Letters to the Editor 6 January 2012
PUBLISHED: 09:54 06 January 2012
WHAT an outrage it was to read on the front page of last week’s Weston Mercury of how the council has been accused of ripping up Weston’s flowerbeds in Grove Park and Prince Consort Gardens under the noses of the towns residents after the authority was not expected to start work until at least the spring.
It’s obvious to us all North Somerset Council’s right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
If our tourism industry wants to attract visitors to Weston they must provide attractions, places to visit, glorious scenery and dazzling displays of flowerbeds in our parks.
I have always believed the nicer a place looks, the more people will use it. Our parks are a haven for quiet recreation for thousands of locals and visitors and without the splash of colourful flowerbeds and any attractions Weston will become a ghost town.
With cheaper air travel there is always the chance our repeat visitors, may opt for a bucket and spade holiday on a foreign shore rather than somewhere closer to home.
D F COURTNEY
Victoria Park, Weston
In a spin
I READ in the Mercury last week that the residents have been stitched up again by the council embroidering the truth.
You reported that contractors sewed grass seeds in Grove Park, when they should have sowed the grass seeds. Perhaps they used a needle from a haystack.
If the editor is not in a spin following the thread of this yarn, I hope she has the sense of humour not to turf it out.
Mayfield Avenue, Worle
THANK you to the Mercury for publishing the 12 strays of Christmas (and the two kittens).
Thanks to your help seven of the dogs in the feature, several others not featured and both of the kittens have all been placed into new homes and we are hopeful the others may be soon as we are still getting enquiries.
On a slightly negative note though the RSPCA was upset that in the editorial it states that we are a RSPCA rehoming centre.
This was correct for many years but since the RSPCA has opened its own facilities at Brent Knoll we actually have to work independently and are not in any way part of the RSPCA
From the animals and staff at Whitehouse Kennels thank you and Happy New Year to you all at the paper and to all your readers.
Whitecross Kennels, North Road, Eastertown, Lympsham
WE WOULD like to extend our sincere appreciation for the support given to us whilst collecting for The Children’s Hospice South West on Christmas Eve at the Weston Playhouse.
We held an exit collection following each performance of the pantomime collected a fantastic £477 for which the hospice is very grateful.
Please convey our thanks to all those that contributed to this amount and a special thanks to John Challis and the staff at The Playhouse for their support, without which we would not have achieved such a great result.
We also had the chance to see the pantomime, what a super show. We look forward to next year’s.
Wishing everyone a happy new year.
MIKE AND DENICE PERRIN
Wilde Close, Burnham
HAVING followed the Tropicana saga in your columns for some time, I am still amazed by the many naïve, almost deluded letters that continue to appear, asserting that a new swimming pool is possible on the seafront.
How reassuring it was therefore, to finally read some good sense from Brian Austin and Roger Brown in last week’s Mercury stating that hard-headed realism must take precedence over uninformed sentimentality.
Weston seems to have more than its fair share of armchair experts who are only too willing to opine on the subject without any apparent reference to the facts.
They have clearly forgotten that the old Mace bid failed through a lack of support from vital financial backers and Boot withdrew when funds dried up as the 2008 recession took hold.
Furthermore, the much vaunted Nightingale project foundered as it was simply not financially viable. And yet WJ and J Raynham are typical of those who laughably suggest that “the elected councillors put forward the wishes of the majority of the residents to build a new Tropicana.…”
How do they know there is such a majority with such a wish – where’s the proof? And where do they suggest the money comes from when essential services are being cut and even flowerbeds grassed over for lack of funds?
The Tropicana is nearly 75 years old and has lain derelict for more than a decade. There are serious doubts about the integrity of the structure and rebuilding costs would be unrealistic, even in a time of prosperity.
And a stand-alone swimming pool development is no longer sustainable in these days of multi-feature attractions. Bridgwater’s Sedgemoor Splash was costing more than £700,000 per year to run and had been operating at a loss for years before it closed in 2009.
Much has also been made of the new ‘white knights’ – Messrs Michael, Mead and others - who have galloped over the horizon at the eleventh hour with yet another proposal for the doomed edifice.
If their ideas are so good, where have they been up to now?
And where will they find the finances to succeed in these straitened times when all others have failed? It’s hard to avoid the view that this is merely a cynical exercise to boost their own local profiles and score a political point or two. And in the meantime, the Tropicana continues to moulder and decay – a sad eyesore on an otherwise excellent new promenade in our ever-improving town.
The time is long overdue for the council to finally end this sorry affair and look to a realistic future not a romanticised, outdated past.
Church Road, Winscombe
WHILE I sympathise with W J and J Raynham’s outrage at North Somerset Council’s decision to demolish Weston’s iconic open-air pool, their anger should not be directed at Councillor Tom Leimdorfer, who is the councillor for Congresbury which like Weston lies within the old Winterstoke Hundred.
The open-air pool at Portishead, which is used by people who vote for North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton and which was saved from demolition a few years ago, is actually no more accessible from Congresbury than it is from Weston. Cllr Leimdorfer had the decency to express his views at length in his letter. In my opinion he is wrong, but he treated the people of Weston with respect. That is in contrast to the arrogant way the town is treated by that small kabal which rules North Somerset and is known as the cabinet.
Cabinet member Cllr Tony Lake told the Mercury that he always welcomes the opportunity to explain the reason for the decision to demolish the Tropicana. Of course, he is the same Tony Lake who came out with a load of guff at a public meeting about North Somerset Council’s need to spend council tax money on transferring the library from the Boulevard.
He gave the impression that he had never been inside a public library anywhere, let alone the one in the Boulevard.
He showed no understanding of the geography.
Priory Road, Weston
ONLY the executive of North Somerset Council can give the answers to the questions surrounding the mystery of the Tropicana.
In 2007 the now defunct North Somerset Community Action Party, representing some public minded businessmen, made a public offer on Points West to purchase the Tropicana from the council for £500K. At that time it was estimated it would cost about £6million to refurbish the site and install a simple retractable roof etc.
What I remember from this offer is that when it was disclosed how the remainder of the funding would be raised and how local residents would be asked to help the council saw it as a joke.
The council has now decided to flatten the site, partly due to the dumping of waste from the seafront construction, with the cost to the taxpayer of its removal.
The consequence of the dumping has ensured that one of the most expensive elements of refurbishing the Tropicana, the pool itself, is no longer a basis from which to start refurbishment.
My cynical view is that the dumping was allowed to prevent the redevelopment of the Tropicana, for whatever reason.
Although our elected officials have done extremely well, Weston has never benefited from being part of Woodspring or North Somerset.
The assets given to the town by past generations of benefactors have been squandered, ensuring the downward spiral started at the initial boundary change continues to this day.
JAMES A DOBSON
Swan Close, Weston
IF WE ever needed evidence that North Somerset Council is ruled by a majority of Tory councillors who live out of the town we need look no further than the fact that they are now in the process of decimating our wonderful floral parks.
This is despite the fact that over the last few months Weston Town Council has been negotiating with them about taking over the recreation grounds and parks within the Weston boundaries as part of the national Government’s Localism Bill requirements. Let’s put it this way; if anyone was negotiating to buy a car they would not expect to see the windscreen and headlights smashed part-way through the process.
Weston is the largest town council area in the country and it’s about time that we became an independent unitary authority with our own budgets so that we can look after the interests of our people rather than being subjected to harsh measures that the non-Westonians impose upon us.
COUNCILLOR TONY PROBERT
Weston Town Council
South Lane, Locking