Seafront traders urge council to 'think big'

CONCERNED seafront traders are urging people to flood North Somerset Council with letters objecting to the £17million sea wall proposals

CONCERNED seafront traders are urging people to flood North Somerset Council with letters objecting to the £17million sea wall proposals.The council wants to raise the height of the sea wall by 0.2 metres and build a 1-1.5 metre secondary splash wall on the promenade, but traders fear the scheme will destroy their tourist trade and drive them out of business.Representatives from many of the seafront's bars and hotels attended a meeting last week to urge other businesses to join them in opposing the controversial scheme.Martin Woolls, who operates the Bristol Queen pleasure boat, said: "With a five foot wall made of concrete the views out to the bay and of course Steep Holm and Flat Holm will be a thing of the past. This scheme will destroy what is left of our embattled tourist trade."I believe we are at a turning point in the town's history and we must think big. If we don't we will die, it's as simple as that." The traders are pushing for a breakwater and marina scheme which would cost more than £100m, but they feel it would breathe new life into Weston and attract more tourists and investment.But Rachel Lewis, North Somerset's lead officer for the sea wall project, said the Government would not fund such an expensive scheme and she stressed if the sea wall scheme is rejected Weston could end up with a 3m high wall.Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Bell said: "There are other options. I think we've been presented with some false choices. We are not in that situation at the moment. We do have the option of looking at other solutions which will benefit the town and finding the funding to do it."If it fails fair enough, but I'm not satisfied we've looked at every option fully and I don't think we can support the scheme we've got at the moment."Seafront traders are appealing for residents to write to the council opposing the scheme ahead of North Somerset's west area committee on December 14.

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