LETTERS TO EDITOR JUNE 16

PUBLISHED: 10:38 17 June 2011

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Congestion

ON THE outskirts of Weston there are two major road traffic problems that have been causing concern for a number of years, namely the increased traffic using junction 21 of the M5 and also the congestion in Banwell.

Both concerns have been the subject of discussion without any final outcome and one suggestion was to create a new motorway junction (21A) at the bridge at Knightcott.

This in itself would not solve all the problems as it would also need a new link road from Knightcott over Puxton Moor to join the A38 north of Churchill.

The main objection to a Banwell by-pass has been that it would increase traffic into Sandford and Churchill but the route I have mentioned would solve this. There would have to be a spur road, from the link into Sandford for use of heavy traffic such as lorries to companies like Thatchers Cider Brewery and also coaches to Churchill school.

Apart from the obvious advantage to Banwell the changes would create a new road from Weston to Bristol and the airport, taking some traffic away from the A370. The whole area could be free of gridlock.

Of course there are downsides, the main problem being financial, and there would also be objections from landowners and conservationists and the obstacles may prove more than a stumbling block. However there is new light at the end of the tunnel with the proposed development of a £50million giant ski park on the old Locking Camp site.

If this excellent idea is given the green light and the proposed development on Weston Airfield goes ahead, then something has to be done about the obvious increase in traffic in the area.

If anybody has blocked arteries then an urgent operation is required and the same applies to the traffic arteries of any area. There is talk and there is action and it is very important that the latter is put into operation, because without action the local economy will face a very bleak future.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

Voted in again

READING last week’s Mercury, June 9, there were a few letters rubbishing North Somerset Council on subjects like The Tropicana, new Tesco store, council pensions, deckchairs in Grove Park, recycling and no Beach Race, almost saying that they were donkeys.

May I remind the readers these are the same councillors that caused these problems before the elections that were voted in again.

They can spend millions on the Town Hall and Clevedon offices.

Thank God they didn’t own the Grand Pier, if they had that would still be a burned-out shell.

MICHAEL WILLIAMS

Hobart Road, Weston

The positive side

ON THE positive side there are many people making an effort for Weston.

Last week at the Blakehay saw another superb production from its own acting company, showcasing local actors and playwright.

In the day I took part in some of the many and varied activities of our Weston U3A and visited the new and excellent reptile zoo in George Street.

The town is on the up, I can’t wait for the Weston lido on the Trop’ site when it gets there, I hope!

CONRAD COLLINGE

Old Banwell Road, Locking

Speed limits

THERE are two different speed limits on adjacent carriageways on Winterstoke Road and Marchfields Way near Drove Road.

If you travel along the 40mph, do a 180 at the roundabout, you are then supposed to do 30mph, but there are no signs.

Then you see the mobile camera. The council man said there were 30mph signs there, but there aren’t. He said: “I bet lots of people have been caught out.”

I have. Am I wrong to be annoyed? I’m sure I’m not the only one who is confused.

DAVID DUNN

Links Gardens, Burnham

Motorcycle rally

COULD someone kindly explain if it’s the fault of North Somerset Council that we are losing the HeliDays from the Beach Lawns to the airport and the Enduro a possible non-runner?

The information office has no leaflet yet or admission price for the HeliDays.

There is also no information in the Mercury publication, Explore, either.

I would like to advise Carters Steam Fair is here from August 6 to September 4 and the Westland Coast to Coast Vintage Motorcycle Rally from Lyme Regis finishing on the Beach Lawns opposite the Tropicana 3-4.30pm on June 26, where our local mayor presents the cups. This event only ever appears to get a mention after it has happened.

MR B KINSEY

Greenwood Road, Worle

Museum collection

IT BEGINS to grate on me that the people responsible for taking apart the Weston Museum collection keep claiming to have ‘saved the museum’, when they have in fact ripped the soul out of it so that it serves no purpose other than to exhibit items simply to be looked at rather like a waxworks without the name plates.

The Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton, now guarding our lost ‘60,000 items’ are first class people who will do their best – but their future as a service is by no means guaranteed.

What I personally can’t be doing with is the smug self-satisfaction of the people whose interference helped create this mess. I include these councillors who failed to understand what their vote meant, through to those whose opinions twisted with the wind so that they could protect their places on pointless committees.

Let me not forget people who actually joined the fight for the museum who ended up wrapping things up to be sent away. You may have your reasons, I still have my pride!

We are promised a brand new version of the museum on the site one day, organised by committee and staffed by volunteers.

Well good luck with that.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

Pension

I WAS amazed to read that North Somerset councillors are in a pension scheme, they obviously think of their duty to the electorate as a career and I think it shows staggering arrogance to assume they will keep getting re-elected.

As a humble taxpayer on just over the minimum wage I totally resent having to fork out for this.

Fair play to all the councillors who have opted out of this scheme and are doing their best to keep costs down.

DONALD MCGREGOR

Dunster Crescent, Oldmixon

Rubbish

WHEN I first moved to Weston all our rubbish, including old fridges and three piece suites, were collected.

Then the powers-that-be decided to stop collecting larger items but did allow us to pay if we needed them to be removed.

We were then issued with wheelie bins and small bins for food waste and recyclable items. These were collected to a carefully designed schedule but which resulted in rubbish piling up for weeks, mind you we did get an apology from the contractors.

Next it wasn’t enough for us to have to sort the rubbish, we then had to drag it to a location near the pavement (perhaps so the collectors could finish a bit earlier?)

You would logically think that each of these moves would help keep our local taxes down but no, we still got increases out of all proportion to our meagre pension increases.

Now finally you can see the result of these changes. Along our potholed streets we find various bags and boxes dumped by the collectors anywhere in their hurry to create profits for the private company employed by our wonderful local council to reduce the cost of the excellent service we used to enjoy some 20 years ago.

What price progress?

G A BARHAM

Partridge Close, Weston

Generosity

SINCE starting my campaign to raise funds I’ve met people from all walks of life.

Some have said soldiers are doing their jobs but we all know people who go the extra mile in whatever jobs they do.

Our heroes certainly do that, they put their lives on the line time and again to keep us safe.

Recovering from surgery and wanting to get back to a good level of fitness, I had intended to ride/walk all the tow paths in Britain by the time I was 60, which is more than 4,000km (2,500 miles).

I asked for sponsorship and set up a ‘Just Giving’ website (have a look on www.justgiving.com/JohnShaw007)

My target was £20,000 before my 60th birthday. However, more than £60,000 has been donated in just 16 months, of which over £50,000 is from Bristol and Somerset residents.

I have been talking to groups about ‘the enemy within’ to raise awareness of cancer its prevention, detection and cure.

If anyone would like to invite me to talk to their organisation about my fundraising, help for Heroes around Britain canal bike ride and/or Granddad’s draw, please get in touch through 01934 741905 and I will be happy to help. All I ask is for a donation to Help for Heroes.

My thanks to everyone for their generosity and support.

JOHN SHAW

Nye Close, Cheddar

D-Day Landings

WHY is it that I saw nothing to commemorate the D-Day Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944, when I walked through the town last Monday, when if you go to Europe, they are so good at showing their gratitude to all the young men ‘who gave their all’ for the sake of the freedom we have enjoyed all these years.

Why are people here so apathetic to such sacrifice, but would not think twice about flying nonsensical football flags from their car windows, or turning on their TVs to watch the non-fiction rubbish dished up.

I would say ‘shame on you’. Take a trip to the real battlefields where the memory will stay with you always and you get a real picture of the true sacrifice made in war, as I do each spring to pay my respects to all those young heroes who did not come home when all they hoped for when they were going into battle was that they survived to go home and have a life with those they loved.

There is so much to know as I’ve discovered.

I am 80. I survived the World War Two but if had not, my lovely family would not exist. I have a lot to be grateful for.

SYLVIA THOMPSON

Harvest Lane, West Wick

Stock rotation

I WRITE in response to the letter on charity which appeared on June 9.

All donated items are sorted to ensure they are safe, saleable and of good quality. We give everything we sell every opportunity to generate much needed income to help our animal centre at Brent Knoll.

We do have a policy on stock rotation and where possible any long term non-selling item is redistributed to another of the shops within the North Somerset branch and only as a last resort do we go down the road of recycling.

All shops within the branch sell clothes and shoes along with books, ornaments, bric-a-brac and other items and this will not change. Oxford Street is no exception, it has an 8ft fixture for books.

Ornaments and bric-a-brac are on shelving around the shop and in the window and other items are located in wooden fixtures along the walls.

All donated goods are always gratefully received and nothing is ever wasted.

SIMON MERCER

Branch shops manager, North Somerset Branch, Locking Road, Weston

Madeleine

MY WIFE and I have just finished reading Kate McCann’s harrowing book, Madeleine. Who could fail to be deeply moved by this family’s continuing agony as they pass the fourth anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction?

Surprisingly, there is little Government support for the McCanns and the continuation of their efforts to search for their missing (now) eight-year-old daughter relies heavily on financial support from the general public.

We are therefore setting up a Weston support group in the hope that there will be a significant number of local people who would like to contribute.

You might also consider raising further funds via coffee mornings, car boot sales, jumble sales, etc., and these could then be sent on to us.

Cheques should be made payable to The Madeleine Fund: Leaving no stone unturned Ltd and can be sent to us at the address below for onward forwarding to the campaign’s headquarters in Leicester.

Gift Aid is, unfortunately, not available since the campaign is only centred on one child.

Let’s put Weston on the map as a centre of generosity. Thank you.

JOHN AND ANNE LEY-MORGAN

20 Elmsleigh Road, Weston, BS23 4JN

Freegle

THANKS to James Franklin and the Mercury for the article about our Weston Freegle event in the Italian Gardens last Saturday.

The weather did us proud and a big thank you to the mayor, deputy mayor and their wives for coming along to support us.

We were also pleased to be joined by Weston Hospicecare and hope to continue working with them to keep things out of landfill, and to save Weston residents loads of money by promoting even more ‘passing on’ of re-usable items.

Thanks to all who brought items along and also to those who took them away to give them another lease of life.

Where should we hold our next Weston Freegle event?

Just one important correction - the Weston Freegle website address is www.westonfreegle.org.uk and we hope that you will join us there!

LESLEY ASMAN

Sustainable Weston Steering Group

Hawthorn Hill, Worle

Public gateway

IT SEEMS that Weston’s purpose-built library in the Boulevard is to be replaced by ‘a new public gateway’ (whatever that might be) in the vacated ground floor of the Town Hall. I wonder where have those offices been re-located?

A spokesman for Alec French, the architects, said that the existing library is well used, but the new library will have more space for books.

That is odd, given that the shelves in the present library have been decimated, and dozens of reference books removed, including the Oxford English Dictionary.

Why not simply transfer most of the computers to the Town Hall and leave the library where it is?

That could be done for much less than £9.7million.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

Town dying

IF YOU want to hear the sound of a town dying on its feet, just pop along to Highbridge. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

It doesn’t take long when travelling from Bridgwater to Weston before you encounter your very first eyesore, about one minute, in fact, in the shape, or shell as it is now, of the old Highbridge (Heartbreak) Hotel, which stands right on the edge of the town.

This hotel was never easy on the eye even when it was open for business, but now, after having been burned down ages ago by vandals and arsonists, it is now just a total abomination.

That it has been allowed to stay in this ruined, burned-out condition for so long by the council is shameful beyond words.

Only a few minutes later, you’ll come across your next eyesore, in the form of the infamous tattoo parlour, with probably the ugliest frontage in Highbridge.

This place is truly frightful and should never have been agreed by the council in the first place.

Both of these buildings are a gross insult and an affront to the decent people of Highbridge and to visitors and passers-by who have the misfortune to look upon them.

The town itself is in need of a complete overhaul, in the form of an additional chemist, a new medical centre, better shops, a cinema, policemen on the beat and not more flats and quick-food takeaways.

JANE ‘BUNTY’ DAWSON

Huntspill Road, Highbridge

aaaaa

WE ARE writing to say a big thank you to all members of the Dying Matters Coalition and to local residents in Somerset for their commitment during Dying Matters Awareness Week in May.

With hundreds of members in the local area and more than 15,000 across England, the Dying Matters Coalition is starting to make a difference to breaking the taboo around discussing dying, death and bereavement. Unless all of us feel more comfortable talking about dying and death, we are unlikely to have our wishes met about how we are cared for and how we are remembered.

By working with care homes, hospices, the NHS, funeral and legal service providers, retirement organisations, charities, community groups and faith and belief groups, Dying Matters is aiming to make good end of life care a reality for everyone. Talking about our plans for the future, wills, funerals and where we want to die is a key part of having a good life and couldn’t be more important. For more information about how to discuss issues dying, death and bereavement please do visit www.dyingmatters.org.

EVE RICHARDSON

Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care

HILARY FISHER

Director, Dying Matters Coalition

National Council for Palliative Care

York Way, London

I AM writing on behalf of Rotary and the hundreds of Rotarians, volunteers and helpers who took part in this very successful event both on the day and in the long months of planning and preparation to express concern and regret that for a few of the parents and participating children from Weston it was marred in their view by the description of the party in the caption that accompanied the photograph in last week’s edition of the Mercury.

The caption commence “Children with learning difficulties in Weston and Worle were given a wild day out...” but that was not strictly correct as the party was made up of children who had been selected by their schools for a variety of reasons including achievement but who were all considered by those schools to be deserving of an outing.

The participating schools are advised in the initial letter they receive from Rotary of the criteria for selection as being primarily for children with special needs between the ages of five and 12 but there has obviously developed a degree of latitude in the interpretation and application of that criteria over the 17 years this event has been running and which perhaps in this instance led to some innocent misunderstandings.

It is not for the participating Rotary clubs or individual Rotarians to enquire into the reasons why a particular child is selected and we rely on the schools for that process and all the children are treated equally. Rotary just continues to do its very best to provide an outing that the children will enjoy and remember.

The event itself went well from the children’s breakfast once again kindly donated by BHS through the Longleat attractions, the lunch and entertainments provided by Rotary and finishing with a ride through the Safari Park.

In total almost a thousand deserving children from across the district took part and we are looking forward now to next year’s outing.

CHRIS CARTER

The Rotary Club of Weston-super-Mare

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