Letters to the Editor, September 15, 2016

Make our roads a safer place...

At long last we have a quantified public statement about the level of bad driving in our area. One such area, anyway.

I have often suspected that if such statements were made regularly in the Mercury, eg every month, it might go some small way towards reducing the level of bad driving, not just here, but across the UK if all other local newspapers were to do the same thing. It might help even more if, as is the case in some other papers, the names of offenders were published too.

Bad driving: I’m well aware that some readers will dismiss these comments as just another whinge, but while the general public remain almost totally unaware of the total number of daily/monthly/yearly deaths and injuries resulting from bad, dangerous and illegal driving, not a lot will convince them that something urgently needs to be done.

The facts: Drive along any UK road every day, as I do, and you’ll notice (or ignore) the fact that at least 75 per cent of drivers exceed speed limits regularly, some by a long way.


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Giving clear signals before a turn: Less than half of drivers seem to do this, even though a clear signal informs other drivers of your intentions, helps prevent queues forming at junctions, and is the cause of many accidents where no such signal is given.

Driving too close behind the vehicle in front: Sadly, more than 85 per cent of drivers do this constantly, which is why, for example, when some incident happens on one of our motorways it usually involves not just a couple of vehicles, but dozens, all travelling too close to each other at speed.

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Speeding: Speed limits are there for a very good reason, and if you have to ask what that is, you shouldn’t even be driving.

I travel up and down Queensway several times a day, between 6am and 6pm. Most drivers will be well aware that it has 40mph limits, coming down to 30mph at the roundabouts. But at all times of the day you will see drivers coming down Ebdon Road and the top of Queensway at well above 40mph, often above 50/55mph and continuing down Queensway at this rate.

And then there’s the rush hour and school run along the same road, usually towards the M5 motorway or Priory Community School, or both. Between 8am and 9am this traffic is particularly heavy of course, but if you study it you’ll see that some drivers sit right on the tail of others, as if trying to get them to get a move on. If you were a driver trying to do this, it might surprise you to know that, even at a low speed in a crawl of traffic, and if you were to keep more than a car’s length behind the car in front, it would only add about one to two seconds to your journey.

Whereas sitting on their tail and getting involved in an accident when the car in front has to suddenly brake would probably add more than a few hours to your journey, and cost you a bomb in terms of repairs, heavy fines and greatly increased motor insurance.

So there you are, my whinge about motorists and my hope for more public announcements and a resulting drop in bad driving.

Am I a good driver? Well I certainly hope I’m not a bad one, as I had two very good instructors who taught me a few key elements, way back in 1964. My father was an RAF bomber pilot who somehow survived World War Two and taught me to keep my eyes open in all directions at all times when on the road.

Drivers all over the place sending and reading texts on their mobile phones, dozens every day with eyes off the road for several seconds.

My BSM instructor taught me to always give a signal for a change of direction, even if there was no other traffic about because I might not have even spotted the other driver I was about to collide with, who thought I wasn’t going to make a turn because I didn’t give a signal.

He also taught me to stick to speed limits and never exceed them if I could possibly help it. When I drive along motorways at 70mph I’m overtaken by virtually every other car on the road, at 75-90mph.

The end result of all this: In nearly 53 years of driving, often up to 100 miles per day as part my profession, I’ve never had an accident. However, I’ve seen hundreds, with several deaths, all as a result of somebody speeding, driving without care and attention, or travelling too close to the vehicle in front.

Are you one of these dangerous drivers? If so, who will you kill or seriously injure tomorrow, when you least expect it, and are you really aware of how much it will cost you both in terms of cost and physical/mental/emotional damage?

I bet I pay many hundreds pounds less comprehensive motor insurance each and every year than you.

Come on all local papers, print those facts and figures regularly, and help make our area and roads a safer place.

JOHN LILES

Savernake Road, Worle

Time to buy a new calculator

Oh dear! Where did the extra nought come from? 8,000 times £100 is £800k, not £8million. Front page, September 8.

ANDREW HEWITT

Wrington Hill, Wrington

Editor’s note: You are quite right, Mr Hewitt – like a number of other people who got in touch over the past seven days, you correctly spotted an error in our headline last week. The mistake was ours. It has since been amended prior to publication of the online version of the story, and we apologise today for the error in the print headline, and for any confusion caused.

Afraid accidents will happen...

I am writing concerning the new road layout beside St Martin’s School in Church Road, Worle.

If it has been designed to reduce traffic speed, then a 20mph limit would have done the trick, especially with the narrowing of the road beyond the school.

As it is, there is no indication of whose right of way it is, and I am afraid that accidents will happen with the way drivers speed through.

More particularly, attention should be drawn to reducing speed in Church Road, which drivers use as a race track at times.

DOUGLAS MITCHELL

Church Road, Worle

Perfect place for a coach station

With the Dolphin Square development under way, I think the development should have a coach station.

There is nowhere really for coaches to go and it could be beneficial for the town if there could be a drop-off point at Dolphin Square.

More people could come to Weston and be able to leave Weston easily and it would give it more appeal.

I worked as a coach driver and Dolphin Square seems like a perfect place to have a coach station.

JOHN SMALLWOOD

Sunnyside Road North, Weston

Time to act on illegal caravans

With Locking Road car park being emptied of caravaners this week, will the council be as interested in the camper van owners from parts of the UK who think that the toll road is a caravan park?

MATT GODWIN

Highland Close, Worlebury

Shocked at the amount of litter

I totally agree with Keith Clarke about the messy state of Moor Lane, as well as other areas of Weston Village. Good for him doing a sterling job pulling trolleys and rubbish out of the rhynes and doing his bit to tidy up the area.

I certainly wish there was a way to get the powers-that-be to take responsibility for dealing with the accumulation of litter before the water gets completely choked up.

When we moved to Weston Village last September I couldn’t believe the amount of rubbish around the estate – particularly during the winter months.

I spoke with our local councillor, who informed me that Moor Lane was unadopted by North Somerset Council (NSC), and remained the responsibility of the developers, Persimmon. I have also been informed by NSC that the rhynes are the responsibility of the Environment Agency.

I am unsure whether Moor Lane is now adopted, but I believe that NSC has done some litter-picking along there and recently removed the items fly-tipped in the rhynes, as well as many trolleys.

The local councillors do seem very proactive and I understand they have liaised with Morrisons in an attempt to get them to take responsibility for their property, although it is frustrating that progress in resolving this issue is so slow.

It is really irritating that people continue to drop litter, added to the items blown from the open recycling boxes and spilt by the bin men during collection.

Councillor Payne has organised several litter picks this year, the first in March concentrated on Moor Lane, and it was very satisfying pulling rubbish out of the rhynes and hedgerows. Although it’s rained every time I’ve taken part, I’ll certainly be at the next litter-pick in October – look out in the area for notices giving details.

With the financial pressures on all councils it seems that communities will have to become as involved as possible in maintaining their local environments – although I doubt the council tax will be reduced to compensate, and I draw the line at weeding the pavements along Griffen Road, despite them sorely needing it.

SANDRA O’GORMAN

Longridge Way, Weston

Lucky to have our dedicated NHS

I am writing to express my gratitude to the many staff of the Weston General Hospital who cared for my late husband Raymond Andrews.

For a good part of this year he spent most of the time in Hutton Ward, Cheddar Stroke Unit and finally Berrow Ward where he sadly passed away on August 12.

My special thanks to those three wards for caring not only for my husband, but myself too.

They deserve our special thanks for their dedication and we are lucky to have great doctors and nurses in the NHS.

EILEEN ANDREWS

Cornwallis Avenue, Worle

We lived in rat-infested huts...

Interesting to see the piece about the Severn Bridge. As well as making travel to and from Wales easier, it is probably not realised how much the life of the Army apprentices at Beachley Point improved.

Prior to the bridge, we lived in rat-infested huts built shortly after World War One. Each hut had a double fireplace, one each side of a central chimney which was always known as ‘The Cenotaph’. The coal ration would last for the weekend at best so we had to scavenge firewood.

The accommodation blocks which were built to replace the huts which had to be demolished had central heating. What luxury.

J LUXON

Lyddon Road, Weston

Loss of view a small price to pay

It is about time that regular correspondent Ted Clark and his merry band of Congresbury NIMBY’s accept that the supply of housing needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.

Why should Congresbury be exempt from new development when the village can easily accept a few more residents?

Congresbury is ideally situated for the M5 and is on a regular bus route to Weston, Bristol and beyond. A national rail link and airport are within five miles.

The village has five good pubs within a two-mile area and plans to develop the cricket club are in hand.

There are two excellent secondary schools within five miles and a new doctor’s surgery two miles away in Langford.

The village boast arguably the best butchers and bakers that you could find anywhere, as well as a Tesco and a well-equipped convenience store.

I cannot think of a better place than Congresbury for new development. I’m sorry Ted if the view of the Mendip Hills may be blighted; it’s a small price to pay.

TONY WATTS

Mendip Road, Yatton

Leave plenty of journey time...

As you can see I live in Weston, but I went to Burnham visiting friends recently.

It was wonderful going and no problem; I went from the ‘carrot’, where the number 20 bus starts from at 9.40am.

I had a lovely day but the return journey back to Weston words fail me. A lot of people waited over an hour or more. We saw plenty of number 21 buses but no number 20 and very few and far between.

If people in Burnham have appointments in Weston it would be wise to get a bus the day before.

MRS M P SMITH

Ewart Road, Milton

Thank you for kind donations

Once again I am writing to thank the lovely people of Weston who generously donated £107 to Moon Bear Rescue at our Saturday collection.

To date we have release 600 bears from their excruciating existence on bear farms in China and Vietnam.

These bears are the lucky few to be rescued – there are still hundreds more that need our help. We will work tirelessly until this is achieved.

Thank you again.

TONY DAVIS

Weston Moon Bear Rescue Group, Dovetail Drive, Weston

Broom and soap are not expensive

Regarding a letter recently in the Mercury talking of the issues on the Oldmixon.

Alliance Homes will only contact the tenants if they are informed; there is a minority of people that consider it very normal to live in a particular way.

Alliance is vey good at maintaining its houses, solar panels etc, which means the residents who own property can only look on in envy.

What infuriates them is some Alliance tenants’ attitude to personal cleanliness (front gardens neglected, rubbish allowed to foul not only their own gardens but the whole estate, wind blown debris and assorted fly-tipping).

Of course there is a plethora of privately rented houses, which the owners rent out; they have no interest only in the rental income they make. There is nobody to complain to (as you can with Alliance).

The council says it is private and has no interest in taking an active role in asking the landlords to control the behaviour of their tenants.

Homeowners also add to the issue as all homeowners are not keeping their front gardens clear, including rubbish in the gutters and roadway.

The council of course sweeps the roads, but it will not prosecute anyone as it’s expensive.

They cannot see the rubbish from the Town Hall. Alliance also cannot see that same rubbish from their headquarters in Portishead.

For the record I was born and brought up in state-sponsored housing. My mother would be appalled (if she were alive) if she could see how people are treating the area in which they live. While being poor, as we were, broom and soap were not expensive.

I would urge all involved to examine their consciences. It is not right that children, or indeed everyone else, who lives there be exposed to this unhealthy state of affairs.

I would add the police have a role to play in this too. Just turning up to a monthly meeting with all the agencies involved and paying lip service does not absolve them from all their responsibilities – it is against the law to fly-tip.

I have found over the years Alliance to be the worst offender, as they rarely monitor and issuing a good tenant agreement at the outset is clearly not working.

DAVID TINAY

Dunster Crescent, Weston

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