Letters to the Editor, October 15, 2015


Writing - Credit: Archant

I READ with interest to the recent letters received relating to our Sentinel Steam Bus.

For the point of clarification in response to the local resident’s letter, Elizabeth is the only passenger-carrying licensed steam bus to be in operation, while I understand there are others (two) our Sentinel is one of great rarity as she is a the only double axel ‘Super’ Sentinel DG6P.

Elizabeth is also unique to operate under a Vehicle Special Order from which an Act of Parliament had to be changed to enable Lizzie to grace our roads under PSV operation.

It would be good to be clear that this is the only steam bus of this type which survives. The Super Sentinels again of this type are very rare, from which we only know of one survivor which remains in her lorry formation but has not been seen for years.


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Crossville Motor Services Ltd

Westland Distribution Park, Weston

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MY wife and I would like to express our very grateful thanks and say a very big thank you to everyone who stopped and helped to rescue our bearded collie that had fallen some 10ft down an open manhole at Locking Parklands on September 13.

We would like to give our very special thanks to the crew from Weston fire station that came to help and particularly the fireman who went down into the manhole and helped to lift our dog out.

Apart from a small cut on his nose and one on the top of his head, our dog is fine and fully recovered from his adventure.


South Road, Weston

I WOULD like to thank Dr Mohamed Seklani, and his wonderful team for such a thorough and quick response after diagnosing my lung cancer.

The treatment I’ve had has been first class at Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Weston General Hospital.

My consultant, Mr Rakesh Krishnadas and his team at the BRI were absolutely dedicated and wonderful. Thank you all.


Severn Avenue, Weston

ON reading the article in last weeks Mercury regarding tree roots that have been discovered on the development of an all weather sports pitch in Winscombe, I had to check my calendar to see if it was April 1!

I can only assume Mr Lake is a member of an action group for the protection of tree roots or has a vested interest in delaying the development. With all the problems in the world including millions of children living in poverty and starvation, it seems to me that Mr Lake would be better devoting his considerable time and energy to a more worthwhile cause.


Wimblestone Road, Winscombe

CAN you ask the council how is it there isn’t a beach guard to patrol up and back on the sand, just to inform and stop people walking out? I will do it if they waive my bedroom tax gladly.

It’s no good contacting the council for us mere locals, they never reply, but yourselves might get some response.


Park Place, Weston

DO the campaign group behind restoring the once-beautiful Birnbeck Pier, and yourselves carrying a front page story promoting it, really want to be associated with Justin Lee Collins?

This man was only convicted in 2012 of sexually harassing and assaulting his then girlfriend Anna Larke. Violence against women must be stamped out, and I suggest Mr Collins is not currently a suitable role-model for the pier campaign, despite his loose ‘local’ connection.


Highbury Road, Weston

A SIMPLE win, win solution to the beach hut debate would be to move all the huts back across the promenade closer to the road. Beach users could then people watch, strollers could nosey into the huts, each group could chat to the others about the shared views, the weather etc. Let’s be inclusive and not promote the exclusivity and resultant grumbles caused by the current location. As a good example, take a wander along the front at Mudeford to how relaxed promenading really works. Secondly, move the wonderful sand sculptures along a bit, so that the Victorian shelters face the view of the beach as originally intended. And thirdly, how about a Christmas market (and similar events) sited in the Tropicana. Banksy for mayor!


Gordon Road, Weston

RE: The rise in school absence fines being issued. I quote from the article in the Mercury, October 8 ‘even short breaks from school can reduce a pupil’s chances of succeeding by as much as a quarter’.

On a teachers training day many pupils are being deprived of a day’s tuition, yet presumably this is not considered to have any effect on their education and throughout the year there is probably going to be more than one training day, I would think, and even a day could be called a ‘short break’.

It does not seem to be completely fair and just a bit one sided. However I expect the money from the fines is a nice little earner.


The Swallows, Locking Castle

THE saga of beach huts in Weston rumbles on with many residents and visitors alike unhappy with them being placed on the promenade. It is unusual for councillors to admit the mistakes but it appears that they are having second thoughts. Television news reports tell us that North Somerset not only agree that the huts are bigger than the planning laws allow but also that the replacement is not suitable. More huts are on the way and the council are considering placing them in front of the SeaQuarium which presumably means that they will still be on the promenade. I think people are mad to lease them but as one of the advantages is a sea view I am sure they would be unhappy with nothing but a view of buildings. The council still seem not to understand the meaning of the words beach huts when the very definition of the huts means they should be on the beach. The trouble in Weston is that it has one of the largest tides in the world and therefore much of the beach is often covered in water. I have written before that the best position for the huts would be near the sand dunes by Royal Sands, an area that is away from the promenade, reasonably safe from the tide and with plenty of car parking. As far as I know this is not even under consideration but I do know that many people agree with me.

The strange thing is that during my many walks on the promenade I have yet to see any mad hutters in residence so why would anybody lease these windowless sheds and not use them.

On another subject there is a signpost on the promenade pointing towards Clarence Road North, directing visitors to Clarence Park and Whitecross Road shops. Yes – this is the way to the park but no – not to the shops. In fact visitors would have to walk a mile including the footbridge over the railway line before they find a shop - in Drove Road. It may seem a trivial point but twice a week I have redirected visitors who have become lost. Heaven knows how many others have found themselves wandering around.


Clarence Grove Road, Weston

WHEN I first saw Dismaland on TV I thought, I want to see this. Banky’s a good artist. So one weekend me and my mother drove to Weston and on entering Weston saw the massive queue to get in. However that didn’t deter me. I parked my car for a four hour stay and walked to the lines. I asked one of the security guards if I could wait to get a ticket, her reply was ‘you will be lucky, its mostly online tickets, wait if you want’.

But even the online ticket queue was right back to the Grand Pier. So feeling very disappointed I drove home. People said wait a few weeks it won’t be so busy then. I haven’t got a computer so I asked four people if they could get two tickets for me. But that also proved impossible.

I thought all those famous people can get in, so why can’t I?

I have been coming to shop in Weston since I was a child, now at the age of 54 I can’t get to see this.

A person flew in from another country, gets a ticket to Dismaland and then flew back home and raves about it. Yet from Burnham I couldn’t get in, how stupid is that. Whatever replaces Dismaland I hope it’s better organised. No wonder the Tropicana has been empty for so long, this was a proper mess.

They say they made £20million from Dismaland, so why did they not keep it going until Christmas? They could have made £100million.


Westfield Lawn, Burnham

GOLF is being reintroduced into the Olympics in Rio, and I have been researching the first Olympic golf tournament at Paris in 1900. One of the twelve players who took part was George Thorne of Weston Golf Club. The following may be interesting as a local history item in the newspaper. Here is information concerning the two main contenders - but who was this mysterious man who played in the historic first ever golf match?

French newspapers reporting on the Olympics stated that George Thorne represented the Weston Golf Club (Somerset), and a George Thorne played for Weston Golf Club in a match against Ivythorne GC in 1901.

A George Thorne died aged sixty at 7 Highbury Parade, Weston, on June 23 1907, and is buried in St Mary’s churchyard at Hutton. His wife, Miriam, died in 1910. His father, also George, was born in Bristol in 1810, and after emigrating to Australia he became president of the Sydney Stock Exchange. He died in 1891. George junior had been born at Balmain, Sydney, on September 3 1846, the son of George Thorne of Castle Hill and Sydney, and his wife, Elizabeth Ann (formerly Bisdee). It is recorded that George left Sydney to start a new life in England only three months before he died. Nevertheless, he could have been in Paris in 1900 for some reason.

The census also records that an accountant named George Thorne lived in Weston in 1901 and 1911. He died in Leicester 18 April 1943, aged eighty-three, and is buried in Weston Cemetery. Unfortunately, there is no mention of golf in their obituaries.


Liverpool Road, Eccles

I SALUTE the way the Weston Mercury has teamed up with the Royal British Legion (RBL) to help recruit 100 volunteers who can give as little as one hour a week to selling poppies for this years poppy appeal in Weston.

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 lie dormant for many years but can suddenly spring up when the 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-service men and women, or disabled relatives of forces personnel make nearly 48 million poppies, 100,000 wreaths, 750,000 crosses and 650,000 larger poppies at a small factory in London set up by Major George Howson in 1921 to offer work to unemployed disabled ex-servicemen.

Sadly in today’s uncertain world more lost young lives are almost inevitable but one thing is for certain, we’ll go on wearing our poppies with pride for all our fallen heroes over the years.

I urge everyone out there in Weston to dig deep into their pockets and give generously to the volunteers and buy a poppy.


Victoria Park, Weston

READING in the Mercury I noticed that F Smith had pointed out that Dolphin Square had been demolished for five years. Well this is quite untrue, work started in February 2013 to clear Dolphin Square, so sorry to have to disagree with F Smith.

I would have hoped by now that new business would be taking place instead of the land lying empty.


Sand Road, Sand Bay

THE front page headline in last week’s Weston Mercury drew attention the increasing pressure on health services in the area and yet the Government is enforcing the county of North Somerset to build almost 21,000 houses. Our county can barely cope now.

I attended the Barrett appeal at the Town Hall on Friday and listened to how Barrett intend to reorganise the junction by the village Cross in Congresbury to accommodate their proposed building of 80 houses on Brinsea Road. It includes crossing the High Street by the cross in stages, from small traffic island to small traffic island and would mean standing very close to the traffic.

Driving home I waited behind two large lorries also approaching Congresbury on the A370 coming from the direction of Weston. Coming towards the lights at the village cross from the Bristol direction was a large tanker. Glancing down towards Brinsea Road I could see three lorries waiting at the lights, and all of this mixed in with various cars and vans. Added to this were the families walking to and from the school to collect their children, with various pushchairs and younger toddlers. I wonder how many of those children will ever be able to afford any of the four and five bedroom houses that some people would like to build outside the village boundary?


Verlands, Congresbury

DEAR Robert thank you for your letter to last week’s Mercury. I welcome your comments and everyone else who wrote to me and the council regarding the positioning of the beach huts. As I am sure you are aware the council has had to find new and innovative revenue streams to maintain services, especially as central Government funding has reduced. The beach huts is one such scheme which raises tens of thousands of pounds each year and significantly contributes towards council resources, which in turn benefits the whole community. Though in principle I also support the idea, like many other residents share some concern regarding their positioning and I was happy to put these concerns forward for review, which I see as my responsibility as a councillor.

Robert, I know you are a seasoned and long serving councillor which I respect and we all welcome your contribution. However I’m sure you also sense that times and attitudes are changing. As a council and as those who serve the community as we do, we have to embrace this tide of change and the expectations of those who voted for us. Residents want and rightly expect to make a contribution and be part of a solution, which I strongly support, that’s why reviews are so necessary. It is my biggest wish moving forward that as councillors we adopt this change and work together as one to represent residents, support Weston and North Somerset to grow the shoots of prosperity, while supporting services. In my view anything less is simply unacceptable. The old approach of leaving it to others to be part of the conversation and then later commenting on the process, I very much hope, will be a thing of the past. Indeed I’m sure you are aware you could have asked for the very same review as I did and at any time. I know old attitudes die hard but I strongly feel things have to change and above everything, old rivalries should never compete with putting the community first.


Aisecombe Way, Weston

SEVEN words ‘Knowing that I do not go online…’ in Geoff Malham’s letter (Oct 8) saddened me rather. Why not go online? It’s a place of wonder and amazement and enjoyment and usefulness!

‘Too old’ is no excuse, I’m about to enter my eighth decade. ‘Too risky’ is avoidable, crossing the road is risky but we still do it. ‘Too expensive’ is not necessarily an issue as all libraries have computers for free public use. ‘Too difficult’ is overcome by using AgeUK’s ‘Breezie’ tablet. I look after one; it belongs to Weston U3A – University of the Third Age, who, in addition to many other subjects run ‘Computers for Beginners’ groups. If anyone wants to see ‘Breezie’ in action give me a call on 01934 522905.


Hawthorn Hill, Weston

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