Letters to the Editor, October 27, 2011

Another nail in the coffin

I FEEL I need to comment on the proposals to charge for parking on the streets of Weston and Worle.

I have felt for some time that a lot of the problem concerning the decline of people using the town has been due to the cost of parking.

I am afraid that as much as the Government and the town councils would like to stop people using their cars to go shopping, the days of people going to town to shop and going home laden with bags on a bus are long gone.

People would rather travel to an out-of-town shopping mall where they can park their cars for free and do all their shopping and drive home with it. This is a fact and it will not change.

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Charging for parking in the streets will only add another nail in the coffin of the town centre. To revive the town parking should be made free.


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Florence Grove, Weston

Cash cow

NORTH Somerset’s initiative for on-street parking once again highlights the probable unfairness of its introduction to Weston residents.

However, I would like to ask the question why off-street parking is so unfair to Weston residents as well.

The facts are that about 70 car parks are the responsibility of North Somerset Council. Of these only 11 are fee paying, nine of which are in Weston and two in Clevedon.

If my wife and I want to spend any time on our lovely new prom we have to pay �5 for four hours minimum and, even if we would like to walk in the dark, from 6-10pm, we still have to pay �2.

Now I understand that we must raise revenue through parking and would not be so aggrieved if the rest of the authority at least had some small scale of payment to park in the larger areas e.g. Lake Grounds, Portishead - stay all day for nil payment.

In the next budget efforts must be made to reduce the amount we have to pay and could it not be started by spreading the burden more fairly through the whole of North Somerset and not just use Weston as the cash cow that it appears to be?

Remember it is not just tourists that like to use our seafront but residents, some of whom may not be capable of walking there and therefore have to park.

How about a residents’ seafront parking permit?


Milburn Road, Weston

Shocked by the appalling attitude

LAST week’s article on the abuse teenage football referees have to suffer from parents and spectators did not highlight the amount of abuse they get from players and the total lack of control displayed by some managers.

Earlier this year I attended an under-14s match in which my son was playing and was appalled at the attitude of the opposition towards the match officials.

One of the team shouted at a linesman that he was a cheat, on the basis of an offside decision going against him. This was followed by a substitute shouting at the ref to “stop cheating” after a decision he disagreed with. The goalkeeper screamed “f*** off” at the referee after he mistakenly thought the referee had given a corner instead of a goalkick.

On four occasions players kicked the ball away when they had been penalised and free kicks given to the opposition.

The manager’s sole contribution to the debacle was to shout to his team to “stop the quick one” when the other team had been given a free kick - in other words stand right in front of the ball to prevent the free kick being taken, which is against the rules.

In my view the only mistakes the referee made during this match was to not cost this appalling club a fortune in fines from red and yellow cards which he neglected to issue.

If the manager of the club in question is reading this I would like to think that he would feel a twinge of embarrassment, but I doubt that he would. He clearly feels this is the way his club should teach children to play the game.

I wish league chairman John Major well with his campaign.

Remember: no referees = no football matches.


Worlebury Park Road, Weston

Patients could be alienated

I HAVE written to both New Court Surgery and Longton Grove Surgery to express my concern that they are both planning to move to new premises in Locking Road.

I am disappointed and worried that this relocation to the other side of town will leave the hillside area of Weston, the streets off the Boulevard and everything to the west as far as Birnbeck with no surgery in the vicinity at all.

The nearest surgery will be the one in Graham Road, but none of them will be adequately served by public transport.

This is an area with a lot of older people and others of limited mobility, who will be severely disadvantaged by this move.

I recognise and welcome the drive to develop surgeries to improve medical services and provide the best possible healthcare, but if this results in alienating patients it will be counter-productive. I cannot see why the surgeries at the current locations cannot be improved instead.


Upper Kewstoke Road, Weston

Help to save our youth clubs

I HAVE a son. His name is Aaron and he goes to the Bournville Youth Club every Wednesday. He has ADHD and a learning difficulty.

Why are they taking away all the youth workers that the kids know and love? Everyone says that kids get into trouble on the streets, look at the recent riots. But what else are the kids to do?

The council says that volunteers could be taking over. Will they be able to look after kids with a disability? Why take services away from our children? Take them away from somewhere else. There is not much for the kids to do in Weston as it is.

My son has been through a lot in his life. When he started youth club it was the best thing he had done.

Aaron has met many friends there and the youth workers have done so much for him. What is this world coming to? Why should our kids lose out?

I ask all mums and dads to help save our youth clubs and youth workers. I really do feel for all the youngsters and the youth workers. It is like they will be losing some really good friends.

So, this is a message to all mums and dads - we have had our life, it is our kids’ time now so please help save the youth clubs and the youth workers.


Westfield Road, Banwell

Fortunate that I am feisty

I AM a senior citizen who has always paid my debts on time. Can you imagine my surprise when I received a threatening letter from a debt collector? It was received, incidentally, on a Saturday afternoon so I could do nothing about it until Monday.

It stated I owed North Somerset Council �80 and if I didn’t pay the money in seven days recovery action would be taken.

I have had months of correspondence with the department concerned and won’t bore you with the details, suffice it to say I had received a cheque from it a few months ago because I had overpaid council tax for 13 years.

My current council tax is paid by direct debit. I knew I didn’t owe them any money. However, it transpires someone had misread the sum as a debit instead of a credit entry.

Had I had a dodgy heart the receipt of the debt collector’s letter could have had a disastrous effect. Fortunately I am more feisty than that. I wonder if the council will apologise?


Bridge Road, Bleadon

Super blooms

WELL done to all at the councils - town and district - and those involved in Weston in Bloom.

The floral displays in the town are one of the many things that put the super in Weston. The silver gilt award is greatly deserved.


Manilla Crescent, Weston

Won’t be back

A COUPLE of weeks ago, my mother and I visited Weston for a day. The weather was windy with drizzle, and it was quite cold.

My mother, who is now 88, has been visiting Weston since her childhood. I have also been on many occasions.

The seafront seems to have been ‘revamped’. The old-fashioned seats along the front have gone, as have the shelters. Not only that, but the old-fashioned lamps that used to have coloured lights strung between them have gone too.

Not only has the Victorian character of the front been destroyed, but there was nowhere for my mother to sit away from the wind and rain. We had to go to caf�s instead.

I am afraid that we will not be visiting Weston again, until such time as these practicalities are addressed and the character of the seafront is restored.


Lupus Street, Pimlico, London

Two questions...

I WOULD like to thank Pete Holder, the lifeboat operations manager, for his comments in reply to my letter about the beach signage problems - at last somebody in authority who responds to a humble member of the public.

I would be delighted to talk with Pete and my two main questions will be why, if the signage is adequate, did more than 100 visitors get caught in the mud and, when there are signs on the beach, why do those on patrol make no effort to approach those who blatantly ignore the signs?

I look forward to hearing from Pete - my telephone number is in the directory.


Clarence Grove Road, Weston

Morale in freefall

TIMES are getting harder by the day, especially for those on low incomes and particularly pensioners.

The last thing people want is a cut in vital community services, including educational, medical and policing. To avoid this it would make sense to reduce all civil service salaries by a minimum of 20 per cent to bring them back in line with the private sector, with the proviso that there will be no more redundancies.

This would stop the freefall in morale that is now all too apparent and hopefully restore people’s confidence in the public sector.

The next step would be to improve our out-dated political system. Do we need all these district councils and councillors, with their flair for growing empires? Can a number be combined as most of the work within each is similar?

Should the town halls and parish councils become the focal points of the community and be given more responsibility, after all they are nearer to hand and therefore more convenient for the public.

The majority of electors no longer even vote in local elections, believing their vote has no real bearing on their lives - 77 per cent of village councils did not even have a poll, as the number of candidates equalled or were less than the number of seats.

Yes, at the next Westminster elections there will be 60 less MPs – surely this could be dropped to 300 without any real loss in democracy?

All these elected MPs, district, town and village councillors, with their administration costs, are an overhead to society that reduces the competitiveness of our commerce and industry in world markets. The longer change is resisted the greater it will become when necessity is the master.

It is no good the elected leader of our district council bemoaning his brief by the Government to drastically reduce expenditure when, over many years, the council has relentlessly increased council tax and need for Central Government support.

The writing on the wall has been in the making for well over six years but, like a huge tanker, it is impossible to change course with the captains of our political ship being more interested in getting re-elected than steering the economy into safer seas.


Edinburgh Place, Weston

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