Letters to the Editor, April 16, 2015

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:00 17 April 2015

Archant

WELL done Briana Millett for your article on April 9 highlighting the housing 'crisis' in North Somerset.

No further evidence is needed to show the house building situation is out of control. The housing developers are calling all the shots to do pretty much as they please, wherever they please to enable huge profits to be generated whilst destroying the Somerset countryside and hoodwinking young people into believing they are building ‘affordable’ homes for ‘local young people’ in the Somerset villages.

Priority for the ‘affordable’ homes will not be given to local people from the village in which they presently live but to whoever is top of the housing list in Weston or wherever.

North Somerset Council (NSC) is eventually waking up to the chaos it has created but now it could be too late. The developers have taken the initiative and they have the money and determination to push through their plans.

Central Government appears to have recognised all is not well in the countryside but seem indifferent to anything apart from what happens in London and the South East.

The overall result is lose – lose for everyone. Local young people will not get the opportunity to buy ‘affordable’ homes, rural villages and communities will be turned into urban sprawl losing any identity they ever had, communities that once cared for each other will be turned into faceless towns, roads will be turned into rat runs where human beings are in fear of crossing the road.

In many of the villages there are few employment opportunities, inadequate transport and roads, insufficient school places, few shops and no entertainment. What this means is people will need to travel, increasing the use of cars on the roads and increased commuting.

Surely, before building massive estates some thought should be given to whether the infrastructure is capable of handling all this?

NSC has got to stand up and be counted and listen to the views of the people it claims to represent.

The days when councillors made the decisions on the basis of ‘we know best’ and to hell with the general public are surely over. The public have the democratic right to be listened to and their views incorporated in the decision making process.

Thank you Weston Merc for your support and please keep it up. The county, countryside and rural villages need all the help they can get to come up with sensible answers to these issues.

Why does Radio Bristol and BBC TV Bristol consistently ignore what is a major issue in their broadcast area?

ROBIN LEA

Brinsea Road, Congresbury

IT IS no wonder that ‘alarm bells are ringing’ about the ‘open season’ for developers which our communities in the southern half of the North Somerset district face (Weston Mercury, April 9).

We are told that Weston will get up to 5,000 houses and the surrounding villages getting on for 2,000. North Somerset as a whole has been told that it must take 21,000. Thus, Weston and the neighbouring villages are expected to take a third of the housing. We are told that 5,000 will be built in the centre of the town.

The prospect is dreadful. The last thing Weston needs is whole load more of Carlton Mansions creating dark windy canyons in the centre of the town.

Are there really 5,000 unhoused people in Weston? I don’t think so. That means that the idea is to suck in more residents from elsewhere. If those people are of working age, where will they find work? Not in Weston, that’s for sure. If they are elderly, which is more likely, what provision has been made to cope with the extra load on the local health service and council care services? Weston is already struggling in both these areas.

If 5,000 houses are to be built in one town, Portishead should take the bulk of them. It would make more sense for those areas within the Greater Bristol half of North Somerset to receive them, because most of the new residents will find their employment in Bristol. The sense of housing most of the new folk in Portishead will be seen to be even more rational, when the Portishead railway line has been reinstated for commuters in a couple of years time.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

I WONDER how many other motorists like myself feel about the alterations being carried out on the town end of Walliscote Road near the Town Hall.

This site has been in operation for weeks if not months. First we were informed that it would be open to traffic by March 27 then by Easter and now, still no firm date given. Apart from the huge disruption factor, let’s also consider the increase in everybody’s fuel consumption, caused by the imposed detours.

These works have obviously benefitted from over-generous budget allocations, why else when you drive past the site, is it regularly either completely unmanned, or the ‘workmen’ are standing about, chatting, joking about or generally doing nothing.

The words that come to mind are scandal, outrage and taking the public for utter fools. No doubt the heavy hand of North Somerset Council is present in all this.

MICHAEL BARCLAY

Clevedon Road, Weston

ON ONE of our several trips to Weston recently, I took the time to view the beautiful resort where I once spent many years with my grandparents. They were the happiest days of my life.

On looking around, I find the beautiful beach lido, gone. It is where I was taught high boarding up to county standard. I see the beach boating pools, gone, the toilets on the prom, gone, the Royal Pier, gone. Several beautiful hotels that’s enhanced the resort, gone. The beautiful Birnbeck Pier, once, a great asset, to the resort’s economy falling into oblivion. So many memorable and exciting facilities, gone.

Now the tea dances at the Winter Gardens where I enjoyed many visits with my aunts and uncles, gone.

What are the authorities doing? Should they now be getting out to speak with the residents and people who visit and care.

I still hold the once beautiful resort in my heart and hate the lack of interest shown by folk without vision.

The long promise of a new Tropicana, where I am able to show my grandchildren the delights of a once beautiful resort, and could still be.

DENNIS J TAYLOR

Club Row, Ystrad, Pentre, Mid Glamorgan

I’VE been working through pictures from the 1950s, as the town was starting to recover from the ravages of war, a time when local and national government had very little money to play with and there was still no surplus food one could afford to throw away.

I clearly remember how buddleia added colour to bomb sites such as ‘Lance’s on High Street corner and the area where the tax office now stands, and how odd now to note the drab clothes we all wore although ladies could work wonders with limited materials.

What a response there was after 1955 when things improved and we teenagers invented ‘Teddy Boys’ (and variants) and enjoyed the colourful opportunities of youth.

But what the pictures underlined was our ability to look after our public spaces, the well-kept parks and cared for grass areas such as the Beach Lawns. How well maintained are those roads, pavements, and shopfronts along with the three cinemas, two theatres, and various other communal areas driven by the knowledge that we had to work together if we wanted to progress from the murk into a brighter future.

Of course we had one big advantage back then in that anyone who wanted to become a manager, or person in charge, was expected to be able to do the jobs that their employees had to do. Well there you go – a wealth of expertise combined with pride in their work no matter how mundane, and now you can get paid an awful lot for doing very little and knowing even less.

Funny old world.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

THE Weston Mercury is quite correct to show an unbiased political view in the run up to the May elections – leave that to the national press.

The newspaper reports that there will be a Mercury guide to the elections on line but it is worrying that there is no mention of details being available in print.

This time the elections are very confusing because not only are there three elections, for Parliament and the two council elections for North Somerset and Weston Town but there are more parties, more candidates and in many cases changes to ward boundaries.

Political leaflets through the letter box are also confusing and it would be wrong if the Mercury did not give more clarification to its readers.

There are still many readers who do not use modern technology and they look to the Mercury to guide them through this election minefield.

Please do not abandon your loyal readers who buy the paper each week because to do so is showing bias towards them. Many of those who do not go on line are members of the grey army who are more likely to go to the polls than younger people and they deserve more respect and help.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

YOUR reports on this year’s May 1-10 North Somerset Arts Week refer to contributions from local photographers and film-makers.

I would like to mention that local voluntary groups have been informed that community films are wanted for the Film Weston community festival that will be running during Arts Week.

The idea is to use film to bring the community together and Film Weston is looking to reflect the history and diversity of Weston’s communities.

Films and photographs should critique, celebrate or comment on our lives, reflecting our different religions, ethnicities and communities.

Community groups, organisations and individuals are invited to submit items of any genre or format.

Any films or photographs sent to the North Somerset Faith, Community and Cultural Forum at nsfccf@btinternet.com will be passed directly to Film Weston.

DR MIKE KELLAWAY-MARRIOTT

Secretary/Treasurer, North Somerset Faith, Community and Cultural Forum (NSFCCF)

Centre of Diversity and Culture (CODAC), Orchard Place, Weston

NORTH Somerset Council quite rightly make a big thing about recycling and keeping our streets clean by proper rubbish collections and I have always supported this as a way of saving money and reducing landfill.

I moved home last November to a place where there were no bins at all. I was given grey sacks because the previous residents were disabled and that was the best way for them, but I am not disabled. Yet I have been ringing and e-mailing the council since December 3 asking for a wheelie bin and recycling bins and all they say is I have grey sacks.

I have to trek down to Tesco to recycle my rubbish. Why won’t they let me recycle?

If they want to walk down to my flat to pick up a grey sack that’s fine but please give me recycling bins.

JULIE GOULD

Clarence Road North, Weston

LAST week you carried two reports which showed the contrast between the quality of care offered to elderly vulnerable people in care/nursing homes with the award for Lyndhurst Park from carehome.co.uk opposite the improvements required by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at Rosamar care home.

Weston has one of the highest concentrations of care homes in the UK and with an ageing population the care home sector can only expand. As many relatives will tell you the cost of care is very high and many elderly people will deplete their savings to pay for it. The quality of care often varies hugely and care home staff are often low paid and undervalued. The CQC is under-resourced and does not carry out frequent checks.

Whilst there are good care homes many people believe the sector is fragmented with insufficient oversight and it’s time for a thorough review. Some care home owners are effectively absentee landlords, taking the profits from homes but having little involvement in the daily running or care of residents. I believe this has to change and call for an urgent national debate on the future of elder care in the UK.

In Weston Help-in-Care.com will be leading the debate and encourage local residents to contact us at www.Help-in-Care.com to join the conversation.

PAUL K DOOLAN

Director Help-in-care.com

The Hive, Beaufighter Road, Weston, BS24 8EE

OVER Easter I went up to my parents’ grave in Congresbury churchyard and removed the pots of daffodils which had finished flowering and replaced them with two green planters full of different coloured pansies.

I have just been back there and over half of them have been pulled up and taken away. Surely no one in Congresbury would stoop so low as to steal flowers from a grave in the churchyard. I wonder if anybody else has had this happen.

TED CLARK

Chestnut Close, Congresbury

ON MARCH 17 I was admitted to Weston General Hospital for the removal of a gall stone that had blocked a duct that is shared with the liver and gall bladder.

This stone was stopping my liver and gall bladder from emptying efficiently and I expected to be in for just one night.

The procedure was an ERCP but as with all procedures and operations there is a risk of complications.

I was unlucky and went down with pneumonia and mild pancreatitis which became acute, resulting in a 13-night stay in Hutton Ward.

The level of care, attention and information given to me by the registrars, doctors, members of intensive care and the nurses and all staff in Hutton Ward was exemplary. I made my thanks clear to all concerned but wanted to make it a matter of public record. Thanks again to them all.

DENNIS HEWITT

Claverham Road, Yatton

ONCE again mindless youths have trashed this much used and loved café.

This time at 4am on Friday. One poses several questions namely - what were these youths doing out at that time of night? Where were the CTV cameras?

Unfortunately, as we are too often aware, even if these offenders are eventually caught the courts will only be able to ‘smack them on their wrists’ and/or fine them - and we all know that this is no deterrent.

John, who has leased this café for many years, has worked so hard to make the residents and visitors to Grove Park able to enjoy the facilities he offers. He also books and pays for the bands throughout the summer months which gives so much pleasure to so many. I for one salute him for never giving in to the numerous times

he has had to clear up and make good the damage to his café. You are a true ‘ambassador’ for our wonderful town, John. God Bless you and thank you from us all.

CHRISTINE BURNS

Locking Road, Weston

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