the council was happy with the present situation. With the flag now flying there is obviously no by-law that states nothing can be added to the wall, so can I ask again if it could contain a welcome sign.

Other major towns welcome visitors so why not Weston?

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

? Turn to page 35 to read more on this.

Hazardous

AS A frequent visitor to Locking Village I am surprised that the dual carriageway from Morrisons to the airfield roundabout should have a 50mph limit yet a much narrower and, in my opinion, more dangerous road from the A371 Banwell to Weston is unrestricted.

In my opinion the stretch of road between the former RAF camp and the airfield roundabout passing Locking village entrances is very hazardous. I have witnessed excessive speeds on that road and dangerous overtaking. No overtaking signs and speed restrictions are vital to prevent potential road accidents.

MICHAEL DAY

Brize Norton Road, Caterton

Car parking

THERE have been many letters in your column in recent years regarding car parking in Weston town centre.

It seems to me that there is an obvious and simple remedy to the problem and I am surprised that no-one has thought of it.

Weston requires a large car park on one of its main entry roads and with this in mind, the council should make a compulsory purchase order on Weston Golf Course.

This would make an ideal car park, sheltered as it is by trees on one side and sand dunes on the other.

It would have ready made sandpits for children to play in as well as well as an area for a water feature.

Visitors could access the sands via the dunes and a solar powered tram could transport others into the town centre.

As a result of this, there would be no need to park cars on the beach; events such as T4 and the annual motor cycle races would be better catered for and the council could remove the petrified forest of tree stumps they have planted at the Uphill end of the beach.

Should people still wish to poke balls into holes with sticks a small pitch and putt facility (with windmills naturally) could be built at the Uphill end of the new car park.

D HARRIS

Moorland Road, Weston

Eyesore

SO, THAT’S it then – the final nail in the coffin for pool regeneration on the Tropicana site, according to one councillor.

The fact that Weston is more than a decade down the line with a derelict eyesore on the seafront is surely proof that the construction of another pool doesn’t appear to be on the council’s agenda, for reasons known only to them.

No notice whatsoever is taken of the electorate’s wishes – relocation of the library, Tourist Information Centre and transfer of town hall staff to Clevedon – just three other unwelcome, unnecessary and very costly examples.

The council should be working for the good of the town, not to its detriment. Weston is an expanding seaside town and needs a large ‘all weather’ leisure attraction.

I’ll be surprised if any of the five options, yet to be publicised, will be what people want on the site – because no-one listens and the whole lengthy saga will begin yet again.

Weston Town Council should be involved, especially if they can add a voice of reason.

Why can’t the Tropicana site be sold to a developer, so the funding and running costs would cease to be the council’s problem? They were prepared to sell it to Henry Boot for 1p!

The real concern is that a much-needed and wanted leisure complex set to benefit so many, a flagship for Weston at no cost to the council, will end up being a huge cost to the residents of North Somerset (should no alternative use be found), when there will be no other option but to raze it to the ground, at a quote of �1million. Another sheer waste of public money, with literally nothing to show for it.

Time is money and the councillors’ procrastination over parking and size of the development left Richard Nightingale with no option but to pull out.

It was purely their failure to bend, see reason and accept his proposals that led to this withdrawal.

He was the only investor prepared to fund an adequate-sized complex, which was needed to make the project viable and cope with the undoubted demand from residents, day trippers and holidaymakers.

Why should parking have to be included in his scheme?

More to the point, why is the council allowing Premier Inn to build a 112-bed hotel in the town with no car parking on site?

There could potentially be a third of the spaces in the new 327 space multi-storey car park in Carlton Street being taken up. Very clever!

The whole of Weston is suffering from lack of adequate parking spaces, but that is down to the council to address.

We need a satisfactory outcome to this decade of dithering and indecision quick smart, but no doubt this topic will still be rumbling along another 10 years down the line.

I’m sure we’d all love to be proved wrong. Somehow, unfortunately I don’t think we will be.

JULIE POWER

Exeter Road, Weston

Amplifier

WESTON has an excellent live music scene, as I’m sure the Lipinski brothers and Ralf Little who is filming here will agree.

So why can’t this young musician James Bennett play with an amplifier?

I watched him perform in the High Street the Saturday before T4 and sing through his amplifier.

What a crowd he drew, from all age groups, everybody enjoyed his performances, the cheers, people applauding and even girls screaming (I’m sure they thought he was playing at T4).

The noise from the crowds was louder than his amp.

Come on Town Centre Partnership, this is entertainment for the benefit of our town, I’m sure they could regulate the volume if too loud?

Give our up-and-coming musicians a chance! Busking is the greatest confidence builder. From an ex-musician having played with some of the greats including Hendrix.

STUART ROBERTSON

Beach Road, Sand Bay

Busker

I SEE in last week’s Weston Mercury that the police were very quick to swoop on the busker in the High Street for not having public liability or a busker’s licence to perform.

True he was breaking the law, yet the police choose to ignore the potential danger presented by cyclists that frequently break the law by using the High Street as a cycle path, weaving in and out of pedestrians and who are unlikely to be insured should they collide with anyone.

The busker , meanwhile, did not pose a danger to anyone.

ROBERT LOWE

The Swallows, Locking Castle

Changed

I WAS as surprised as anyone to find out that Pier Square’s name has been changed, not by public consent but by the whim of someone in North Somerset Council.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees made the triumphant announcement in last week’s Weston Mercury without consulting anyone, other than the Queen herself, or so we are led to believe.

District and town councillors have all been kept in the dark.

Why? When the name Pier Square first appeared I was somewhat sceptical, but have to admit it has caught on, probably because the area’s design lends itself to such a name.

I am a strong supporter of the monarchy but can find no reason why this newly laid out public space should henceforth be known as Princess Royal Square - a name which no amount of council encouragement will induce the general public to recognise.

A similar bit of nonsense was played in 1928 when the town’s Boulevard hospital became the Queen Alexandra Memorial Hospital, a name which failed to drop easily from any lips.

Sorry Elfan; call it what you like but most people have now become accustomed to Pier Square.

JOHN CROCKFORD-HAWLEY

Gerard Road, Weston

Dogs on his bus

AS I ran towards it, the number 4 bus made as though it was going to overtake the already parked number 7 bus.

I ran to the front of the number 7 ready to stick my hand out.

The number 4 didn’t appear, so I peered around the number 7 bus and saw the number 4 had instead tucked in just behind it. I ran again, poor old bewildered dog doing her best to keep up.

I believed it was obvious I was trying to catch the number 4 bus, but as I reached the doors they crashed shut.

The driver opened the doors and told me he did not allow dogs on his bus because he was allergic to them.

As I walked home I realised several things. I have never been refused admission onto a train or bus with my dog before and it had shaken me.

I am now worried as I am to take my dog to Congresbury for some veterinary treatment in a few days – will the buses I need to get us there let us both on?

What on earth shall I do if they don’t? We can walk steadily to town, but neither of us can walk all the way to Congresbury and there are no longer trains, if I took a taxi I wouldn’t be able to afford the treatment, so that’s out.

There is a bus driver who is allergic to dogs, working in a town where there are many pensioners, many of whom have old dogs, which means we need the bus services to help us take our walks.

Is driving a small bus in this kind of situation really the right job for him? If the company he works for sets a precedent will others soon follow?

I should be magnanimously accepting, given that I know dogs are allowed on public transport only at the discretion of the train guard or bus driver, yet I feel anything but.

How, I wonder, do others who have been similarly treated feel?

I can’t help thinking “first the Grand Pier, now the buses” and wondering what next.

CHRISTINE PIERCE

Severn Avenue, Weston

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