Letters to the Editor, October 30, 2014


MY HUSBAND was lucky enough to win two tickets to see Charlie Landsborough at the Playhouse Theatre, the performance was wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. I would like to say a big thank you to the Weston Mercury and The Playhouse for giving such excellent prizes for the competitions.


Constable Drive, Worle

I SEE from last week’s Mercury that Mr Craig, in his love of the Saxons, says that we should use Anglo Saxon Christian names. The Saxons like the Romans before them and the Norman French after them were occupying powers who took little notice of the country’s inhabitants; I see no reason why their names should be favoured above any other of our mixed ancestry. He also incorrectly states Uphill’s name comes from Ubbo’s Pill; this is wrong, it comes from “uppan pylle” (the place) above the pill or creek. In a similar manner Weston was just Weston in 1266, a clerk added the Latin phrase “super mare” in a document in 1349 to help distinguish it from other Weston’s. Super Mare simply translates into ‘upon sea’.


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Palmer Row, Weston

RE: SAND Sculptures. Gone! Thank goodness! I can see that they were a visitor attraction, but how good it is to sit on the Victorian style seats and have a sea view

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All we need now is for the tons of sand to be moved to the Knightstone end of the shoreline to restore the beach there.


Shrubbery Road, Weston

HINKLEY C is not the answer (letters D F Courtney October 23). We don’t need it by 2023 when it’s due to be ready - assuming no construction delays – at current progress renewables could each be providing around twenty times as much electric power. The standard argument is that nuclear power is reliable – well right now nine of EDFs 15 British nuclear reactors are off line. All of us are stuck with paying the French Government – they own the two companies building and operating Hinkley C, double the going rate for electricity and that’s for a prototype nuclear power plant that nobody yet has got up and running. The French are four years and 5.2 billion Euros behind with theirs and Finland nine years and 2.1 billion Euros. The French won’t be helping us out with dealing with the nuclear waste which the UK still doesn’t know what to do with. It is also naive to reduce safety to “tiny statistical risks”. I would want things to be engineered to one in one million failure rates because of the severe and long lasting consequences of a nuclear accident, like Fukishima, which now has a 20km exclusion zone around it, which is the approximate distance between Hinkley and the centre of Weston.


Westwood Close, Worle

ON attempting to find more information on the overflowing of sewers into the planned Woodborough Farm housing estate of 184 new houses in Winscombe I find my assertion in last weeks Mercury to be wrong. I believed that developers no longer have the automatic right to connect into the existing sewer system (from the Land Drainage Consent rules also know as the Flood Defence Consent).

But I now quote from the drainage section of the North Somerset Council website “discharge of condition.” “There is an absolute right in law for connection to the public sewer network.”

It further appears that a developer only needs to have advice from Wessex Water who say “it is not a statutory process but comments are given.”

So what is the situation where the existing sewage treatment works (Max Mills) cannot cope with the current volumes of sewage? Please correct me if I am wrong but does this mean that our democratically elected council cannot stop a potential sewage problem?


Church Road, Winscombe

A FEW years ago, I pleaded through the medium of the Mercury for dog owners to keep their dogs on leads when crossing Beach Road, Sand Bay, to take them on the beach. Unfortunately, this message is not getting through, as another beautiful dog has been needlessly slaughtered on this road, at the top of my driveway.

It is nothing short of animal negligence and were it within my power, I would prosecute all dog owners who persist in letting their pets run free without a lead. On the occasions when I have pointed this out to dog owners I have been told to mind my own business. Well, isn’t animal neglect everybody’s business?

Also bear in mind the poor motorist who accidently hits a dog roaming free. Even a speeding motorist isn’t a menace, if a dog is kept on a lead at all times on our roads.


Beach Road, Sand Bay

I FIND it difficult to understand why committees and councils seem to have their own agenda without any respect for those they represent. The proposed changes to the Winter Gardens is a case in point because it seems that decisions have been made spent on planning and then shown to the unsuspecting public. It is as though a bomb has been secretly designed and dropped without any warning. No wonder many of the comments in the Mercury, about the Winter Gardens project have been of anger and surprise. A committee of ordinary people become power crazy and work on the basis that anything they come up with is a done deal. I realise that new ideas and suggestions are debated in committee, but those that elect them should be made aware of what is being discussed. The public can then air their views and the consensus of opinion can influence final decisions. Councillors are elected to look after the welfare of their constituents – this is what democracy is all about. Anything else smells of dictatorship and this really puts peoples’ backs up.


Clarence Grove Road, Weston

WHEN I first saw the artists’ impression of a four storey extension bolted on to the Winter Gardens (whose Vineyard Restaurant we use nearly every day) I was shocked. Then I noticed it was the idea of Weston College who in my opinion have only just lost the title of Weston’s ugliest building to the Premier Inn. Yes that’s it they want to regain the title of ugliest, and out of place building.

Just a thought about Weston College it doesn’t turn out doctors, dentists, opticians, nurses, accountants and certainly not civil engineers or architects judging by its proposed building.


Forest Drive, Weston

RE: THE proposed redevelopment of the Winter Gardens reported in a previous issue. I am very concerned it will be the thin end of the wedge and functions such as entertainment, shows, exhibitions etc will be lost forever. In theory it would be great to have a university in Weston but not there; the thought of a four storey concrete monstrosity overshadowing the graceful Winter Gardens and Town Square is indescribable and it will not regenerate the High Street as students have no money to spend shopping. I should know I have grandchildren at several universities, it is online shopping that has caused shop closures, all towns are suffering from this technology.

Why not use part of Dolphin Square, this certainly needs redevelopment. Again it seems to me North Somerset Council is trying to blind us with science. Just look at its record of getting rid of our amenities and I might add loss of revenue to tourism as well.


Station Road, Weston

THIS new plan for a four storey extension to the Winter Gardens east side reinforces my puzzlement over the relationship between the “democratic” North Somerset Council and the unelected Principal of Weston College whose persistent accumulation of new “residences” suggest that he missed his vocation as an estate agent.

The shadow hanging over this plan, seemingly pulled out of a hat after a convivial lunch, is the existing restrictive covenant that limits developments to two storeys.

If this plan goes ahead it creates an immediate precedent by which the Winter Gardens building (as is) could also be made higher. There would then be no good legal reason not to allow an outward expansion that could end up with buildings over the entire “Old Hotel Field”.

I would also note that “two thousand more central homes” would mean a lot more cars.

As the Winter Gardens that was has already been ruined by badly designed additions I (personally) would not object to a rear extension undertaken by the council with planning safeguards firmly in place. Looking at the recent history of local planning my confidence is underwhelming.


Alma Street, Weston

I WAS pleased to learn that North Somerset Council’s political leadership is at last to reduce its North Somerset Life publication to a quarterly edition, albeit virtually through force from Whitehall.

The proposal for a quarterly-only frequency was contained in local Labour Councillors’ Alternative Budget submission tabled in each of the last three years. Independently audited by the council’s finance officers, we were advised that this suggestion would save the authority over £100,000 a year.

In the light of North Somerset’s 36 per cent funding cut from the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition Government since 2010, you would have thought that the council’s rulers might have grasped the nettle with such a straightforward and seemingly pain-free proposal. Instead, a stubborn insistence on retaining their monthly propaganda magazine with slanted introductions and overviews has held sway.

The £3-400,000 we could have saved this term would have been budgeted towards some of our drastically cut services, such as social services budgets for the elderly and disabled, learning disabilities, care home provision and placement, domestic abuse support, anti-social behaviour and drug and alcohol work, youth work, looked-after children placements, social and voluntary sector work, highway maintenance, gully cleaning , street lighting, out of hours anti-social behaviour to cover, supported bus services, grounds maintenance and litter picking and public toilets.

This is surely about the type of front-line priorities which should be uppermost in local political decision making.


Brookland Road, Weston

WITH the one hundredth anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War in memory of all those who died it’s good to know how a century on from that conflict the Royal British Legion who created the Poppy Appeal are still helping today’s service men and women, veterans and their families, whether coping with bereavement, living with disability or finding employment. Without our help, let’s remember none of this would be possible.

The Queen will lay the first wreath at the Cenotaph, as she has almost every year of her reign. Prince Harry laid his first, on behalf of his father in 2009. Both he and his brother, Prince William, have lost friends in Afghanistan.

Most people know the traditional wearing of poppies began because they were the only thing growing in the mud of the Flanders Battlefields. Poppy seeds can lay dormant for years, but suddenly spring up when ground is disturbed.

Many who visit the battlefields expecting to see drifts of poppies today are disappointed. There may be a few clumps, but the ground is a more peaceful place now.

Every year, around 120 disabled ex-servicemen and women, or disabled relative of forces personnel make nearly 49 million poppies, 100,000 wreaths, 750,000 crosses and 650,000 larger poppies at a small factory in South West London, set up by Major George Howson in 1921 to offer work to unemployed disabled ex-servicemen. He wrote to his parents in May that year: “It’s a large responsibility and will be difficult. I do not think it can be a great success, but it is worth trying.”

How wrong he was, the factory now sends out poppy products across the globe. The Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Scotland – part of the Poppy Scotland Charity – supports veterans north of the border. So I urge everyone out there to buy a poppy from a poppy seller to help raise funds for this years poppy appeal and wear your poppy with pride, knowing that you are helping the Armed Forces community to live on.


Victoria Park, Weston

OUR FIVE year old grandson disappeared on Weston Beach yesterday at about 4pm. By 5pm it was getting dark so we phoned the police and they were with us within

five minutes, along with the coastguard. Our neighbours in Royal Sands and all the golfers from Weston Golf Club were out looking for him, He was found about

1-2 miles away in Uphill.

He asked us to thank the man with the dog and the three ladies who found him and looked after him. He was missing over two hours. I would like to thank everyone who helped.


Royal Sands, Weston

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