Letters to the Editor, October 9, 2014

Help and advice will be offered to serving and ex armed forces members

Help and advice will be offered to serving and ex armed forces members - Credit: Archant

I COULDN’T agree more with Geoff Malham about the fate of the Hans Price library in the Boulevard.

Actually, its primary purpose was to house the town museum. I remember when most of the building was occupied by museum exhibits, including a rather moth-eaten stuffed lion.

The current museum in Burlington Street is due to be closed for refurbishments, which will involve emptying it of its contents. The fact that the earlier building is unoccupied looks like a golden opportunity to bring it back into use for its original purpose, even if only temporarily.

I believe that we need to acknowledge Weston’s industrial past. The Burlington Street building could be shared between its current employment and as an industrial museum.

A number of museum items could remain in the Hans Price building to enhance it as the parish council’s town hall, and as a reminder of why it was built in the first place. It does not seem to be sensible for the town council to pay rent to North Somerset Council for Grove House when the iconic Hans Price building lies empty in the Boulevard. North Somerset should give it back to the town, particularly since it hasn’t been able to find a buyer for it, even at a knock down price.


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ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

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I HAVE read the letters about the speed limit on the A370 at Hewish near St Anne’s Primary School.

This has reminded me of working as an engineer in the highways department of Avon County Council in the 1980s.

At that time (things may have changed now) we followed guidance from the Department of Transport about the design and operation of main roads between towns. The aim was to have traffic moving at a steady speed over relatively long stretches of road between major junctions. A proposed change that resulted in higher speed over a short stretch was discouraged, but we were encouraged to remove bottlenecks. In this way safety was assisted by the calming effect of a smooth flow of vehicles.

Speed limit signs were not regarded as a useful way of slowing traffic; in fact a change of speed limit was only permitted if a survey showed that 75 per cent of vehicles were already moving at or below that speed.

I was once regarded with suspicion near a primary school in Nailsea because I was parked for hours manipulating a gadget in the windscreen, and had to explain that it was not a camera, but a vehicle speed measuring radar.

Speed limit signs and traps are solely aimed against the selfish and dangerous drivers who want to drive faster than what normal people regard as reasonable.

Other hazards, such as children suddenly running from a school gate, require the special warning signs that writers have mentioned.

CHRISTOPHER MAY

Leewood Road, Weston

SAMANTHA Ball of Wansbrough Road is absolutely correct in drawing our attention to the behaviour of those walking on the footpath either side of Wansbrough Road. Whenever one comes to a kerb at one of the many side ‘roads’ one should realise that the motorist entering or leaving said road has priority.

Unfortunately some of the younger pedestrians seem to want to defy the motorist to stop and give way, childlike behaviour, but let’s face it they are children after all. Unfortunately there seems to be an unwritten law, if a child is knocked down on a road the motorist is always in the wrong, and many of these children are aware of this. In some cases however the boot is on the other foot, some motorists consider that when entering to or emerging from a private property, such as the scout hut on Wansbrough Road, (or Sainsbury’s car park on Commercial Way) they are at liberty to ‘mount the pavement’, scattering all before them.

So much for crossing side roads, but we still have the problem of crossing Wansbrough Road itself which at the time school starts is very busy. It is not only children attempting this perilous manoeuvre but frequently young mothers with child in hand and child in buggy attempting to get to the scout hut area where there seems to be a pre-school facility.

What is really needed is a light controlled pelican crossing. If a standard pedestrian crossing was installed there is likely to be a continuous stream of young people using it, causing frustration to the motorist. The pelican crossing along Queensway used by Priory students and adults alike works well, why shouldn’t a similar crossing work on Wansbrough Road

Of course the powers that be will tell us that there is insufficient need as the road is only busy when young people are going to or leaving school. So what? This is not much different from the one on Queensway, mainly used at the same times.

J LUXON

Lyddon Road, Weston

I HAVE heard many comments about the proposed beach huts but am surprised that more has not appeared in these pages.

The two huts on the promenade are very sturdy and really have that Victorian feel about them.

However comments have been very mixed because the big question is where will the council place 100 huts. By their very definition they should be on the beach but that is not practical with the high tides.

The artist’s impression shows the huts on the promenade, facing the sea, but they would take up a third of the space and not have any privacy from the crowds flocking along the prom.

One wag has even said they could be used for the homeless and certainly vandalism could be a problem.

The best suggestion I have heard is that they could be placed near the sand dunes by Royal Sands.

There is good parking with a refreshment kiosk, away from the crowds and no fear of being affected by the tides.

All in all a very good idea but much thought has to be given before final decisions are made.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

WE ARE pleased that Congresbury Parish Council has decided to oppose the proposed housing development by Barratts outside the village boundary (Weston Mercury October 2), which is neither community nor employment led.

The majority buying these houses would commute out of North Somerset, compounding further the already congested roads.

We also have concerns about drainage and flood risks, and the further burden on the current infrastructure.

We urge North Somerset Council to withhold planning permission for this, and any further, major developments unit it has its housing policy in place, to which this proposal would be subject.

G AND M PEARSON

Silverstone Way, Congresbury

WAKE up Winscombe or it is paradise lost. Be warned that six new housing projects for Winscombe are in the planned site allocations of North Somerset Council. These are: Woodborough Farm; Woodborough Builders Yard; Sandford Batch; Coombe Farm; Shipham Lane and The Chestnuts.

Last year Winscombe was selected as best village in the south of England. (www.family.co.uk/hotspots)

Winscombe will be overwhelmed if it is not protected.

The Woodborough Farm site seems to be on the move, now for 184 houses whereas North Somerset originally allocated 100 houses.

In the A38 corridor: Winscombe has six new housing sites; Banwell has four new sites (High Street, Golling Lane, Whitecross Lane and Knightcott Road); Churchill has one at Ladymead Lane; Barton nil; Sidcot nil; Star nil; Burrington Coombe nil; Blagdon nil; Langford nil; Wrington nil; Redhill nil; Felton nil; Winford nil; Barrow Gurney nil; Dundry nil.

This is a real threat to our paradise. Who will stop the threat?

DOUGLAS THOMSON

Church Road, Winscombe

CONGRESBURY is putting up a fight to stop opportunist and predatory developers such as Barratt from building on an open field outside the boundary of the village.

No, before you shout ‘nimby’ we’re not opposed to house building. We believe it should be carefully planned, involve the community and be sustainable and in the right place.

Developers such as Barratt are using what appears to be a total breakdown in sensible planning guidelines to take control away from North Somerset Council to follow there own agenda for profit not for the benefit of the community.

We hope Eric Pickles, who David Cameron described at the Conservative Party Conference as, ‘the big man on the side of the people’ and ‘public chum number one’ to ‘give more power to neighbourhoods to plan the look, the shape and the feel of their area’ will give us his full support.

Great stuff from Mr Cameron but can Eric live up to it. We shall see.

Our community needs your support now Mr Pickles. In May 2014 you may need ours.

ROBIN LEA

Brinsea Road, Congresbury

I WRITE as a supporter of those objecting to the floodlit all-weather pitch Sidcot School seeks to construct in Winscombe so as to assist their competition with other private schools in attracting pupils, and as a former player and president of Winscombe Rugby Football Club and a Winscombe resident for 52 years, with the object of correcting the misunderstandings demonstrated by Mrs Cottey’s letter of last week.

Firstly most of the members of the opposing group are keen on sport and have been long-term supporters both practical and financial of village sport. They are not against the all-weather pitch but simply its location, the school having chosen to reject the alternative site suggested on the school’s main site.

More than 100 letters of objection to the proposal were received from all parts of the village so it is not simply a case of not in my back yard, and the vast majority of the letters of support came from non-resident team players who will bomb in and out of the village.

The location is wrong for three fundamental planning reasons: the access road is dangerously inadequate; the site is too small; and the development with floodlights is too close to the Mendip Hills area of outstanding natural beauty. As a result the development would violate at least 10 policies of the North Somerset Core Strategy and Replacement Local Plan.

The application for the Judicial Review will leave the objectors substantially out of pocket win or lose, and their application for the costs of North Somerset against them if they do lose to be limited to £5,000, is in accordance with the EU’s Aarhus Convention where one of the grounds for the application relates to environmental protection.

GEORGE BERRY

Fox Lane, Sidcot

RECENT opinions about changes and reductions in bus services in Weston have got me concerned about what difficulty this must create for the elderly and infirm, especially on the Hillsides and those ill-served elsewhere.

Did your readers know that other towns have got similar problems and have found a very neat way of making life a little easier for their residents struggling with poor transport links?

For example, Dunfermline, a town not dissimilar in size to Weston, has initiated a very simple reduced taxi fare scheme giving £2 off the charge for the elderly and disabled, and it’s working well.

Our town council could do that easily, and at far less cost than the reported waste on toilet refurbs and doubtful tourism spend.

It’s about time the district and town councils thought more about what real ordinary people need instead of grandiose projects which benefit no-one.

This idea could help so many people to keep their freedom and stay relatively independent.

BEN NICHOLAS

Bailey Close, Weston

MY wife and I were pleasantly surprised to see how Weston has changed.

We used to live in Weston 43 years ago. I used to work at Lawrence Allen, the printers, just off the seafront and lived in a flat on Alfred Street.

The hospital then was at the back of our then home.

We think that you have a town now to be proud of.

JOHN AND BARBARA SOUTHERN

Salcey Square, Walton, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

I HAVE just returned from a very pleasant short break in Weston - thank you Cabot Court Hotel - it is an old stomping ground from my childhood and I love to revisit when possible.

Every time I come I think how sad to see the Tropicana in such a state of neglect, but this time I was encouraged with a headline in your recent paper suggesting that there might be some hope for its future. How lovely that would be for the town and I thought that would be the majority opinion - I was surprised to hear then (via a local that I got chatting to) that there are some councillors who are of the opinion that Weston doesn’t need this facility. What planet are they living on? I know that current health and safety regulations make running such a place more complicated and costly, but surely there are more pros than cons to the idea?

Anyway, I would just like to add my small voice to the argument for its re-opening, even if it’s just the pool with a few retail outlets for snacks, etc, like the ‘old days’.

MAGGIE BUSE

Hartland Road, Port Isaac, Cornwall

THE decision as to whether we get another power station at Hinkley Point is obviously a very important one so far as local and national citizens are concerned. Therefore, we should be able to make the final decision, not the EU, which appears to want to have its fingers in every pie

COLIN HUNT

Ringwood Grove, Weston

REFERRING to the article ‘Health Trust must improve’ reference was made to a CQC report which said that mental health patients ‘were caught having sex at Weston General Hospital’.

We would like to clarify to Mercury readers the Long Fox Unit that was subject to the CQC inspection is not actually in Weston General Hospital’s main building. Long Fox is a separate unit on the trust’s grounds which is run independently by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and has no connection with the hospital or Weston Area Health NHS Trust.

NICK WOOD

Chief executive Weston Area Health NHS Trust, Weston General Hospital, Grange Road, Weston

IT WAS with dismay that I read in the Mercury that Juniper Ward (Long Fox Unit) was found criticised after inspection.

It’s true that the building is old-fashioned but the nurses are caring, compassionate and tolerant. Unfortunately, they have to spend much time in their office doing ‘paper’ work and computing and have less time to supervise the patients closely, or talk to them.

Some of the nurses worked overtime to complete clerical work and they are short staffed, relying on bank and agency people who do not know the patients as well.

MARIA EDWARDS

Christon Terrace, Weston

I WOULD like to tell you of my experience approximately one year ago at Weston General Hospital.

A friend of mine had some pain in his leg, I have had some experience of medical issues and I recognised the bump in his leg as a deep vein thrombosis. We attended the hospital and after triage we waited in the waiting room. Whilst waiting, there were some people who had their feet on the wall as they took up two seats. There was some anti social behaviour. At various times the security staff walked through.

I had noticed many signs proclaiming that staff would not tolerate bad behaviour and violence. I should like to know what the most important people, the patients can tolerate, as there are no signs to be more respectful to each other and the patients.

I noticed there was no sign to say how long the waiting time actually was.

After five hours I walked outside and the sign stated four hours waiting time for A&E.

After six hours the people waiting (with children) were complaining. After seven and half-hours (4.30am) my friend was seen and my diagnosis was confirmed. The whole episode was very traumatic (apart from my friend’s issue).

I duly complained to the hospital and contacted the PALS. Eventually a meeting was arranged.

At the meeting was a matron, the PALS manager and security. They said they would look at signs re bad behaviour, and at better signage outside and inside hospital re hours waiting.

Re security they said they only have two people for the whole site and they have no more power than the average citizen.

Look at better seating, as most of the seating is double seats, which encourage people to lay on the seats.

PALS manager said reference to seven hours wait that from August 1 2013 to January 28 2014 that 24,180 people attended A&E, of these 2.7 per cent waited more than seven hours, 94 per cent were treated in under four hours. She seems quite proud in telling me this.

So 2.7 per cent of 24,180 is around 650 people. To quote to me in percentages looks good, but I feel sure that 650 people would disagree.

After the meeting (at the hospital) I was told that they would let me know when it would be possible to view changes. When I attended I could not find anything that constituted changes.

This took many months of my time attending the hospital, phone calls, etc. The PALS (who I was told would assist me in arranging answers) were in my opinion poor.

After a while I was told the signs were in place regarding respect signs in the A&E department. The signs in question were alongside other signs but were at least a third smaller. I presume the staff is more important than the patients were.

Regarding the other issues raised I was told there is no money to put an electronic sign (which now has a permanent number four written on it with a permanent marker pen).

The seats (too much money to change) and the signage remains poor.

I hasten to add that the staff at the hospital when my friend and I saw them eventually were excellent.

This is not about them but the people in the back office management, etc.

After this I was told if I wish to complain to get in touch with the Ombudsman, which I did, with the help of SEAP which is a body who will help you bring any complaint. After many more months meetings, etc, and a complaint to the Ombudsman they eventually said the hospital followed the procedure and dismissed my complaint.

In all it has taken since attending initially at the hospital one year to go through bureaucracy that in my opinion is weighted clearly in the public body’s favour, and I believe is in place to deter people from complaining in the first instance.

I do not wish to throw metaphoric stones at the NHS indeed I know that they are a find body. My dispute is with the bureaucracy behind it, which negates the good work staff are delivering in the actual service on the front line.

MR D J TINAY

Dunster Crescent, Weston

A SINCERE thank you to the kind person in Winscombe who handed in my rucksack,

phone, wallet, etc, left on the Strawberry Line to the police.

Thank you also to PC Matt Bailey for delivering the rucksack so quickly to my home.

JOHN PAYS

Kent Road, Congresbury

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