Letters to the Editor, July 28, 2016

New homes mean more GPs needed

I am sorry to see Graham Road Surgery appears in the bottom three in three categories of a recent survey, especially as this is the surgery I have used for many years.

I can understand the difficulty in making appointments as you have to try on a daily basis, starting at 8am and even when you get through on the phone you find that all appointments have been taken for the day. They will not give an appointment for the next day; you just have to phone again.

Patients are also unhappy about opening hours and it is very unwise to fall ill at the weekends but I do take issue with all those who have no confidence or trust in the nurses. I, for one, have great faith in them and they willingly sort out any small problems if a doctor is not available.

My big fear is for the future with all the housing plans for Locking Road car park, the police station and Dolphin Square. Unless another surgery is planned, Graham Road will be swamped and will be unable to cope with the demand because it is the nearest surgery to the planned developments. I do hope the planners take this into consideration.

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On another subject, have readers noticed how often the word hub is being used in projects? A transport hub is planned for Alexandra Parade, the police are opening a hub in the town hall and now we learn that a food hub is included in the Sovereign Shopping Centre development plans.

I cannot wait for the next hub to appear; at least my wife has not started to call me hubby yet.

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Clarence Grove Road, Weston

Blakehay Theatre is a Weston asset

I would like to thank the hard-working dedicated manager and staff of The Blakehay Theatre.

I am so glad the town council recognises what an asset it is. The theatre needs every bit of support we can give it. Well done everyone.


Well Close, Hutton

What’s the point of North Somerset?

‘The beginning of a new Weston’, proclaimed the Mercury on July 21.

But has Weston been consulted? Of course not.

Weston’s problem is North Somerset. North Somerset Council sees Weston and its environs as both a milch cow and a depository for its unwanted obligations.

Too weak to resist the other West of England Partnership councils, where is the easiest place to dump all those extra homes it has been forced to accept? Certainly not the select areas in the northern part of the district which the leading councillors represent.

As Pill’s independent councillor Don Davies said in a recent council meeting when the council voted not to join with the three other councils in having a metro mayor: “What is the point of North Somerset?”

As part of a Winterstoke District Council we could go back to being within binary Somerset County Council along with Sedgemoor and Mendip councils, where we belong.

The rest of North Somerset could then be absorbed into the new Greater Bristol combined authority.

All the extra homes could then be built close to Bristol, close to the office jobs in the city where the majority of new residents planned for central Weston are expected to commute every day.


Priory Road, Weston

Standards at our hospital on the up

I recently arrived at Weston General Hospital orthopaedic clinic an hour late having misread the letter.

The long-standing senior receptionist was exceptionally helpful, accepting my apology, sending me to X-ray immediately with the requisite paperwork to complete. On my return, she explained that the consultant had left the hospital, which she had emailed, and placed me on the list for the following week.

I was truly amazed at the helpfulness, fully expecting a reprimand, and being told to await another appointment.

Has Weston hospital turned the corner?


Milton Hill, Worlebury

Assistance after fall most welcome

I would like to say thank you to the lady who saw me fall in Bleadon Village Hall car park last Tuesday and came to my assistance, and all the other people who also helped.

Thank you to the paramedic and the hospital staff and special thanks to friends Beryl and Ray who stayed with my wife and me and saw us safely home hours later.


Thornbury Road, Uphill

Sand scuplture boards block view

Weston is buzzing with locals and visitors flocking to the beach to soak up the sun, taking a stroll along the promenade or maybe sitting and enjoying fish and chips or an ice cream in one of the seafront shelters.

As such I feel our council representatives have made an error by allowing the poor design and positioning of the dreary brown security fencing bordering the sand sculpture exhibition on the seafront.

The location of these high boards obliterates the view of the ocean and stunning sunsets from no less than five of the eight seafront shelters, which provides seating for approximately 100 people.

While I can appreciate the sand sculpture exhibition is a tourist amenity I do feel that its location is inappropriate.

Furthermore as the sand sculpture exhibits are made up of sand mixed with a form of adhesive they could be put anywhere.

I am sure your readers might be able to offer a solution as to how we can improve the current situation and claim back an unobstructed view of Weston Bay which these ghastly boards are currently obscuring. With all the recent financial investment, improvements and efforts to enhance our resort I feel these dull brown boards detract from this image and would be more appropriate to a downtown shanty area.

Weston’s unique selling point is its long sandy easily accessible beach and multi-functional promenade walk with stunning views for everyone to enjoy whatever the weather.


Clifton Road, Weston

Bold art vision deserves credit

I would like to congratulate council leaders on daring to have a bold approach to renovating the shop fronts in Walliscote Road.

Be even bolder extend this art deco-style with its pinks, blues and creams to the Orchard/Meadow Street area (as suggested by G W Burnett).

But don’t stop there; I have looked at other shabby/ugly looking buildings and thought how they too could look great with a similar make-over. The Odeon cinema building could continue the theme in the same area and what about the new Dolphin Square development having echoes of the same colour?

Wouldn’t it be great to come to Weston to see art deco-style used innovatively alongside Weston’s fantastic Victorian buildings?

I’m 75 years old and feel really excited by the prospect and it wouldn’t be too costly.


Beach Road, Weston

Carnival is a big positive for town

I was saddened to read in the Mercury how Weston’s spectacular carnival, which is one of the most popular, long running events in the Weston calendar, is at risk unless more people come forward for marshalling on the big night.

I love this spectacular event with more than 100,000 people lining the streets to enjoy the parade.

The carnival goes back to 1889 when Weston Cycling Club had members in fancy dress on bicycles carrying lanterns. The fire brigade was concerned about Guy Fawkes Night and the indiscriminate letting off of fireworks and so inspired by the cyclists they organised the first November illuminated carnival in 1891. They continued annually until World War One in 1914 and following the war moved the carnival to become a summer event.

If everyone who visits this year’s carnival bought the carnival information booklet, which costs £1, we could save Weston’s wonderful carnival for generations to enjoy.


Victoria Park, Weston

EU ignorance is depressing to see

We’re supposed to be living in the information age, but it was depressing to read the ignorance expressed in John Tanner’s letter last week.

He trotted out the same stuff about Britain being ruled by faceless European Union (EU) bureaucrats when in fact this country has voted in favour of the vast majority of its legislation.

He also bizarrely blamed the EU for the failings of the NHS, saying it has become an international health service. Doesn’t he know that the shortcomings in our magnificent system are a result of decades of Government underfunding by all political parties?

Finally, he talked about renewing old friendships with Canada and New Zealand. But he obviously dreams of the old British Empire because these countries (including Australia) have for years become less attached to the UK and established their own worldwide trading links with emerging countries around the Pacific Rim, Brazil and China.

The sad thing is that such lack of understanding was exploited by the Brexit lies and that 48 per cent of those who voted to remain feel betrayed by the 52 per cent who didn’t. Such tensions can only be a bad omen for our nation’s future.


Milton Road, Weston

Letter was a rant rather than reason

Although I don’t always agree with Ian Pitch, I find his letters to the Mercury well-informed and constructive food for thought.

So Steve Biggs’ letter ‘Sky has not fallen in despite European Union (EU) vote’ was odd. He described Mr Pitch’s reasoned arguments as ‘diatribes’ but it was Mr Biggs who launched into a tirade.

In sarcastic terms, Mr Biggs seemed oblivious to the fact that, although 17 million Britons voted to leave the EU, more than 16 million of us did not so it was hardly a unanimous result.

And by saying that nothing had changed in the past two weeks, he clearly has no concept of how the Brexit process will work. Had he bothered to pay attention, he would know that the negotiations will take many years. And then it’s highly likely that the UK will still have to agree to freedom of movement over borders and contribute to the EU budget to maintain trade, two things that I guess he opposes.

But Mr Biggs’ derisive language is even more self-destructive because it reveals someone who obviously has such little regard for facts rather than his prejudices, and yet he mocks those who do. By doing so, he merely demeans himself.


Stonewell Park Road, Congresbury

Two critical letters went too far

As a regular Mercury reader, I particularly enjoy the exchange of views, sometimes lively in the Opinion columns. But last week I thought it went too far.

I was appalled by the ferocity of two letters criticising Mr Ian Pitch and his past comments on the referendum. There’s nothing wrong with healthy disagreement but Steve Biggs and John Tanner exceeded the bounds of considerate discourse on which we rightly pride ourselves in this country. I never thought the day would come when the Mercury printed hate mail.


Moorland Road, Weston

We must show more respect

I wrote to the Mercury recently expressing concern at how the UK has become a less tolerant, more unpleasant place to be, especially regarding the referendum.

And there were two perfect examples of such antagonism last week from John Tanner and Steve Biggs. Mr Tanner launched into what can only be described as an excessively violent criticism of Ian Pitch’s views on the European Union vote.

Of course, Mr Tanner is as entitled to his opinion as Mr Pitch is, but the vitriol he used was gratuitous and unnecessary. Similarly, Mr Biggs showed an unacceptable degree of disrespect for another’s point of view with an equally objectionable sarcasm.

Have they forgotten that the police have now advised Angela Eagle MP not to hold any more constituency surgeries for her own safety which shows how dangerous this has all become?

But Mr Tanner is obviously a very angry man who bears a grudge against Mr Pitch. Why else would he feel the need to dredge up last year’s election defeat of Weston First?

Rather than Mr Pitch, perhaps it’s time for Mr Tanner ‘to suck up his sour grapes’.


Bath Road, Blagdon

Facts speak louder than simple words

One of the great things about Great Britain is its innate consideration for others, freedom of ideas and expression and the right to reply. And, after the Mercury printed two highly critical letters about me last week, I think I’m entitled to respond.

John Tanner and Steve Biggs questioned the validity of the facts behind my recent contributions to your paper. They’re free to do that of course, but I challenge them to support their objections with actual facts rather than vague, worn-out phrases now discredited by politician’s lies.

It won’t be hard for them – just read the newspapers and use the internet like I do.

For example, The Independent reports a new survey which suggests the Brexit vote has pushed UK services and manufacturing into contraction. The latest Purchasing Managers Index shows ‘dramatic deterioration’ with our economy shrinking at its fastest rate since 2009.

How will the crowing Messrs Tanner and Biggs take that bad news about their prized EU victory?

Or will they just accuse me of making it all up yet again?


Church Road, Winscombe

UK better out of Europe collapse

I note in Opinion, July 7, Ian Pitch’s disagreement with my opinions about our future outside the European Union (EU).

Oh dear doom and gloom ahead for us, with chaos everywhere.

Funny, it seemed very quiet in Whitecross this morning except for a line of rubbish left behind by the bin men.

I’ve never been impressed by Europe. Most of the 27 countries are broke. Discontent by many whose jobs are being lost by vast numbers of immigrants, and ruled by unelected members whom we can’t even name, or get rid of.

And do you know we actually pay them billions to regulate our lives and work? What a cheek!

But they give money to us, especially to our farmers. Not true… it’s our money coming back. Do you really think Germany and France would give us any money?

It’s all very simple really. We can still trade with Europe by paying a world tariff – it’s about three per cent, I think, with no conditions about free movement placed upon us and since we trade at a loss with Europe any tariffs placed on them would give us a profit.

As our global trade increases, then our prosperity will grow, encouraging more investment from all over the world.

History has told us that no empire has ever lasted. The European empire will soon begin to collapse as the immigrant problems take hold, creating resentment.

We are better off out of it.


Addicott Road, Weston

When Weston’s Art Deco pool emerged from the Lidos movement in the 1930s, two architectural features stood out: its famous 10 metre cantilevered diving stage and a beautiful white fountain.

As you stepped out from the pool’s changing rooms onto the wide bathing area, the fountain was the first thing that presented itself - a cascade of water spilling and sparkling over its smooth curved surfaces, a classic example of Art Deco form and design.

With the destruction of the diving stage and the construction of the Tropicana in the 1980s, the fountain managed to survive - albeit with some uncouth orange tiles plastered over its lower capture pool. Even with the closure of the Tropicana and the vicissitudes of being surrounded by debris from the 2010 seafront enhancement, it clung on - although a truck managed to tip over the upper cascade giving it a rather hobbled appearance. Extraordinarily, in Banksy’s 2015 Dismaland exhibition the fountain featured as one of his exhibits and was spot-lit at night - complete with its tipped over upper cascade (which could have been easily repositioned). Surely with Banksy’s endorsement, this important fragment of the original pool was now safe?

And I certainly thought so, for at a Weston Civic Society public meeting last year, Cllr Felicity Baker and Darren Fairchild, North Somerset seafront manager both assured me the fountain would be protected. Sadly, it was not to be and the 1930s fountain has ‘disappeared’ - and no-one knows quite where. It’s especially sad when North Somerset is making such serious efforts to recapture Weston’s Art Deco legacy with the recent sympathetic repainting of The Centre.

Meanwhile, does anyone know what happened to the fountain? Because somebody does.


Chairman, Weston Civic Society, Stafford Place, Weston

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