Letters to the Editor, September 24, 2015


Writing - Credit: Archant

DISMALAND is an excellent boost for Weston, and those councillors which allowed it to go ahead are to be congratulated.

However, the fact that Weston, a seaside resort which needs to attract visitors, had a council owned, prime seafront site in a state of dereliction suitable to stage Banksy’s vision of a ruined dream reflects badly on North Somerset Council.


Constable Drive, Worle

LAST week I heard Mr Nigel Ashton on the radio. How smug is that man? He and his council have spent 14 years allowing the Tropicana to become an abandoned and derelict site costing us taxpayers thousands of pounds Then Mr Banksy comes along and sees an opportunity to make some money. So how much will Mr Banksy have to pay? Not a penny says Mr Ashton, not a penny he says proudly as if he had just given a large amount to a charity.

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I would think that being the shrewd businessman that he is Mr Banksy will be going away with between one and three million pounds and Mr Ashton and the council will get the crumbs from sales of snacks and car parking fees.

Banksy’s humour is subtle and ironic but I don’t think Mr Ashton would see irony if it was pinned to the tip of his nose.

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I think the Banksy exhibition is fantastic but we don’t need to pay £3 to see a pile of recycled rubbish. I could take you to the roads behind the Bournville shops or to the back streets in the centre of Weston to show you a pile of rubbish, the only difference is that ours never gets re-cycled! So there you have it, another opportunity missed and Banksy and most of the people of Weston are laughing at Mr Ashton and the council not with them.


Windermere Avenue, Weston

AS THE regular Mercury reports of Dismaland’s success continue, it’s been amusing to read the contortions that the paper’s regular cabinet of council critics perform as they praise the project but can’t bring themselves to give credit where credit’s due. There was a typical example last week when Brian Austin tied himself in knots by saying ‘it’s great that Dismaland is a success’ and then complained that the North Somerset executive was wrong to keep the project under wraps and known to just a few individuals until it opened. But if Mr Austin had even heard of Banksy before, he clearly didn’t understand that secrecy is the artist’s trademark and that his reputation is famously maintained by such anonymity. Furthermore, if details of the project had been revealed prematurely, it would have had none of the electrifying impact that has brought the crowds flocking to Weston from around the world. The Mercury also described our town as ‘buzzing’ from the ‘Banksy effect’, reporting how local businesses and hotels have seen their profits soar since the installation opened. The Cabot Court Hotel’s Chris Partridge summed it up when he said such a ‘boost to the town could be created by the right development’. And surely that’s the point. The Tropicana site has now proved beyond question to be an excellent and profitable events venue. Meanwhile, after many years of trying, the Trop Trust is still unable to submit a viable business plan for a covered swimming pool complex. Surely the prospect of a new beach-front lido and leisure facility is fast becoming even more of an unattainable pipe-dream.


Church Road, Winscombe

MIGHT I use the letters’ column of the Weston Mercury to thank the public spirited person and the council staff for restoring my bus pass and library card to me.


Priory Road, Weston

WE ALL talk about the weather, after all it does affect our lives. The weather governs what we do, where we go and what to wear. It also affects how we feel because if it is warm we have a sunny disposition but if it is gloomy we are just that – gloomy.

Now we have another topic of conversation – the weather men – because it is reported that the BBC are considering ending their contact with the Met Office, even though they have been in partnership since 1922. The service could be out to tender with even foreign agencies invited to apply. It would be interesting to know what forecast would come from Timbuktu or whatever, the whole thing is completely ridiculous and we would get different forecasts from each station.

They often get it wrong anyways so the BBC should rethink its policy – they have relied on the Met Office for nearly a century so what has changed?

When I come back in my next life I would like to be a weatherman. They are paid loads of money, often get wrong and do not get the sack for their mistakes – what a fantastic job.


Clarence Grove Road, Weston

LOCAL councils are often accused of short-sightedness, but I would like to complement the esteemed Burghers of Weston for their foresight in closing the Tropicana some 15 years ago, to allow the Dismaland event to take place and to make way for additional parking in Weston, by demolishing Dolphin Square Market.

Weston has been poorly served by public art (with the exception of the Bournville donkeys and the wooden structures alongside Marine Lake), although we still have the blot on the landscape that is the ‘carrot’ beloved it seems, only by local councillors and which must surely be the most expensive bus stop in the country. We then had a plague of pathetic, plastic painted donkeys, a sandcastle exhibition and the late but not lamented ‘Seven Wonders of Weston’ that were neither wonders, nor with any relevance to Weston.

Nevertheless, Dismaland brings a new level of art appreciation to Weston, with its extraordinary insight into modern Britain. This is undoubtedly a once in a life-time experience – thanks Banksy.


Moorland Road, Weston

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