Letters to the editor, November 14, 2013


- Credit: Archant

FOLLOWING last week’s article headlined ‘Jeffrey’s grand gesture for town’s kids’, I received an offensive email from a reader of one of the letters that a Weston businessman/woman has received from me regarding mine and the YMCA’s efforts to re-build youth services in the town.

Clearly the email originator did not wish to be identified so I will not publish her/his email address. However here is the message that he or she sent to me to which I will respond:

‘I’ve had the mis-fortune of reading a letter sent to one of my friends about the YMCA, while I agree it’s a good idea, how about cutting back on waste at Weston Town Council, like over-paid Councillors, expensive perks, millions wasted on renovating the Town Hall. WASTE. WASTE. WASTE.

Yet you screw down local businesses and decimate the high street and then screw the low paid with bedroom taxes.


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I want it made clear to this individual and any other residents of Weston who believe what is being said by this person with the following facts.

It is a fact that Weston town councillors put in countless hours, days, weeks and months to introduce schemes for the benefit of our Weston residents and do not get paid a single penny for doing so.

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They are profound volunteers who give their time, energy and own monies (the cost of running their cars etc) to the advantage of our residents and never spend any time at all trying to make life difficult for them.

North Somerset district councillors are the ones who receive yearly salaries and enormous expenses and it is the Conservative governors of this council who have imposed vicious cuts here, there and everywhere and also removed the funding for youth services.

It was the Weston town councillors who agreed to take on the responsibilities of running these services in partnership with the YMCA.

That is why I am appealing to Weston businesses to make monthly monetary donations to this project and contribute to the provision of youth services for our young people.

I trust Mr/Mrs Anonymous will take these facts on board and react as so many Weston town councillors have already done by making a personal cash donation to our cause and of course hopefully apologise to me for the horrendous accusation made about our town councillors which he/she should have directed at North Somerset Council.


South Lawn, Locking

LORD Jeffrey Archer of Weston-super-Mare and Mark may not be everybody’s cup of tea but he is very supportive of his home town.

His reported pledge of £1,000 towards the youth of the town is one of a long list

of gestures.

He has run a number of charity auctions, written in support of those that were against the closure of our old library and even donated £500 towards the renovation of the cuckoo clock in Alexandra Parade some years ago.

I have often wondered what happened to that money because the clock was never restored but, that aside, whether you love or loathe our noble Lord we should always give credit where it is due.


Clarence Grove Road, Weston

I WAS so impressed to see published the ‘Undermine and discredit’ letter with reference to the NHS as it was only a year ago that I decided I could not morally carry on working in an organisation where highly paid managers and senior executives so full of their own importance were treated by the chief executive like Gods, but where the actual ‘shop floor’ workers who actually look after patients were treated like dirt. This was not here in Weston, I must add.

It is a cruel injustice that the supposed caring profession has never looked after its own - quite the opposite. I could name many occasions, both for my colleagues as well as myself, when instead of being treated like mature and responsible adults, we were subjected to being treated like school kids by non-clinical staff who had no idea - even as a senior nurse with many years of experience and a list of qualifications.

I, personally, eventually rebelled after many years of such abuse, and filed a formal complaint with my resignation. My grounds were ethical and moral, both on a humane level, where I objected to the way I was being treated - or should I say mistreated - and the fact that I strongly objected to constantly being nagged to generate cost savings with no thought to patient care. It was all about tick boxes, not caring for someone in a vulnerable state.

Whilst this is allowed to continue, we will continue to see shocking headlines of patients not getting the care they deserve. I do not excuse the professionals who do not do their job properly, quite the opposite, in fact. Even as a very junior staff nurse many years ago, the patient always came first for me. It is the system that is at fault, a system that has generated a pack of greedy self-important individuals who are employed in a healthcare environment but actually do not have a clue as to what that means.

I am one of the few who had to the guts to complain - it took them six months to finally apologise after virtually accusing me of lying - and the head of department was moved aside to another department, in true NHS style.

Under these circumstances it does not help when staff are verbally or physically abused, so I hope that message is also loud and clear. Most staff do a great job under difficult circumstances, very often on a hungry tummy and a full bladder. They are bitten, kicked, vomited upon, and have to clear up a variety of body fluids, as well as constantly being treated like animals.

I did try, in a letter to Tony Blair many years ago, to tell him what I thought of what was going on, and that people like me were leaving the NHS, but received a reply from a minion saying it was not his responsibility but the DOH. I rest my case, and that of my anonymous colleague.


CAN I reassure any of your readers unnecessarily concerned after reading the article, ‘Keep our A&E petition’ on November 7, that there are no plans to close Weston General’s A&E department.

We see over 50,000 people every year who need our A&E services and we are proud to care for them. While the decision about who manages Weston General Hospital’s services in the future may be uncertain, the need to have an emergency department to look after our community in Weston and North Somerset is not under discussion.


Chief Executive Weston Area Health NHS Trust

Weston General Hospital

Grange Road, Uphill

FURTHER to your front page headlines ‘Birnbeck’s last hope’, any residential dwellings would need to be accessible to the emergency services.

A fire engine would not be able to drive along a refurbished pier unless it was considerably strengthened, and how would any residents gain access to their ‘villas’ on the island. The bridge to the island is only 20 feet wide.

One solution would be erecting another link to Birnbeck Island, but this would affect the tidal flow which, in turn, would disturb Spring Cove, a dedicated site protected as an SSSI.


Baytree Road, Weston

I CANNOT agree more with Brian Sheldrake.

Over the last year, I too have raised many questions regarding the situation for local residential parking and have not gained one spec of information, either through your paper or via exploring the internet – except that a review has taken place and all concerned deem it a huge success. As I have asked before, by whom?

And for whom exactly? The council coffers to pay for councillor iPads so they can receive tweets and instant messages as they do so now by other means? Or to reimburse more expenses for endless meetings to yet again dismiss local views on the likes of the Tropicana, Grove Park and Birnbeck Pier?

I am not a councillor living out of town with the luxury of off-street parking yet free parking facilities in the centre. I am just a person who lives locally, supports local shops, pays council tax, earns a living but does not work a conventional commuting six day week 9-to-5 to coincide with the parking restrictions outside my home. I am just a person who feels penalised for having the ability of owning a car.


Hopkins Street, Weston

FIRST of all there was a culling of toilets now the lolly-pop brigade is in the firing line.

These services are part and parcel of a civilised society, the latter an important safeguard for our most important prodigy children. The public has become fed up with all these cuts and dictates.

The Trop, the Grove Park tennis court dispute, parking etc have all undermined the belief that politicians are not our side, after all it was they who over-spent (maybe on our behalf or perhaps to get re-elected) and are questioning the need for these changes to their lives.

What we should be asking ourselves is do we require all these politicians, at the top, why not save part of the £65,000 spent on our three area MPs by culling a couple, most of us would not even notice the difference? The news North Somerset is dropping 11 councillors to 50 shows there is room for such reductions, but as they say, turkeys don’t vote for Christmas!

Today our communication systems have moved on from the days of horse drawn coaches and hand messengers, but our political business is stuck in those days at a great cost to the electors. The changes since the computer arrived in all our industries and businesses have been enormous and we have all had to adapt to the era.


Edinburgh Place, Weston

MAY I through the auspices of your newspaper extend my thanks to everyone who took part in or supported the Remembrance Day Parade and Service in Weston. There were representatives from most of the organisations in our community.

All who took part showed that they care and respect the sacrifice that paid for our freedom. The number of youngsters taking part was truly astounding.

As the numbers of ex-servicemen and women gradually reduces, it is encouraging to see that the young men and women of our town are ensuring their sacrifices and those of their fallen colleagues and friends are not forgotten. They were a credit to their respective organisations, leaders, parents, guardians and most of all to themselves and our town.

So often in the pages of our newspapers, we read of the problems brought about by the irresponsible youths in our community, very rarely do we hear of the good things they do. The vast numbers on parade and supporting Remembrance Day last Sunday show that the vast majority, can and do, show what is good in our town and I applaud you.

Special thanks should go to the cadet forces who once again gave up their weekend to ensure the sacrifice of the fallen in all conflicts was remembered with due respect and ceremony.

My thanks also go to all the people who gathered in the park and showed their support, it was a special occasion in memory of special people.

Thank you


Parade Commander, Remembrance Day 2013

For Weston Branch Royal British Legion

I HAVE a site now running with over 500 likes and 200 comments from people in North Somerset who object strongly to the new van permit system.

We have also just set up a governmental petition to have the scheme revoked or rewritten ASAP.

Councillor Mike Bell has also condemned the scheme and the way it was implemented with minimal warning and not enough forethought regarding owners of private 4x4s (farmers etc), pick ups, small vans, UTVs, even people carriers and local private people who use a trailer because their car is not suitable.

And finally, why does the council need even more personal info from its constituents in the form of licences, insurance documents, utility bills and V5s? This is big brother gone mad.

All the scheme does at present is actively encourage fly tipping across our county.


Graham Road, Weston

I AM appalled at the council’s decision to change the use of Grove Park tennis courts to car parking.

Whatever happened to the Olympic legacy following 2012? The health of the nation should be paramount in the council’s policy making.

There is absolutely no need, as we all know, for additional car parking in this area. It is a travesty and a sad reflection on this council that car parking should take precedence over a sporting facility.

The cost of a legal battle with the church in these austere times should be the ultimate deterrence for this decision, which is unbelievable but, sadly no surprise.


Mendip Road, Locking

RECENTLY we have had to make several trips to Margate in Kent, where we moved from 15 years ago.

Margate was once a wonderful seaside resort, but no longer. The funfair (Dreamland), once bringing in many dozens of coaches full of day-trippers every day is now derelict. The hotels that were full to bursting now are closed, and have been turned into flats or pulled down. One major hotel in a prime position now houses asylum seekers. The B&Bs have all gone.

It is now a non-resort. Holidaymakers no longer come.

Some people do visit the new Turner Art Centre, but then write to the local paper to say how they made the mistake of visiting the awful High Street and seafront.

Where there were once holidaymakers it’s now ‘hoodies’ and ‘druggies’ etc. Many of those living in the hostels have been sent from areas of London.

Local people tell us they blame certain councillors who forced their will on others, failing to provide for the future of the resort, so the visitors declined and the hotels and B&Bs closed.

There is now no going back. Is this what we want for Weston? I’m sure it isn’t, so why are we heading in this direction?

A day trip to Weston may be good - go on the pier, walk on the beach - but what if you come for a week? You want to do things around the seafront, not drive off looking for somewhere to swim or play places for the children.

Let’s do something really great with the Tropicana before it’s too late.

Perhaps our councillors should take a trip to Margate to see how not to do things.

Don’t let us become like Margate in Kent or Rhyll in Wales, and some others.

People do want to come here, so give them something to come to.


Glebe Avenue, Portishead

WE LIVE two miles from Kewstoke and visit Sand Bay once or twice a week for a good walk on the beach. It is easy for parking, are we classed as visitors? As more people realise the toilets are closed, fewer will venture to Sand Bay, what a shame for such a nice area.


Milton Road, Weston

ONCE again Weston Operatic Society put on a great performance (Anything Goes) at The Playhouse.

For those who did not manage to see it, you missed a treat. Well done all concerned.


Drysdale Close, Milton

TORBAY Express Ltd would like to thank all the passengers who travelled aboard The Torbay Express steam trains from Weston during the 2013 summer season for their very generous contributions to the fantastic amount of £2,500 that was raised by the charity raffles held on the trains.

This sum has been presented to Dorothy House, the local hospice charity for Bath, North, West Wiltshire and parts of Somerset. The hospice provides free high-quality care and support to people with life-threatening illness and is based at Winsley, Bradford on Avon.


Marketing Manger Torbay Express Ltd

Gydynap Lane, Inchbrook, Stroud

I AM writing to say a huge thank you to all the people who helped my mum and I look after a young man who, on Sunday, came off his bike in Grove Park and went head first into the rockery. His friend was straight on his phone to call an ambulance and remained very composed whilst talking to the person on the other end.

Thank you to the two people who went to the top gates to direct the paramedics and to the couple with George the dog who stopped to assist.

It was great to see everyone pulling together to help the young man, Mike.

I wish him a speedy recovery.


Bristol Road Lower, Weston

CAN anyone please tell me why the bridge over the motorway on the Banwell road has not been turned into a junction? It seems ideal, as the road from Weston to it is perfect for this purpose.


Bristol Road Lower, Weston

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