Letters to the Editor, July 3, 2014

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- Credit: Archant

LAST week, for the first time for about a year I had to go into the centre of Weston. I was not looking forward to it but what a change from when I was there last time.

No traffic, plenty of parking places (all on meters of course) so well done to the Weston councillors, you have cleared all the cars out of Weston but at what cost? I have never seen so many empty shops and where are all the public toilets? There must be a lot of elderly people like me who need to use a toilet a lot, what are you supposed to do in Weston?

I saw an article in the Mercury recently about the road train starting soon. I would suggest to the operator that it renames it the ghost train because if any more shops close Weston will become a ghost town.

Well done again councillors.

TED CLARK


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Chestnut Close, Congresbury

THE letters from John Kirk and Paul Burns about seafront parking really hit the nail on the head because it is ridiculous to charge in the evenings when nobody is about. My wife and I often enjoy walks along the prom from Royal Sands to the Grand Pier and we are astonished how quiet it is.

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I remember the days on seaside holidays when seafronts were alive with activity but I do realise that even holidaymakers nowadays are indoors watching the TV. Such a pity when we often have lovely sunsets to enjoy and nobody seems to care.

No doubt more people would be encouraged to park up in the evenings if parking was free after 6pm and maybe one or two of the tea kiosks would feel it worthwhile opening for trade.

It seems crazy when a wet day turns fine later yet nothing opens.

It may be a chicken and egg situation but we have an evening tourist attraction that is not exploited.

If only the Tropicana was still in situ then the southern end of the promenade would be transformed especially in evenings.

Come on councillors, make the first move, abolish evening parking fees and welcome both visitors and residents alike to our wonderful seafront.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

ANYONE who heard Derek Mead’s interview on Radio Bristol last Friday morning would be left in no doubt of his unsuitability to spearhead the Tropicana project.

The councillor seemed utterly unwilling or unable to answer simple questions about the basis of his Trop Trust and whether or not an application for the Right to Contest has been, or is going to be made. Indeed, Mr Mead was so unclear and confused that, at one point the interviewer asked ‘well if you don’t know, then who does?’

The councillor also repeated his oft-made claim that North Somerset Council was blocking all progress to rebuild the crumbling seafront landmark. But in the same broadcast, Cllr Tony Lake stated categorically that the council has already agreed to grant a lease to Trop Trust on production of a viable, fully-funded business plan.

More than 10 months have elapsed since the Secretary of State reprieved the Tropicana in anticipation of Derek Mead’s plans.

Despite all the empty PR froth since then, the interview demonstrated yet again that Trop Trust and Cllr Mead have still not accomplished anything of substance in all this time.

And, lest we forget, they are supposedly still seeking millions of pounds of public money to fund their ill-conceived venture.

How much longer should they be allowed to continue this increasingly unachievable, absurd and costly charade?

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

IT IS good that the Mercury keeps us informed about progress with the Tropicana. I have been talking to a number of visitors to Weston in the last week, asking them their thoughts on Weston.

In general the answers were favourable apart from comments on the Tropicana. Every single person I spoke to said they could not believe that the council had left it to rot. Some mentioned the council investment in Portishead pool.

The vast majority of local people would like to see the Tropicana developed and once more become a seafront attraction.

I think the odd person who is negative about the efforts being made by the Trop team is mistaken. Weston needs the Tropicana for a number of reasons not least because it will contribute financially to North Somerset Council (NSC) and hence the taxpayer.

It would generate more footfall helping local business (currently a number of shops and restaurants are closing), it would contribute to car parking revenue of which Weston is virtually the only contributor to NSC and another attraction would help fill our local B&Bs and hotels.

It seems to me a ‘no brainer’ for the council to support the Trop team and invest when they get such a large proportion of council income from Weston.

PAULINE PLATTEN

St Davids Close, Weston

WHEN Noel Coward wrote “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” he should have added…. “and the older the English get the more flesh they like to flash”.

It’s perfectly acceptable if you are young and slim to want to display your assets in public but ladies and gents of a certain age should cover up during the summer months.

Nobody wants to see man boobs and pot bellies on mature gents. Probably OK on the beach or in a pool, but not on the High Street.

And ladies of 60 plus should steer clear of strappy, skimpy tops and boob tubes

And do you elderly ladies really want to advertise your cellulite by wearing short shorts?

Good taste, modesty and decorum should be the order of the day for all you old’uns once the sun starts to shine!

IRIS JONES

Beach Road, Sand Bay

WE HAVE been loyal fans of the Winter Gardens ballroom for 25 years and remember Sid Gateley bringing his band to entertain us.

There was the Sunday Dance Club and then we were so pleased when Sid Gateley’s monthly dances were introduced. We also had the summer season dances for residents and visitors held on Wednesday afternoons and evenings.

The popular Boxing Day Dance, hosted by Sid, has been running for 20 years.

The doors opened at 10am and the dance began at 11am. In 2013, 300 people attended and in previous years extra seating had to be brought into the ballroom since so many people arrived to enjoy the festive atmosphere, meet up with friends and dance to the Christmas music.

New Year’s Eve Dance hosted by Mark Helmore always had a similar popularity. There was good music, an enjoyable supper, the wait for Auld Lang Syne at midnight followed by the party dances.

Sid Gateley’s Christmas Lunch and Tea Dance attracted 200 dancers and was a successful event.

We have always been informed that these popular dances were profitable and do not understand the reason for these dances to be axed.

The staff employed by the council always welcomed the dancers at the entrance, someone collected the tickets and they gave good service and organisation. Sadly most of the staff have left for one reason or another and we miss their friendly faces.

New faces join us at the dances, younger people learning the skills involved in dancing. We are always pleased to see them, it takes confidence and perseverance to step onto a dance floor and perform a new dance routine.

Dancers are active, fit and sociable people, they travel from all areas to dance in the Winter Gardens ballroom and many have told us how lucky we are to have such a lovely ballroom – something we appreciate and value.

We are prepared to ignore the ‘elderly’ comment, assuming a lack of knowledge of the Winter Garden dancers and offer a kind invitation to the Parkwood Leisure people to join us at Sid Gateley’s last dance on August 23.

The Winter Gardens holds a prestigious position on the seafront and is part of Weston’s Heritage and Culture and as such should be protected and valued.

ROGER AND SHIRLEY CHADWICK

Silver Street, Congresbury

HOW saddened I felt after reading about the treatment of the poor German shepherd left to die.

Did the person not realise there are rescue centres that take unwanted pets?

I hope the RSPCA will take action and hand out the strongest penalty. It won’t help the poor dog but may put others off.

M WILLIAMS

Stafford Road, Weston

THE problem with mail with Avon in the address is simply solved by senders following the Royal Mail guidelines.

These state: “When sending mail to UK addresses you need to use a full and accurate address complete with the postcode. You do not need to include a county name, as long as the post town and postcode are used. Avoid using commas or full stops and do not centre or stagger your lines.”

PETER BARRINGTON

Hutton Hill, Hutton

I AM writing with a plea to all motorists in Weston.

I am a cyclist and I commute to work in Weston using my bike every day.

I feel it has become an increasingly dangerous sport as it seems very few motorist bother to use their indicators when turning left at junctions. For a cyclist it is imperative that other road users make it clear when they are turning so we can make a safe decision as to our position on the road.

Surely it cannot be too much to ask to encourage motorists to use their indicators to make it obvious to cyclists and other road users if they are turning, it is after all a requirement of the Highway Code is it not?

If only one motorist reads this and becomes more proactive in their regard for road safety for other road users then it will be a great start to making mine and other cyclists journeys safer and more pleasant when they have to use the road in the absence of a cycle path.

MRS SAUNDERS

Springhill, Weston

WESTON is being let down by poor rail investment.

It is connected to a single-line bottleneck rail connection from Worle Junction on the main line to Weston station, approximately three miles of single line.

The line was singled in the 1960s due to economical cuts.

All trains between Weston and Bristol are late.

Is the bay platform at Weston going to be brought back into service?

Weston fittings are at least 40 years old and worn. Where the single line goes into two lines towards Weston station, the track is worn, the rails are about 40 years old. Finally electrification as a minimum could go to Weston instead of terminating at Bath Road Bridge Temple Meads.

Weston is the terminus of London Paddington High Speed 125 trains, it is being let down by poor rail investment. Money is being pumped into HS2 at the expense of poorly invested/funded neglected Greater Bristol area much need rail projects. Weston is part of Metro West and requires appropriate rail funding.

At this precise time the train fleet on the Great Western is ageing, with some HST High Speed 125 trains nearing 40 years old.

Parts of the other local stopping fleet could be older than 40 years. Also we do not have enough carriages to go around on local stopping trains.

It is good High Speed 125 trains are having first class seats taken out to be replaced by second class seats. First class accommodation was introduced on High Speed trains to attract passengers away from using aeroplanes.

The only draw back with the ageing train fleet on the Great Western routes is the trains do not have toilet retention tanks, human toilet waste is discharged straight onto the tracks/rail lines. Some stations are like cess pits with toilet waste piled up in station limits.

DAVID WOOD

Greenwood Road, Knowle Park, Bristol

ONCE again the begging bowl was out on Sunday June 15 for the repair of an item for which the residents of Weston pay and upkeep of year on year in their council tax etc.

I’m referring to the bandstand in Gove Park. Just before the band began to play a lady connected to them announced that a collection for a charity would be made. Most people were very happy to contribute.

Then at interval time another woman appears announcing that she is collecting for the bandstand. This was extremely bad taste as many people demonstrated by refusing to oblige and making comments of their own.

Could it be that at last Weston residents are beginning to make their feelings known? Or like me do they remember that our council gave to Clevedon from Westonian’s council taxpayers’ close on £20million for Castlewood and £657,000 for their pier.

The Tropicana and another ongoing saga that was Dolphin Square Market, and the so called Grove Village indoor market which was closed a long time ago all spring to mind.

Labours party leader Richard tucker said the group would reverse social cuts by putting £1.3million into the budget. Doesn’t it all look great on paper? However one cannot help but notice no mention of where this money was to come from.

This is what happened when most of the councillors operate outside of Weston. Even the very few that live in Weston itself don’t seem to have what it takes to stand up for Weston and its residents.

Lastly let us not forget how the Dolphin Square Market Traders were forced out of the square into St James Street. Some are struggling, depriving them of the right to earn an honest living supporting their families and contributing to the local economy and then there is the property that was T J Hughes etc. At this point I rest my case.

G N FLETCHER

Baker Street, Weston

WE WOULD like to thank all the firefighters of the Weston Fire Service who attended the fire at our property in the early hours of June 18.

We and we are sure our near neighbours who were also affected by the fire appreciate, even more now after this event, how you guys put your lives on the line for us.

If there is a Heaven you guys will be welcomed in with open arms there is no question. So may God watch over whenever you attend a fire in the future.

AUSTIN AND STEPHANIE SAYER

Dunster Crescent, Weston

ON MONDAY June 23 I contacted the council about a dog bin that was overflowing at the top of Kewstoke Road. I had the usual automated reply from them.

Nothing had been done about it on the Tuesday or Wednesday.

This morning (Thursday June 26) it was even worse. Surely this is a health hazard and should be sorted out immediately, instead it seems to be being ignored.

T BOWDREY

Ladye Wake, Worle

PLEASE would you convey through your letters page both my own as Mayor, and the town council’s, sincere thanks to all the Weston residents, and visitors, who turned out for the Freedom Parade of 40 Commando on Saturday June 21.

The welcome given was so very appreciated by the Royal Marines and they said they were overwhelmed by the applause of support.

The day was such an honour for the town and will be remembered by many. We were able to say thank you to our serving troops, and remember all those who have given the greatest sacrifice.

CLLR ROZ WILLIS

Mayor Weston

The Mayor’s Parlour, Grove House, Grove Park, Weston

ONCE again the Red Arrows put on a wonderful display to delight us.

Congratulations to all those magnificent men in their flying machines.

MRS JILLIAN BESSELL

Uphill Way, Uphill

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