Letters to the Editor, July 4, 2013

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Dangers

FURTHER to my letter a few weeks ago regarding football and Shrubbery Park and the resultant damage and dangers, no councillor or member of Neighbourhood Watch has cared to venture a reply.

Since that letter my neighbours pinned a note on their door politely asking “Please do not kick footballs at these walls”. A group of boys decided to ignore the note and did just that.

They broke the door handle, defaced the newly painted walls, destroyed a bush which had been planted to protect the already-damaged wall, and just for good measure they tore off the note and pushed it through the neighbours’ letter box.

More lads returned on June 24 and after kicking the ball into my neighbours’ garden and climbing their wall to retrieve it I decided to have a word with them. They told me they wanted to play in Clarence Park but a fee of £15 was required. They telephoned the council and were told to go to Shrubbery Park as this is fee! This is a park where properties and children’s play area adjoin the football pitch. When this was previously viewed by the councillor responsible for the parks department he declared it dangerous and said so in a speech to the council. Nothing has been done since other than the fact that the playing of football is supported by the local Neighbourhood Watch – none of whose members are affected by the problem.


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On behalf of the general public, small children, road users and residents we demand removal of the goal posts and ‘No Football’ signs put there.

Finally, on June 18 the Daily Telegraph published a relevant report under the heading ‘No ball – Health and safety rules stump cricketers’. Extracts from the report state – “A cricket team has been forced out of the village where it has played for generations over health and safety fears. Bacton Cricket Club in Norfolk was ordered to stop using real cricket balls despite no-one being hurt. The council said the restrictions were necessary to prevent passers-by being hurt or injured by stray balls.

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The council clerk said the rule had to be put in place to satisfy insurers’ demands to protect people at the nearby bowls club and children using the nearby facilities. The clerk added “A couple of people had near misses. Would you like your child to be hit by a cricket ball?”

I might add that a football is by no means a soft missile as a lady in her 80s struck by one can testify. Why do health and safety rules not apply here in Weston and who are the council’s insurers? Do they know about Shrubbery Park?

RALPH YOUNG

Shrubbery Avenue, Weston

Folly

LAURENCE Orme wrote about the threat to Weston General Hospital in the Mercury of June 27.

I am very worried. I have heard that Accident and Emergency could be closed. As someone who has had occasion to attend A & E, I cannot see what could possibly replace it. It has been a life-saver for many people. I know people who have had a slight concern and taken themselves along to A & E, where urgent life saving action was taken. Faced with dialling 999 and requesting an ambulance, they might have left it too late.

Last winter illustrates the folly of moving work from Weston hospital. Back then there were occasions when travel by road was disrupted because of snow, and railway trains were cancelled because of flooding preventing people getting from Weston to Bristol. On those occasions, hospital appointments had to be rescheduled. It is bad enough that some work has been moved from Weston to the relatively inaccessible Clevedon. Early appointments are also likely to be a problem, if they have to take place in Bristol or Taunton.

In a recent health survey, North Somerset was one of a few health blackspots in Southern England. Across North Somerset itself there are large health discrepancies between the north of the district and Weston. In part that results from the age profile of the town, and in part from the general health of residents, ie, there is a gap in life expectancy of something like eight years between the villages in the north of the district and Weston’s central ward.

As a retirement town and a holiday destination, where mass events are held attracting thousands, it is vitally important that A & E is available in the town and extremely desirable that the broadest range of facilities and treatments are available at Weston General Hospital for the local people of Weston and for visitors.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

Unthinkable

WESTON is one of the largest towns in Somerset. If you add in the tourist numbers, then there must be more than 100,000 people in the area at any one time.

To think that such a large population may not merit its own hospital is quite unthinkable. However until we can confirm that the future of Weston General Hospital is safe within the NHS, that it’s not going to fall into the hands of a private company seeking either profits for their shareholders or a subsidy from the taxpayer, then how can Weston’s residents be sure they won’t have to go to Taunton, Bristol or wherever for the services they require? Surely we should first ascertain what the town needs (and even ask the residents) and then redesign and properly fund the hospital rather than the current reverse process?

DONALD DAVIES

North Somerset Councillor for Pill Ward

Town Hall, Weston

Plan B

I THANK J Luxon for their response, at least I know one person read my suggestion, but unlike most I have a plan B. Why did they not follow the Highways’ response to problems on the M4/M32 junction and stop people going completely round the junction 21 roundabout so all traffic would then go straight onto the junction from the A370?

This speeds up entry onto the roundabout as people have to slow down to check what’s coming!

I also like to agree with our MP John Penrose, that when a company brings hope and jobs to Weston, they have the funding for it, such as the snow leisure dome, as the Tropicana has had a lot of support, but no funding to follow it.

The likes of this include the pier.

STEVEN EASTLAKE

Madam Lane, Worle

Mockery

I WAS disgusted by comments by Neville Coles (principal of Priory Community School, an academy) in the Daily Telegraph.

He was writing about the benefits of employing unqualified teaching staff which my teaching union is completely opposed to.

It makes a mockery of the years I took to train as a teacher.

Would an unqualified doctor find employment?

How about a pilot?

My main concern is that he said that his school, despite being based in the disadvantaged seaside town of Weston has become one of the best in the UK.

How dare he say that about my town.

Tell us Mr Coles why is Weston disadvantaged?

PETER FARLEY

Old Bristol Road, Worle

Contrast

LAST week I notice in The Independent a reference to the cost of parking outside residents’ homes in the Conservative-controlled Camden council.

The yearly cost is £125!

Contrast this with Weston town centre residents where the cost is £130 a year to park at Locking Road car park and an extra hour early morning and late afternoon on the street.

Of course, if you wish to include two more car parks the cost is £260 a year.

Residents do not be upset, a year after the introduction of this ‘system’ this set up may be reviewed.

Note, not altered, reviewed.

Many words could be used to describe how residents are being treated.

Disgraceful fits the bill.

BRIAN SHELDRAKE

Palmer Row, Weston

Thank you

MY GRANDSON, Gary, had a skateboard accident in Grove Park on Monday night when he suffered injuries and spent the night in Weston hospital.

Could I please say thank you to the lady and gentleman who both stopped and gave assistance to him until the arrival of the emergency services.

He is out of hospital now but is very bruised and sore but on the road to recovery.

Thanks again to those two people.

ROLAND WATT

Oaktree Park, Weston

Populated

A LONG time ago the airport authorities in charge of local commercial and civilian flights designated the South West area flight paths in such a way as to minimise, if not eliminate, any risk to the residents of highly populated built up areas.

It was therefore a bit of a shock last Saturday afternoon to experience a vintage plane hammering low past my roof three times preceded by an extremely low helicopter.

That is not on.

Whatever type of plane you pilot a moment’s lack of concentration or a small mechanical failure can create chaos.

There will be those who think this to be nit-picking, but I have my ‘accidents’ file in front of me that lists 17 known aeroplane accidents around here from 1919 and another 38 between 1939-45.

North Somerset Council needs to stop acting as if Weston doesn’t count.

Stop telling everyone how ‘deprived’ Weston town centre is based on hair-brained ‘tables’ and start coming up with some intelligent (non-political) plans that deal with the economic failure that seems to be dragging us back to the days of rationing.

I care about this town and I don’t even get paid to do it.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

Mick Aston

IT WAS with great sadness that Sidcot School learned of the death of Mick Aston.

Almost a year ago, Professor Aston inspired a team of students when he discovered a 5,000-year-old Neolithic stone axe in the school grounds. He talked to the students in a way that brought history to life and encouraged them to examine their own surroundings more closely in a bid to understand their ancestors.

We have a number of students who have rediscovered history and developed a fascination with the past, thanks to the digs that were carried out last year.

On behalf of Sidcot School I would like to express our condolences to Professor Aston’s friends and family and to say what a privilege it was for our students to meet and learn from him.

An inspirational, passionate teacher who loved and lived for his subject, the local community will almost certainly be a much less colourful place without Mick and his rainbow jumpers.

IAIN KILPATRICK

Headmaster, Sidcot School, Sidcot

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