Letters to the Editor, May 31, 2012


THE St Monica Trust has recently been cited (Mercury, May 24) in relation to the cost of the specialist care it is providing for an individual resident.

This is a specific and unusual case.

In the vast majority of situations, the trust receives a standard fee from residents. Further, many of our residents across the trust are supported by the state in the form of the NHS or local authority payments. Such funding is below the figure of our standard fee and this difference is made up by the charity from its own resource.

Providing care for older people who require bariatric nursing is an increasing and significant challenge for care providers committed to the quality of life, dignity and independence of all residents. Bariatric needs arise as a result of medical conditions or lifestyle choices which can lead in some cases to a team of four carers being needed to lift, move and turn someone with these specialist medical issues. Such repositioning to maintain health, comfort and well-being is required numerous times over a 24-hour period.

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A Department of Health spokesperson has recently commented that people may be surprised by the cost of care in cases of complex need. Indeed, as yet there is no cross-party agreement as to how the high cost of care should be met.

Given that the St Monica Trust is a not-for-profit organisation, our fees to our residents are purely based on care costs. In this case, the trust has been providing additional care, without question, and at its own cost, since early December 2011, a figure already in excess of �32,000. We hope people will understand that, as a not-for-profit organisation, we cannot continue to do this on an indefinite basis.

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The trust has suggested that it creates, at its own cost, a specialist bariatric facility for this particular resident. Such a development would include any necessary specialist equipment. A specialist environment would support the process of fee review and potential fee reduction.

The issue of having to sell property to pay for the cost of care is regarded as a national item of debate. However, while it continues to remain a statutory requirement for all our residents with assets greater than �23,000 to fund their care, this is a situation that is beyond the St Monica Trust’s ability to resolve or change, and indeed that of all other care providers.

The charity is committed to working with local authorities and all other agencies, such as the NHS, specifically in relation to Continuing Health Care and Funded Nursing Contribution, to ensure appropriate assistance with finances.



St Monica Trust, Sandford

All the best

REGARDING Alan Wright’s letter in the Mercury last week giving credit to the first aider who was first on the scene when my husband fell from the sea wall, I was not aware who was helping my husband that day. I was kept away and shielded from view.

In June 2010 through the Mercury I said I was grateful to the emergency services and a member of the police for keeping me informed of the treatment.

My husband was denied an inquest in 2010 because the pathologist thought he died at home. So no inquest was granted in that case.

It was a big error on his part and it has been a very stressful two years.

Now I know the name of the first aider, I wish Craig Young all the best for the future.




I’VE JUST watched Derek Mead’s ‘campaigning video’ that claims to show the strong public backing of his Tropicana proposal. If that’s the best he and his partners can do to convince us of their cause then I reckon they’re in big trouble.

Any first year media studies student can string together a few bits of interview, and in this case it looked like they’d skipped the lecture on basic framing and composition. And, far from ‘underlining the high level of public support for the rescue plan’ the ham-fisted offering simply presented the views of 12, ill-informed people.

There was no reference to the cost of the project or the source of the funds, nor were there any images or facts about the development.

The video would have been far more convincing and legitimate if it had included some voices of dissent, with their questions being answered. But it proved nothing, other than to emphasise the weakness of Mr Mead’s case and his obvious growing sense of desperation. And, to cap it all, we now read that he threatens to take out a second judicial review which will cost us cash-strapped taxpayers even more money. What a nerve!


Devonshire Road, Weston


WHEN I read ‘Video highlights public support for Tropicana’ in last week’s paper I was curious enough to take a look.

But, far from strengthening the case, I thought it very amateurish and hardly helpful at all.

Just getting a few people saying virtually the same thing on camera is the most unconvincing propaganda.

But, bearing this in mind, I wonder how your reporter made the considerable stretch of logic to suggest that such a ragtag collection of comments represented a ‘campaign video… to prove residents want the former pool back in action’. On the contrary, I suggest it appears that the Mercury is making every effort to support the Tropicana plan when it should remain neutral and impartial.


Upper Bristol Road, Weston


CAN somebody please explain why Derek Mead’s promotional Tropicana video is only available on the Mercury website and not on his company’s?

This looks suspiciously like our local newspaper has joined forces with a private company to promote its controversial business plan.

Whatever happened to the independence of the press?


Thompson Way, Weston

EDITOR’S NOTE: Trop (WsM) Ltd’s Tropicana campaign video was initially published on video-sharing website YouTube. We then made the decision to share that video through our own site, so people could view it. This is something we have done with YouTube videos on a number of occasions before. Allowing readers to view this footage through our site does not represent endorsement.


AS MEMBERS of the Keep Cheddar Gorgeous campaign we wholeheartedly support comments made by Marianne Mcaleer in her letter regarding Longleat Estates and its intent to install a cable car which would run from Cox’s Mill to high above the gorge.

The proposals include the construction of, at the very least a docking station and restaurant over and above the caves.

As she pointed out so clearly this would be an act of total vandalism.

Unrestricted views of and from, one of the most spectacular and natural resources this country has, will be lost for ever.

If she or anyone else would like to join the growing numbers of the Keep Cheddar Gorgeous group please contact us by e-mailing action@keepcheddargorgeous.co.uk or phone 07751 346348.


Lynch Lane, Cheddar


WELL, I just could not believe it, 8,000 runners carrying torches, yes 8,000, it beggared belief. Why so many runners? Also why so many taking part?

A never-ending queue of security runners, police motor cyclists and a police car, then we have the ambulance, it goes on and on.

Just who is paying for all this carnival? Hang on, let me think, of yes it must be us, the poor old taxpayer yet again.

How on earth can this country of ours afford to host the Olympic Games, costing billions of pounds?

Financially this country is in a terrible mess, and will continue to be for years to come.

This Coalition Government is ploughing millions of pounds to overseas countries such as �600million to India, an up- and-coming super power.


Orchard Drive, Sandford


I REFER to Peter Johnson’s letter on May 24 in which he viciously criticises the residents of Wrington.

His tone and insults are worse than anything I have ever heard from anybody in Wrington where I have lived for 15 years.

Wrington is a lively, vibrant and extremely friendly village – did Mr Johnson attend any of the 25 events held this month over the course of the 10-day-village-fair? Did he come to the Royal Wedding street party last year when 2,000 villagers crammed into Broad Street for a party? Perhaps he might like to come to the Diamond Jubilee Street Party on June 3 to see just how united and friendly the village is. True, we fought a long and hard campaign to keep our surgery. Unlike Yeo Vale Medical Practice which has two surgeries – one in Congresbury and one in Yatton with nine doctors (sounds like Wrington Vale Practice, doesn’t it?) – Wrington with a population of 3,000 will have no surgery and no doctors, except for some small, rented, occasional satellite. The case of the bells was another example of how the whole village is united and what did the complainant expect – that a village where the bells had rung for hundreds of years would just lie down and accept the ruling? If some letters were offensive it is regrettable and totally out of village character.

Mr Johnson should keep his nose out of Wrington’s affairs and thank his lucky stars he can still walk to his surgery.


Broad Street, Wrington


I REALLY took exception to Peter Johnson’s letter ‘sensible suggestion’ in the Mercury on May 24.

He commences by saying how badly the community had dealt with Mr Apps and Ms Hallett’s complaint to North Somerset about the clock chimes (not the church bells).

They have now withdrawn this complaint but the church will still have to go forward with their appeal.

Even before that, when they attended church, you would have found several of us amicably chatting to them.

We thought they were wrong but that did not mean we were involved in ‘general nastiness and threatening letters’. Some people who are inadequate in some respect cannot wait to latch on to some issue where they can vent their spleen.

Mr Apps was a featured player in the recent historical pageant. I don’t think he encountered any unpleasantness.

What Mr Johnson really wanted to bring to the fore was the future move of Wrington Vale Medical Practice from a situation in the middle of Wrington to a new site in Lower Langford.

It was not a few people who objected and thought it to have serious implications for a main settlement such as ours, but a very large body, including the parish council, of which I was then chairwoman.

So far as I am aware, this campaign was conducted quite correctly. Some of the most unpleasant letters in the Mercury were from a gentleman in Sandford whose language was nothing if not excessive. He has now turned his attention to burying the Tropicana.

I just don’t believe Mr Johnson’s claim that Wrington is full of people being ‘cold-shouldered’ because they were in favour of the move.

I have friends who were for the move and others, like myself, who were - and still are - unconvinced that this expensive new building right opposite a primary school is going to be so beneficial. However, it has made no difference to our friendships.

If Mr Johnson had seen our historical pageant on May 12, he would have seen that in its thousand year history, the village has had to come to terms with much greater issues. Did I detect a hint of jealousy of our beautiful village, so that he has had to try to find dark things beneath the surface which do not exist? We are not perfect but we are a genuinely caring community.


Church Walk, Wrington


THAT was close! If that rocket on the front of last week’s Mercury had failed and exploded it would have taken most of Weston with it.

Just one of several obvious reasons why the idea was stupid.

Fifty years ago there was a flood prevention scheme put forward that combined a Severn Barrage with a Bristol Channel Airport. Now the barrage idea has become a potential source of power, but it could not work if an airport was created thereby disrupting the flow of the water thereby trapping most of the sewage waste from Cardiff and Bristol and all points north.

Combine the potential smell with the potential noise and watch house prices collapse, especially up around Birnbeck.

It is far too easy to design grandiose plans on your home computer but before making a song and dance about it one should always try a dose of reality.


Alma Street, Weston


SO OUR local MP John Penrose wants a space port island costing �2billion I don’t know what planet he is on.

We can’t even afford to put lights on at night in Weston, keep youth centres open, or build a swimming pool on the seafront. This is the same MP who voted for 20 per cent on caravans and holiday homes when the area has such a large number of caravan sites. He would be better getting the things that people in Weston want now.


Uphill Way, Uphill


I HAD to have a wry smile to myself at James Franklin’s ‘Severn Spaceport’ headline in this week’s Mercury.

I have no idea, how far into the future, this is being envisaged, but using current technology, a rocket blasting off into space, is a very hazardous and crude procedure.

It is not by chance that both America and Europe have their launch sites on the east coast of the North and South American continents. Quite simply, in the event of a mishap shortly after launch, the resultant debris will fall into the Atlantic Ocean and not a (possibly) densely populated land mass. As was witnessed when the Challenger launch went wrong, who can forget the poignant images of the debris raining down into the ocean?

It is essential to launch in an easterly direction, for another reason too, as it is in the direction of the earth’s rotation, the added ‘kick’ or impetus this gives, provides significant savings in the fuel required (and therefore the cost) to reach escape velocity. The speed required to achieve orbit, and not fall back to Earth, is a little over 17,500 miles per hour or about 23 times the speed of sound!

Perhaps, in many years time, when vehicles like the much vaunted, but commercially ignored ‘Hotol’, are developed fully, it might be a possibility? But, how far in the future that is, is anybody’s guess. Then there is the question of the sonic boom? Admittedly, the Severn Estuary would be an ideal location, taking of conventionally on a south westerly direction, before turning east for the acceleration phase, might place it far enough away from the Iberian land masses to minimise the effect over land? Similarly the deceleration phase, which produces equally intense booms, could be conducted out over the Atlantic, starting the descent whilst over Central America.

I did write to the Minister of Transport, with an idea that I had, some years ago.

It was at a time when protest was rife, regarding the expansion of Bristol Airport, and the traffic problems already felt, and the proposals for a Severn Barrage were being considered.

I proposed building the barrage, and in the middle building an island, like they did in Hong Kong, for their new airport. With high speed rail links, to Cardiff and Bristol, as well as a dual or three lane carriageway along the top.

This would solve several problems at a stroke: It would remove the necessity to enlarge either airports, and the associated noise problem disappears instantly. It would remove pressure on the inadequate road network around both airports. By constructing the island from the rubbish that presently goes to landfill, it would solve waste disposal problems for years to come. It would create jobs in the area, and probably much further afield too, providing employment in many industries, for years to come, thus helping the region’s employment statistics. The new larger airport facility, would absorb all of Bristol and Cardiff Airport’s current staff, and create additional workplaces. The new crossing would relieve pressure on the motorways in this area and also the South Wales’s motorway structure. The barrage would provide green energy for generations to come.


Birchwood Avenue, Weston


THE article on a space port near our area ignores a vital part of the report which says ‘the problem of a spaceport at present needing its own undisturbed high altitude air corridor would still remain’. Many flights from the US to Europe pass over this area so it looks unlikely.


Hutton Hill, Weston

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