Letters to the Editor, August 16, 2012

PUBLISHED: 09:25 17 August 2012

letters_new

letters_new

Archant

Legacy

WOULDN’T it be wonderful if, in the wake of the uplifting Olympic Games, all the warring parties could set aside their antagonism and give Weston a legacy it aches for: a roofed lido pool?

The Radmilovic, Olympic Pool.

DR HOWARD AND ROSIE SMITH

Stafford Place, Weston

Official

SO NOW we know, and it’s official – finally, there is no good reason to stop the demolition of the Tropicana.

The Secretary of State’s decision is the latest confirmation that North Somerset Council (NSC) has acted correctly throughout this long-running saga.

First, the independent DTZ report stated that Trop (WSM) Ltd’s plan was financially unviable.

Then, the High Court threw out its appeal as ‘unarguable’, awarding costs to NSC as an indication of the strength of the council’s case.

And finally Eric Pickles, the man with the ultimate say has declared that ‘the net effect of the demolition of the Tropicana and its return to beach and sea wall would have a positive impact on the conservation area.’

Not only that, but Mr Pickles’ report also recognised the efforts that the council has made over the years in attempting to redevelop the Tropicana site.

But, rather than accept the decision made by due democratic and legal process, Trop (WSM) Ltd is determined to squander more scant public funds on a pointless injunction.

I’m no lawyer, but after all its previous failures, it’s hard to see what will be gained by such a spiteful action, other than to further postpone the inevitable outcome.

The only people who’ll be smiling at the end of this disgraceful, costly, time wasting nonsense will be the lawyers.

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

Listened

I HAVE been reading about the demolition of the Tropicana for a while and I think I have to have my say. I have always been led to believe that the council is voted in by the people and on behalf of the people.

If that is the case why has the council not listened to the people?

I believe that the council is turning a deaf ear to the people about the Tropicana by spending too much money and time moving to Clevedon.

Why move to Clevedon when they have perfect offices in Weston?

With the amount that it has cost to move everything to Clevedon they could have rebuilt the Tropicana.

I take my hat off to the people who are trying to save it and I wish them well and hope they save it for the good of the town.

I know that there have been a few good ideas put forward but the council always says no.

I only hope that the councillors listen to the people by going on the streets to ask the people about how they feel towards this landmark in our town.

It is them that have let us all down, it is the councill who gave permission for rubble to be dumped there while the sea defences were being built, so they have to take the blame.

So all I say to the councillors is listen to the people.

GARY SMITH

Saville Crescent, Weston

Confirmed

ERIC Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has confirmed who a Tory Government always looks after.

He has agreed with his Tory buddy the North Somerset Councillor Elfan Ap Rees and Co that they can go ahead and demolish the Tropicana despite the fact that thousands of people in Weston and the surrounding areas have for years been pleading with the Tory council to rebuild this swimming pool to provide leisure facilities for themselves and, of course, the tourists who visit our town.

I suggest that anyone who wishes to register their disapproval at his self-centred decision email him at: eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk and let him know what they think of him and his Tory friends in North Somerset Council.

COUNCILLOR TONY PROBERT

Weston Town Council

South Lawn, Locking

Remedy

SO MANY of our roads and streets are litter-strewn with very flimsy rubbish bags ripped open by seagulls searching for food scraps within them.

Whether or not rubbish bags should be left on pavements, often for many days before being collected, is for others to say.

There is however a very simple remedy – use bags strong enough to defy the razor sharp beaks of the seagulls.

HAROLD JAMES

Upper Church Road, Weston

Dismantling

EVER since I was a child my annual holiday was in Weston.

Even after I was married and had children we still liked the town.

Now I am 85 and a widow. Up until a few years ago I still liked Weston but no more. It is ruined, which is not only my opinion.

Biggest moan: Nowhere to swim any more.

The sea is a no-go as apart from being dirty, it’s tidal and there is nowhere to dive.

It was nice for many, many years to go straight to the marina pool and sit in the sun afterwards to watch other swimmers.

In the winter we used the swimming baths.

All these I grew up with and so did my children, they learned to swim in the marina. Lots of folk used to come from Bristol specially to use the pool. So why are you dismantling the only swimming place? So why the great argument? Leave the pool to swim in – it is needed.

Why go to Portishead?

And now there is nowhere to park near the waters. We also used to park behind the market – gone. I am not the only oldie who is disabled.

Lots of horrible blocky buildings everywhere; all the old picturesque and lovely seaside places gone.

Thank goodness you can’t alter the rocky end of Weston. I do like the front walls and the arch, very sensible and beautiful for many years to come.

I don’t like Knightstone any more, we used to walk right round and then sit down to watch the tide. I used to dig castles on the beach there and go on the boats. Soon people will stop coming to Weston and go elsewhere, and you will lose even more money.

Weston has lost its charm and soon you will have only the residents, no visitors at all. I certainly would not live there now, or even stay, neither would my family.

Weston has gone. It is a commercial town now. Boring.

Well, you still have the sea breezes.

BRENDA-JOY JOHNSTON

Bifield Road, Stockwood, Bristol

For sale

I SEE that a for sale notice has appeared on the Hans Price library building.

The indecent haste, even before this much-loved building has been vacated, exposes once again North Somerset Council’s attitude towards the people of Weston. It seems that North Somerset is determined to get rid of everything that Westonians cherish.

Little wonder that small businesses in Weston are struggling, when the likes of the pool and the library, which increase visitor footfall, are swept away.

The old borough council would not have behaved as North Somerset Council behaves, nor would it have allowed the piles of rubbish, litter and graffiti which disfigure so much of the town.

Weston Town Council is the largest ‘parish’ council in the country. If only it had the wherewithal to run Weston for the benefit of Weston and surrounding villages, as Weston Borough Council was able to do.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

Wonders

I READ the letter ‘From The Editor’ with a wry smile on my face.

For several months now, we have seen topics discussed in a sometimes heated manner, mainly when pondering over the future of The Tropicana.

It’s great to be able to voice your opinion, as I have now done on more than one occasion, yet the strong opinions we sometimes express on various members of Trop (WSM) are often met with replies from so-called supporters.

In fact, these often seem to follow in their droves.

Call me a cynic, but one often wonders if these are the members of the Trop group themselves, as they always seem to have a common theme, in that they’ve apparently never met the person they are writing in about, nor do they have an alliance with them. “No. Of course you don’t”, is my usual response.

Well done to the Mercury for taking steps to now verify the credentials of submitted letters.

I am absolutely convinced that we will see a fall in these brown-nosed responses to anyone who dares to have a negative opinion on the Trop (WSM) group.

CHARLOTTE CANTER

Brighton Road, Weston

Animal lovers

EARLIER this week I was in the RSPCA charity shop.

A nice young couple came in, very distressed. A few weeks ago they had found a female cat with her very young kittens close to their house.

They have been feeding the mother cat and looking after the whole feline family.

Their problem is that they have to go away soon for quite some time to visit family abroad.

Worried about the cat and the very young kittens they contacted the RSPCA at Brent Knoll to see if they could take them in.

The RSPCA told them ‘there are hundreds of strays out there, just put them back where you found them – they’ll survive.’ What a caring animal charity!

The lady behind the counter was clearly very embarrassed at this and tried her best to advise this couple about what to do.

Surely the RSPCA could have taken them into its multi million pound animal shelter.

This young couple were clearly very caring animal lovers - shame about the animal charity.

Apparently they contacted Cats Protection who was also unable to help.

MRS C JOHNSON

Walliscote Road, Weston

Stop drivers

RECENTLY I had an appointment in the centre of Weston near to Tesco.

Being a disabled pensioner I needed to park near to the offices, but after driving round and unable to find a parking space I decided to go to the Locking Road car park.

I was delighted to find all the disabled bays empty. I soon found out why, no discount for Blue Badge holders and no short term parking. So although I was only gone for an hour I had to pay for a full day.

So well done Councillor Elfan Ap Rees and Co, you have managed to stop me going to Weston any more.

I have even changed my eye test in Specsavers in Weston to the Clevedon branch.

Don’t these councillors realise that if they stop drivers coming into Weston even more shops will close?

Of course that will mean less income for the local economy.

TED CLARK

Chestnut Close, Congresbury

Without charge

I HAVE never written to the Mercury before, but I was reading the article on the parking permits and parking charges the council are trying to set up in the town centre.

It said that permit holders will get one hour free in the morning and one hour free in the evening.

Does North Somerset Council have a different dictionary from me, as free is defined as without charge, but to get this free parking it will cost £31 per year?

I live in the town centre and would like to think the council should be promoting the local shops and business, not putting people off.

Maybe the new slogan should be: “Why go to an out-of-town shopping centre with ample free parking, when you can go to Weston town centre where it going to cost you more even before you step into a shop?”

Have they given any thought to the local community, how will this affect the house prices?

This will only reduce house value, with no free parking outside people’s homes.

I think it’s sad to think that the council is more interested in making money at the cost of local business and the community.

STUART MERRICK

George Street, Weston

Roller skating

WALKING along the seafront I noticed a young woman preparing to roller skate on the crumbling and pitted part of the front near Birnbeck Pier.

She was strapping on wrist supports, but she did not have knee pads, elbow pads, or a helmet. These are an absolute necessity for her activity.

Given that there are many types of infirm people on the seafront, is there a future for roller skating on the front?

I will be contacting the council for copies of the risk assessment on this issue.

SIMON ARNALL-CULLIFORD

Cresswell Close, Worle

Dog in a hot car

MUCH praise to Miss A Williams for challenging someone who left their dog in a hot car.

I too have had cause to speak to people about this on more than one occasion – and have usually received hostile abuse for my troubles.

I’ve done it out of concern for the animal – not to be a preaching busybody.

Some business employees also seem disinterested in helping with such a problem: last year I saw a distressed dog in a car in a supermarket car park.

I took the registration number and went into the store to ask that a tannoy message be broadcast. The assistant I spoke to said he’d tell his supervisor. He spoke to a young woman but no tannoy message ensued.

I went up to her to request she call for the owner – but she said no, that couldn’t be done. When I asked why it seems she didn’t want to upset a customer.

I made a fuss and she finally came with me to the car. She saw for herself the dog’s distress, and a message was finally broadcast.

I waited by the car for the owner - a lady in her 60s/70s came out.

She obviously cared for her little dog but was ignorant of the problem. She insisted that the dog hadn’t been left for long.

And therein lies the crux of the problem. Any amount of time is too long for a dog to be left in a hot car.

People seem to be completely ignorant about how soon a parked car becomes a potential problem for their pet – even with the windows open (usually only about an inch).

If anyone doubts this, I suggest they sit in a stationary car themselves for 10 minutes on a warm day and see what it feels like (and that’s without a fur coat on).

MRS B CROFTON

Leafy Way, Locking

Excellent

I AM emailing to say how nice Weston railway station looks, the floral baskets, troughs and tubs look excellent.

Well done to First Great Western and its team.

STEVEN HARRISON

Manilla Crescent, Weston

Resurfacing

WE LEARN that North Somerset Council will be spending £200,000 on resurfacing 21 roads in the district.

This is extremely good news except that not one of these roads is in Weston.

Weston is by far the largest town in North Somerset and generates millions of pounds through tourism, yet once again it is treated unfairly by the council. The trouble is that fewer councillors represent the town than in the rest of the district put together and it is yet another case of them against us.

So Weston residents and tourists alike will have to rock rather than roll on atrocious roads and be thankful that we have an abundance of tyre and car exhaust specialists in town to keep us on the roads.

Who said that life is fair?

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

Legge family

SOME time ago I inherited several boxes containing books from my grandfather, however, I have only now started to sort through them and have found a family Bible charting the Legge family beginning in 1766 in Cardiff, then via Berkeley and with the last entry being that of the death of Edith Georgina Legge (widow of William Legge) in Weston in 1942.

They had a daughter Hilda born in 1905 but there is no entry in the Bible of her marriage/death. If I could trace the family and return the Bible to them I am sure we would all be grateful.

I have been tracing my family history for years and have nothing such as this, which is very personal. Maybe there will be someone who will be interested in having the Bible back with the ‘family’.

Who knows it may be the missing link or it may assist someone to become interested in learning how their family came into the area.

My grandfather, Edwin Elias Clarke, was born in Clevedon/Kenn in 1884 and although left to come to London around 1904 he went back regularly to visit his parents; I imagine this was when he obtained this Bible, who knows I could even be related in some way to the Legge family.

In fact I have to visit Clevedon to try and tie-up some loose ends one day, as like most of us I did not listen to my grandfather with the interest that I should have done at that time and now I would like to know more about my ancestors’ time in Somerset and to those he left behind.

I do know that my aunt, Mrs Gladys Pegram (my grandfather’s sister) played the piano in the cinema.

I can be contacted by email: moetmichael@btinternet.com

MAUREEN SHELDRIK

The Woodlands, Esher

RAF Association

AT THE RAF Association, we need to raise more than £2million each year here in the South West, and as we do not receive any Government funding, this has only been made possible by the generosity of the public and grant giving organisations without which our benefaction work would be drastically curtailed.

We support all generations of ex-serving and serving members of Her Majesty’s Air Forces and their dependants, from World War Two veterans to those who have served in more recent conflicts.

I speak with thousands of benevolent minded folk yearly, and many say how disappointed they were upon missing the main street or house-to-house collection during August/September, owing to their vibrant and hectic lifestyle.

To make benevolence giving to our charity easier, you can write a cheque made payable to RAFA Wings Appeal, and send it in a stamped envelope to me at the address below.

PHILIP WINTER

Wings Officer Bristol

Royal Air Forces Association,

624 Southmead Road,

Filton Park,

Filton,

Bristol BS34 7RF

Attitude

I WAS driving north by the Winter Gardens when a Porsche Cayenne decided to turn right into the access road to the NCP car park.

I had to stop as part of the lane I was driving in was partly blocked by the Porsche.

Three bikes were behind the car, I thought they would turn right, as that is what it’s for…not so.

When the Porsche finally turned right, I moved forward only to be cut up by one of the bikers who then proceeded to shout and swear at me for getting in his way!

He has an attitude which doesn’t belong on our town roads.

MICHAEL DE HAAN

Diamond Batch, Weston

Volunteer

I AM sure that I am not the only resident of North Somerset who has not been absorbed by the wonderful Olympic Games over the past to plus weeks.

I am left proud, inspired and encouraged by the huge wave of true patriotism that shows we can all get along very well as Great Brits.

To see all those amazing young athletes performing amazing results, the incredible ‘game makers’ who committed their time to helping towards the success of the games and, of course, the fantastic public support, was wonderful.

As a 71-year-old patriotic Brit I feel inspired to put myself forward as a volunteer to help the young people of North Somerset as athletes and future business people.

But before this can happen we need to see our local authority re-looking at the youth support programme that they dropped several months ago and re-open youth centres. I am sure there would be many people like me who would be prepared to give up their time to run these centres and there might even be some local businessmen and women who could provide financial support as well.

Come on residents of North Somerset, show that you support the youth of tomorrow by putting yourselves forward as volunteers in many, many different ways.

TIM WALTON

Sutton Close, Weston

Took me to task

CONSERVATIVE councillor Tony Lake took me to task twice in last week’s Mercury, which is nice of him.

Firstly, on the Tropicana, Tony tries to pretend that few North Somerset Councillors are opposed to the demolition of the Trop. It’s simply not true. The fact is that his anti-Weston Conservative Executive has refused to let councillors debate the Tropicana at all at full council. Why so, if he is so confident of the paucity of opposition?

Tony also knows that when the Tropicana demolition planning application was debated by a council committee, the report was only ‘noted’ on the chairman’s casting vote. This is hardly a ringing endorsement from his colleagues – and on a committee dominated by Conservatives.

Further he suggests that I supported demolition as a member of the cross-party Tropicana working group. Tony was a member of that group as well, so his memory should be rather better. I in fact was one of several Weston members of the working group who opposed Tropicana demolition on these terms. Indeed, I repeatedly suggested that the council would need to put its hand in its own pocket to help get action on the site.

Which leads me to Tony’s second charge, that of hypocrisy. He is unhappy that I have challenged the level of council debt – now running at £137million - whilst proposing extra borrowing myself.

I may well be a hypocrite, but not on this occasion. The fact is that I opposed spending £30million on office refurbishments and proposed spending £10million to help save the Tropicana. Net borrowing would have been lower – and we might well have seen bulldozers helping to build a new leisure pool for Weston at the Tropicana instead of levelling it to the ground.

I like and admire Tony Lake a lot. He obviously takes his job following the orders of his political masters from Portishead very seriously. But his job is not mine, and I will continue to be a thorn in the side of this disastrous administration in every way I can so long as they make decisions which I believe to be against the interests of the residents and council taxpayers of Weston and North Somerset.

MIKE BELL

George Street, Weston

Overflowing

ON SUNDAY after 10.30am I saw on the promenade, opposite Sand Bay Chinese fish and chip shop, Crookes Lane, the litter bin was full and overflowing.

People had dropped bags of litter next to the bin. Seagulls, foxes and pets were helping themselves. When was it last emptied? It should certainly have been done before 10.30am.

At Knightstone Island the footpath from the point overlooking the harbour by the café around the seaside of the luxury apartments and back to the temporary storage facility for filming The Café (Cyril’s) five piles of dog mess, much of which has been trodden in and spread all over the path.

Some of this looks like the same piles as were there three days previously. Little seems to be able to be done to deal with the mindless halfwits who allow their dogs to do this but surely the council should included this area in their area of responsibility as they do the rest of the seafront?

Obviously cameras everywhere would be expensive, impractical and, to some, unacceptable, so it seems we all have to tolerate this and the council must clear it up. Perhaps the council and the police would advise how many people have been prosecuted or warned for this objectionable behaviour, say in the last two years.

The footbridge close to Valetta Close and joining the Coronation estate to the Bournville. Somebody, some may say unwisely, has ridden/led a horse or pony over this bridge and the equine has left something behind. Nothing like as objectionable as dog mess but would be good if someone got up there and shovelled it over to the side where it can naturally break up in the long grass.

This bridge is in need of de-rusting and re-painting which would make it safer and cover the graffiti.

Can somebody have a word with the railway authorities and suggest they get a crew out to clear the line underneath – seems the locals take their rubbish on the bridge and throw it over. Unlike the horse or pony droppings it is not bio-degradable.

Then on the pedestrian bridge over the railway behind the Codfather and joining Maltlands to Weston Village. This bridge approach is in dire need of repair before someone breaks an ankle. Breaks in the tarmac on the Codfather side are up to one to two feet long and as wide as two inches or more. If a child or a woman in high heels steps in one of these formidable gulleys the taxpayer could be faced with a legal claim. Much graffiti on the bridge needs attention.

The walkway from Howards Garages (Toyota) towards Hutton Moor. There is a brick built building immediately adjacent to this path which has been used as a toilet and general dumping ground for rubbish and is an absolute disgrace. It appears to serve no useful purpose and may have been in this condition for years. If the council cannot afford to knock it down then it should be cleared up, a substantial metal door fitted, and locked.

This area of pathway going right alongside the main road to Morrison’s needs some attention as does the Moor Lane pedestrian area which continues into Bransby Way. Recently mechanical grass cutters have done an adequate job but much is still needed on the hedgerows and hedges throughout all these paths in this area. Equally important is the gathering of rubbish in all those areas and waders will be needed to get into the kitchens and clear rubbish uncaring clowns, who may be in the minority, are continuing to dump ruining the area for us all.

Heligan Walk, Blaisdon – pedestrian bridge. This is in need of repair and needs the whole bridge cleared of graffiti.

Disgraceful

THE pictures of rubbish piled up on the front of your August 9 issue speak volumes about the complacency and incompetence of North Somerset council (NSC).

It would be laughable if it was not so pathetic.

Quite apart from this disgraceful display may I comment on other matters which do NSC no credit.

The utterly disgraceful way the Tropicana has been left un-usable and allowed to become derelict for more than a decade – once Weston’s only seafront swimming facility.

Ironically the only use to which it has been put in all that time was as a storage dump for building materials to refurbish the promenade. Unbelievable.

Directional road signs all still in place pointing to RAF Locking and the Tropicana.

Metal railings at the end of Devonshire Road, outside Broadoak School, are still not fully replaced after being damaged such a long time ago.

The major directional sign – especially for visitors entering Weston for the first time at the beginning of the bridge over the railway and opposite the Drove Road playing fields - displays only its lower third section after being damaged by storm force winds in the winter of 2010/11 and still not replaced.

I could list more but will finally just mention the very poor state of many roads not just in Weston but throughout other parts of North Somerset in which I travel quite frequently.

I have given up having sleepless night about all these short-comings. Now I wake up in a cold sweat that action has been taken wherever necessary and I cannot only stop writing rude letters, but can sleep soundly as well. That will be the day.

RICHARD BIRTILL

Bleadon Hill, Weston


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Weston Mercury