Letters to the Editor, August 23, 2012

PUBLISHED: 12:07 29 August 2012

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Archant

We can, and do, prosecute

I WOULD like to highlight what the council is doing about the issue of fly-tipped rubbish and graffiti in Weston’s town centre, featured in your paper over the last two weeks. I include some guidelines which, if followed, would prevent some of these issues arising in the first place.

We can and do prosecute rigorously people who fly-tip. As with most problems, it’s a small minority who continue to ignore the rules and, in the case of fly-tipping, blatantly break the law.

We can collect up to three bulky household items, such as mattresses, sofas and freezers etc, for £65 to help residents legitimately get rid of large unwanted items. To arrange this contact 01934 888802. We do have to make a charge for this additional service, as not everyone wants large items collected, and it wouldn’t be fair to spread this charge across all council tax payers.

To ensure that rubbish and recycling is collected when it should be, residents must put out their waste by 7am on the day of collection. To put it out days beforehand is completely and utterly irresponsible. To check your collection day look online at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/calendar or contact us on 01934 888802.

Some town centre residents are issued with grey sacks, which must be used to identify that it’s genuine household waste and that extra “side waste” is not being put out - in much the same way as we don’t accept black bags alongside wheeled bins. Putting out unlimited amounts of waste is now unsustainable, in terms of costs and environmental impact, and recycling is the order of the day.

North Somerset is one of the top recycling councils in the country, with about 60 per cent of waste being recycled. We want residents to continue to recycle as much possible, rather than just putting everything in with their waste. We’ve recently installed mini recycling centres in town centre locations to help with this. We’ve also introduced timed recycling collections in some town centre streets. There are also recycling facilities available in Tesco’s car park.

Graffiti is removed as soon as possible once it’s been reported and we have teams out cleaning the streets on a daily basis. One of our contractors is collecting illegally dumped waste throughout the week. This is an unnecessary cost and an additional pressure on tight budgets.

I for one take pride in my town and I hope that many share my sentiments. I would urge anyone to report problems to us as soon as possible and we can act accordingly. We all create waste and we must share responsibility for what we do with it.

CLLR PETER BRYANT

Executive member with responsibility for waste,

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston

New names for old schemes

MAY I comment on Alex Evans’ report on July 26, headlined ‘BID cash for new street patrol to clean up the town centre’.

Walking along the High Street during the lunch hour of July 31, I spotted three men strolling along side by side. Was it really necessary to have half the team of six town centre wardens together, instead of dotted around the town, to perform their daytime duties of picking up litter? I thought that job was already covered by, I assume, council employees, with push-along carts.

Casting my mind back not so long ago, wasn’t a team of community policemen introduced to the town centre? Why were they disbanded after what seemed a relatively short time only to have another team introduced under another title? It is not the revival of old schemes under new names which Weston is crying out for, it is a halt to all the charity shops springing up like mushrooms with their peppercorn rents and ever-increasing prices which, in a lot of cases, are now higher than those in the likes of Primark, Matalan, etc, and a halt to the high rents on good quality shops which are forcing them to close. If this continues the Sovereign Shopping Centre will also be forced to close, leaving nothing for people to come to Weston for.

Remember, once people are forced to shop elsewhere they seldom return.

Surely it’s time for only councillors who actually live in Weston to decide what is to happen in the town. They couldn’t possibly do a worse job than those living outside.

G N FLETCHER

Baker Street, Weston

Lack of outside space a problem

PAST council policies are at least partly to blame for the rubbish littering the streets.

When I was looking for a first property purchase in 1983 I received details of many upstairs flats with the words ‘no garden to worry about’. On viewing the ground floor flats it was obvious that builders had gone for the easiest and no doubt cheapest conversion option, putting a door in front of the stairs and one to either the right or left leading to the downstairs flat just inside the main entrance, leaving the upstairs flat with no access to any outside space. Even when there was a front garden this was frequently allocated to the downstairs flat.

Perhaps the council should survey the land in the areas where there are bags left out all week and find out how many property owners have no outside space and come up with a solution such as communal waste areas, where space permits, in public places rather than condemning people who, understandably, do not want smelly bags of rubbish attracting flies inside their homes.

Fines, as suggested by one correspondent, would only penalise the same people already being disadvantaged by the town centre parking scheme.

I think most people who park on the street do so to avoid parking charges, so this scheme will probably drive more people to out-of-town shops with free parking whilst victimising elderly or disabled people unable to walk from their homes to Locking Road Car Park if they need their car during the day.

Councillors should remember that they are elected to serve local residents, not ride roughshod over their needs.

MRS J EDWARDS

Constable Drive, Worle

Blatant neglect

IN SPITE of all the questionable decisions made by North Somerset Council, it’s not too late to save the Tropicana.

There are hopefully still ‘a few good men’ out there fighting to retain and improve Weston’s heritage of a lido on the seafront.

By the end of the 1930s, lidos were to be found at Prestatyn (opened 1922), Blackpool (1923), Plymouth (1928), Exmouth (1929), Skegness (1932), Hastings and St Leonards (1933), New Brighton and Wallasey (1934), Brighton (1935), Penzance (opened 1935), Morecambe (1936) and Weston (1938), to name a few.

North Somerset Council, since 2000, has blatantly neglected this iconic structure. There was never any intention to renovate or rebuild it. The very fact that they allowed it to be used as a ‘fly tipping’ site bears this fact out. The council describes the frontage as sad, neglected and an eyesore (whose fault is that?) and should be pulled down. North Somerset was given a number of viable options which it obstructed on at every turn for no other reason than the decision to demolish was made in 2002 and the council ‘was not for turning’.

The Hutton Moor facility is often used by swimming clubs etc, thus visitors and the general public find it almost impossible to ‘walk in’ for a swim. We have given up going there. It is imperative that we have a pool facility on the seafront to allow visitors and locals to be able to swim all year and in all weathers. We firmly believe that this will encourage more day-trippers.

Can we be given the names of the nine council members who voted to demolish the Continued from page 6

Tropicana so that, we in turn, can demolish them at the next council election?

And why are Weston councillors taking orders from those outside of the town? Weston used to be the jewel of the South West but someone is hell bent on relegating us to obscurity.

ALAN AND ELLY KING

Beaumont Close, Weston

In a pickle

IT WAS interesting to read Eric Pickles’ views on the Tropicana saga.

It is reported that consultants have carried out a review on the condition of Eric Pickles with a view to an extensive programme of refurbishment. They have apparently concluded that the cost of such a project would not be economically viable. Furthermore it is their opinion that the cost of the ongoing maintenance would be exorbitant and therefore not a prudent and responsible use of public resources.

However, all is not lost as a group calling itself ‘Save the Eric Pickles Group Ltd’ is putting together a proposal to contest any programme of demolition. They intend to raise funds and seek a judicial review should any final decision be made to demolish Eric Pickles. Further news is awaited but this could be a saga that will run and run!

JOHN WARREN

Willow Gardens, St Georges

Can’t wave a magic wand

READING last week’s letters on the Tropicana’s fate, I wondered what world Dr Howard and Rosie Smith, Garry Smith and Councillor Tony Probert live in?

Yes – Weston badly needs a new pool but where do they think the money will come from? They must know that such a major venture can only be achieved these days with private finance.

Derek Mead and his friends clearly don’t have enough and North Somerset Council can’t wave a magic wand and conjure some out of thin air in these straitened times.

Nothing in life is perfect and surely it’s high time for folk to face facts and move on.

That’s why Charlotte Canter’s letter ‘Wonders’ was so pertinent.

If interested parties such as Trop (WSM) Ltd really have been trying to influence public opinion in your columns, the sooner this whole sorry business is ended the better.

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

Poor legacy

THE following is a copy of a letter which I sent to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

I am upset to read that permission has been given to demolish the Tropicana swimming pool on the seafront in Weston.

Weston is a major seaside resort and needs a seafront pool, or pool near the town, which tourists and residents can access easily without using a car or bus.

The tide in Weston goes out a long way and every week you see people walking out from the sandy beach into the mud to try to reach the water when the tide is out. This causes a lot of work for the beach rangers who have to keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe.

Many seaside resorts have swimming pools on their seafronts. I think this would help alleviate some of the problems caused by people trying to wander out towards the sea when the tide is out.

Weston only has one public pool, Hutton Moor, which is not located anywhere near the town centre or seafront.

It is not big enough for the residents of the town and tourists. Also, it is often taken up by swimming galas and when you do use it, a lot of lanes are cordoned off, leaving only a small area for members of the public to swim in.

In times when people are encouraged to get more exercise and go swimming, they cannot do so easily in a public pool in Weston.

People also liked the water slides and wave machine in the Tropicana, as well as the pool itself. It provided fun as well as exercise. Hutton Moor has no slides or wave machine and is not very accessible to tourists, pushing more people on the roads to get there - not good for the environment.

In my opinion, too much has been done in encouraging developers with plans for massive redevelopment of the site when all that is needed is either a roof over the existing pool or a refurbishment of the outdoor pool. There are lots of popular outdoor pools/lidos in the UK.

Finally, what a poor legacy the Olympics leaves for our town when, during the games in London, it is announced that one of Weston’s only public swimming facilities is to be demolished.

I hope you will reconsider the decision and give more time to find a solution.

STEVEN HARRISON

Manilla Crescent, Weston

Beggars belief

NEARLY a million pounds of taxpayers’ money to knock the Tropicana down. It beggars belief. That money could be put to better use elsewhere.

Like many others, I feel we have been badly let down by North Somerset Council. It seems to me and the people of Weston that there is no-one in local or national Government we can trust any more.

Eric Pickles wants to visit Weston. He’s completely lost the plot.

He claims that bulldozing the Tropicana would have a positive impact on the conservation area, and the tourist trade.

It is stupidity, it will do quite the opposite, and he is making himself look ridiculous.

With so much public opposition, how can such a small number of councillors decide on such an important matter? I call this dictatorship.

Weston, as time goes by, will whither and die. See if I’m not right in a year or two.

B SHERGOLD

Orchard Drive, Sandford

Daylight robbery

I AM writing in response to the new pay-and-display charges that are set to be introduced in Weston later this year.

In my opinion the real way to boost trade in the town centre is to provide free parking in all the town’s car parks. Why is this not being introduced?

And yes, on our narrow town centre streets there can be occasional problems but it seems the best way to resolve this and help businesses is to allow up to four hours of free parking for shoppers.

Residents are already being fleeced with high council tax charges and services are being cut to the bone. Why should residents be forced to buy a parking permit to park outside their homes? Everyone should be entitled to park outside their own homes. To force them to pay for the privilege is daylight robbery and must not be allowed.

Parking meters and permits are going to drive people to park outside the controlled zone and all of Weston will suffer as a result.

We should be advertising free parking in all of the car parks whilst shouting about the area’s attractions in publicity campaigns.

We should also be telling the council’s executive committee to demolish the Tropicana as it stands now and rebuild a better facility that has indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

The problem with North Somerset Council, as far as I can see, after personal experience and reading stories over the years in the Mercury, appears to be that the executive concentrates only on tourism and forgets about the residents in the town. Those who live in Weston are the ones suffering.

Unless new people take over the top jobs at the council nothing will ever change for the better. This used to be a great town, but not any more.

MR L G SMITH

Rydal Road, Weston

Not the case

IN HIS letter in last week’s Mercury Ted Clark says there is no short stay parking available in the Locking Road car park in Weston. This is not the case.

Since March this year the area behind the toilet block at the car park entrance has been opened up and made into a short stay parking area.

There are two signs pointing to this area. It has its own pay and display machine to obtain a short stay ticket with charges starting at just 50p for 30 minutes.

As a Blue Badge holder, Mr Clark would also be allowed 30 minutes free parking beyond the expiry of the purchased ticket.

All charges and conditions are displayed on the tariff board in the short stay parking area.

ALLAN TAYLOR

Car Parking Manager,

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston

Increased costs

I WRITE with reference to the town centre pay-and-display parking scheme.

We can see now from last week’s Mercury what Councillor Elfan Ap Rees wants from it – fees charged in many more places for shoppers, costs increased for visiting tradesmen, and residents with cars to move out of town?

BRIAN SHELDRAKE

Palmer and Hopkins Street Residents’ Association, Palmer Row, Weston

Patronising and elitist

THE various reported comments about the parking charges coming from the North Somerset executive members suggest to me that they are patronising and elitist, working under the theory that people in terraced houses shouldn’t own cars.

Not content with victimising Weston residents they are now hacking down our trees and giving stupid explanations for doing it. The latest victims are the flourishing old trees in Oxford Street that provided useful shelter on wet days. The explanation given is reported to be that it will improve our view of the town hall balcony.

Now that smacks of delusions of grandeur. If our esteemed leader is going to start making balcony speeches we should keep a wary eye open. His gang has done more to damage our local heritage than the Luftwaffe managed when they tried it.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

Perplexed

I REFER to the letter published in the Mercury’s letters column last week, purportedly written by me, in relation to the former Tropicana site in Weston.

This letter was written on a very old letterhead font and logo, using my name, and a former title that I held, as well as giving a false address in Banwell, which, upon investigation, appears to be the registered office of a number of limited companies, and is signed in a similar, but clearly forged, handwriting style.

I can confirm to the Mercury, and its readers, and the large number of local UKIP members and supporters, that I had no role or knowledge whatsoever in its production, but I must admit that I’m completely perplexed by the actions of this ‘ghost’ author, and what they really hoped to achieve by writing this letter.

I have referred this matter to the fraud squad at Avon & Somerset Constabulary for further investigation, and reserve the right to commence legal proceedings against anyone who uses my name, without either my knowledge, or express written permission.

JAMES CARVER

Political Representative of William Dartmouth MEP, UK Independence Party, Broomsgreen, Dymock, Gloucestershire

Further claim

IN RESPONSE to last week’s story headlined ‘Couple ordered to demolish buildings’, I would like to point out that we were awarded compensation amounting to tens of thousands of pounds and had three counts of maladministration upheld in May this year. We also have a further claim due to the latest decision by the planning inspector.

Councillor Ian Porter’s remarks that we did not follow procedure are incorrect as we have permission for storage on our site. Our buildings are mobile and can be moved, not demolished.

KELVIN AND JANET GLIMSTEAD

Milton Road, Weston

Much better

I RECENTLY visited Weston after an absence of eight years and was delighted how it is changing. Being disabled, I found I could get around much better.

The wide esplanade is much better, with plenty of seating around so you could sit and take in the views. The new pier is fresher and welcoming. While in Weston I caught the No1 bus to Sand Bay Leisure Resort and was welcomed there by some of the old staff who remembered me. This has also gone through a facelift.

Everyone I spoke to was welcoming and friendly. Keep up the good work Weston and I look forward to visiting again soon.

THOMAS HUNTINGTON

Viewfield Crescent, Dudley, West Midlands

Stay away

I’M SICK to death of letters from old people moaning about Weston and comparing it to the good old days when they used to visit.

Now they just moan and slag off the town. My message to them is stay away, we don’t need you.

This town has been dead for the last 10 to 15 years as all true Westonians know, regardless of who you blame - Tories, Labour, or Lib Dems.

What with the influx of drug and drink rehabs etc, the town has been allowed to sink into despair. The police, social workers, general do-gooders, etc, know this and are happy to let it happen, and just leave the good folk of Weston to put up and shut up and get on with it.

It is easier to get drugs in this town than a pint of cider. Walk along any town street and you can get high on the smell on people’s clothes. They even smoke it on the streets. Try walking along the Boulevard on any day.

So to all you day-trippers, old time trippers, please stay away from Weston. Don’t waste your money here.

And then, when Weston has sunk as low as possible and the so-called great and the good can see what a mess they have made, it will be up to Weston’s next generation of money men to put the ‘super’ back into Weston. But don’t blink, you might miss it.

S TAYLOR

Alfred Street, Weston

Derisive

I WRITE with reference to the article headlined ‘Councils and villagers unite to oppose industrial blot on the landscape’.

I feel that as both a resident of Compton Bishop and an employee of SDS, the article seems derisive.

It is loaded against the future expansion of a company whose innovations are designed to manage the sustainability of what could potentially be the next liquid gold (water).

I am also amazed that as a resident of Compton Bishop for the last eight years not one member of the parish council approached me or my family for any input into the decisions that it has made.

From a first hand point of view I can confirm that there are various local businesses that do very well from SDS and all of its employees ranging from the local hot food van on the A38 to local garages and hire companies to name but a few.

DAVID CHADWICK

Contract Operations Manager,

Castlemills, Biddisham

We can, and do, prosecute

I WOULD like to highlight what the council is doing about the issue of fly-tipped rubbish and graffiti in Weston’s town centre, featured in your paper over the last two weeks. I include some guidelines which, if followed, would prevent some of these issues arising in the first place.

We can and do prosecute rigorously people who fly-tip. As with most problems, it’s a small minority who continue to ignore the rules and, in the case of fly-tipping, blatantly break the law.

We can collect up to three bulky household items, such as mattresses, sofas and freezers etc, for £65 to help residents legitimately get rid of large unwanted items. To arrange this contact 01934 888802. We do have to make a charge for this additional service, as not everyone wants large items collected, and it wouldn’t be fair to spread this charge across all council tax payers.

To ensure that rubbish and recycling is collected when it should be, residents must put out their waste by 7am on the day of collection. To put it out days beforehand is completely and utterly irresponsible. To check your collection day look online at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/calendar or contact us on 01934 888802.

Some town centre residents are issued with grey sacks, which must be used to identify that it’s genuine household waste and that extra “side waste” is not being put out - in much the same way as we don’t accept black bags alongside wheeled bins. Putting out unlimited amounts of waste is now unsustainable, in terms of costs and environmental impact, and recycling is the order of the day.

North Somerset is one of the top recycling councils in the country, with about 60 per cent of waste being recycled. We want residents to continue to recycle as much possible, rather than just putting everything in with their waste. We’ve recently installed mini recycling centres in town centre locations to help with this. We’ve also introduced timed recycling collections in some town centre streets. There are also recycling facilities available in Tesco’s car park.

Graffiti is removed as soon as possible once it’s been reported and we have teams out cleaning the streets on a daily basis. One of our contractors is collecting illegally dumped waste throughout the week. This is an unnecessary cost and an additional pressure on tight budgets.

I for one take pride in my town and I hope that many share my sentiments. I would urge anyone to report problems to us as soon as possible and we can act accordingly. We all create waste and we must share responsibility for what we do with it.

CLLR PETER BRYANT

Executive member with responsibility for waste,

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston

New names for old schemes

MAY I comment on Alex Evans’ report on July 26, headlined ‘BID cash for new street patrol to clean up the town centre’.

Walking along the High Street during the lunch hour of July 31, I spotted three men strolling along side by side. Was it really necessary to have half the team of six town centre wardens together, instead of dotted around the town, to perform their daytime duties of picking up litter? I thought that job was already covered by, I assume, council employees, with push-along carts.

Casting my mind back not so long ago, wasn’t a team of community policemen introduced to the town centre? Why were they disbanded after what seemed a relatively short time only to have another team introduced under another title? It is not the revival of old schemes under new names which Weston is crying out for, it is a halt to all the charity shops springing up like mushrooms with their peppercorn rents and ever-increasing prices which, in a lot of cases, are now higher than those in the likes of Primark, Matalan, etc, and a halt to the high rents on good quality shops which are forcing them to close. If this continues the Sovereign Shopping Centre will also be forced to close, leaving nothing for people to come to Weston for.

Remember, once people are forced to shop elsewhere they seldom return.

Surely it’s time for only councillors who actually live in Weston to decide what is to happen in the town. They couldn’t possibly do a worse job than those living outside.

G N FLETCHER

Baker Street, Weston

Lack of outside space a problem

PAST council policies are at least partly to blame for the rubbish littering the streets.

When I was looking for a first property purchase in 1983 I received details of many upstairs flats with the words ‘no garden to worry about’. On viewing the ground floor flats it was obvious that builders had gone for the easiest and no doubt cheapest conversion option, putting a door in front of the stairs and one to either the right or left leading to the downstairs flat just inside the main entrance, leaving the upstairs flat with no access to any outside space. Even when there was a front garden this was frequently allocated to the downstairs flat.

Perhaps the council should survey the land in the areas where there are bags left out all week and find out how many property owners have no outside space and come up with a solution such as communal waste areas, where space permits, in public places rather than condemning people who, understandably, do not want smelly bags of rubbish attracting flies inside their homes.

Fines, as suggested by one correspondent, would only penalise the same people already being disadvantaged by the town centre parking scheme.

I think most people who park on the street do so to avoid parking charges, so this scheme will probably drive more people to out-of-town shops with free parking whilst victimising elderly or disabled people unable to walk from their homes to Locking Road Car Park if they need their car during the day.

Councillors should remember that they are elected to serve local residents, not ride roughshod over their needs.

MRS J EDWARDS

Constable Drive, Worle

Blatant neglect

IN SPITE of all the questionable decisions made by North Somerset Council, it’s not too late to save the Tropicana.

There are hopefully still ‘a few good men’ out there fighting to retain and improve Weston’s heritage of a lido on the seafront.

By the end of the 1930s, lidos were to be found at Prestatyn (opened 1922), Blackpool (1923), Plymouth (1928), Exmouth (1929), Skegness (1932), Hastings and St Leonards (1933), New Brighton and Wallasey (1934), Brighton (1935), Penzance (opened 1935), Morecambe (1936) and Weston (1938), to name a few.

North Somerset Council, since 2000, has blatantly neglected this iconic structure. There was never any intention to renovate or rebuild it. The very fact that they allowed it to be used as a ‘fly tipping’ site bears this fact out. The council describes the frontage as sad, neglected and an eyesore (whose fault is that?) and should be pulled down. North Somerset was given a number of viable options which it obstructed on at every turn for no other reason than the decision to demolish was made in 2002 and the council ‘was not for turning’.

The Hutton Moor facility is often used by swimming clubs etc, thus visitors and the general public find it almost impossible to ‘walk in’ for a swim. We have given up going there. It is imperative that we have a pool facility on the seafront to allow visitors and locals to be able to swim all year and in all weathers. We firmly believe that this will encourage more day-trippers.

Can we be given the names of the nine council members who voted to demolish the Continued from page 6

Tropicana so that, we in turn, can demolish them at the next council election?

And why are Weston councillors taking orders from those outside of the town? Weston used to be the jewel of the South West but someone is hell bent on relegating us to obscurity.

ALAN AND ELLY KING

Beaumont Close, Weston

In a pickle

IT WAS interesting to read Eric Pickles’ views on the Tropicana saga.

It is reported that consultants have carried out a review on the condition of Eric Pickles with a view to an extensive programme of refurbishment. They have apparently concluded that the cost of such a project would not be economically viable. Furthermore it is their opinion that the cost of the ongoing maintenance would be exorbitant and therefore not a prudent and responsible use of public resources.

However, all is not lost as a group calling itself ‘Save the Eric Pickles Group Ltd’ is putting together a proposal to contest any programme of demolition. They intend to raise funds and seek a judicial review should any final decision be made to demolish Eric Pickles. Further news is awaited but this could be a saga that will run and run!

JOHN WARREN

Willow Gardens, St Georges

Can’t wave a magic wand

READING last week’s letters on the Tropicana’s fate, I wondered what world Dr Howard and Rosie Smith, Garry Smith and Councillor Tony Probert live in?

Yes – Weston badly needs a new pool but where do they think the money will come from? They must know that such a major venture can only be achieved these days with private finance.

Derek Mead and his friends clearly don’t have enough and North Somerset Council can’t wave a magic wand and conjure some out of thin air in these straitened times.

Nothing in life is perfect and surely it’s high time for folk to face facts and move on.

That’s why Charlotte Canter’s letter ‘Wonders’ was so pertinent.

If interested parties such as Trop (WSM) Ltd really have been trying to influence public opinion in your columns, the sooner this whole sorry business is ended the better.

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

Poor legacy

THE following is a copy of a letter which I sent to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

I am upset to read that permission has been given to demolish the Tropicana swimming pool on the seafront in Weston.

Weston is a major seaside resort and needs a seafront pool, or pool near the town, which tourists and residents can access easily without using a car or bus.

The tide in Weston goes out a long way and every week you see people walking out from the sandy beach into the mud to try to reach the water when the tide is out. This causes a lot of work for the beach rangers who have to keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe.

Many seaside resorts have swimming pools on their seafronts. I think this would help alleviate some of the problems caused by people trying to wander out towards the sea when the tide is out.

Weston only has one public pool, Hutton Moor, which is not located anywhere near the town centre or seafront.

It is not big enough for the residents of the town and tourists. Also, it is often taken up by swimming galas and when you do use it, a lot of lanes are cordoned off, leaving only a small area for members of the public to swim in.

In times when people are encouraged to get more exercise and go swimming, they cannot do so easily in a public pool in Weston.

People also liked the water slides and wave machine in the Tropicana, as well as the pool itself. It provided fun as well as exercise. Hutton Moor has no slides or wave machine and is not very accessible to tourists, pushing more people on the roads to get there - not good for the environment.

In my opinion, too much has been done in encouraging developers with plans for massive redevelopment of the site when all that is needed is either a roof over the existing pool or a refurbishment of the outdoor pool. There are lots of popular outdoor pools/lidos in the UK.

Finally, what a poor legacy the Olympics leaves for our town when, during the games in London, it is announced that one of Weston’s only public swimming facilities is to be demolished.

I hope you will reconsider the decision and give more time to find a solution.

STEVEN HARRISON

Manilla Crescent, Weston

Beggars belief

NEARLY a million pounds of taxpayers’ money to knock the Tropicana down. It beggars belief. That money could be put to better use elsewhere.

Like many others, I feel we have been badly let down by North Somerset Council. It seems to me and the people of Weston that there is no-one in local or national Government we can trust any more.

Eric Pickles wants to visit Weston. He’s completely lost the plot.

He claims that bulldozing the Tropicana would have a positive impact on the conservation area, and the tourist trade.

It is stupidity, it will do quite the opposite, and he is making himself look ridiculous.

With so much public opposition, how can such a small number of councillors decide on such an important matter? I call this dictatorship.

Weston, as time goes by, will whither and die. See if I’m not right in a year or two.

B SHERGOLD

Orchard Drive, Sandford

Daylight robbery

I AM writing in response to the new pay-and-display charges that are set to be introduced in Weston later this year.

In my opinion the real way to boost trade in the town centre is to provide free parking in all the town’s car parks. Why is this not being introduced?

And yes, on our narrow town centre streets there can be occasional problems but it seems the best way to resolve this and help businesses is to allow up to four hours of free parking for shoppers.

Residents are already being fleeced with high council tax charges and services are being cut to the bone. Why should residents be forced to buy a parking permit to park outside their homes? Everyone should be entitled to park outside their own homes. To force them to pay for the privilege is daylight robbery and must not be allowed.

Parking meters and permits are going to drive people to park outside the controlled zone and all of Weston will suffer as a result.

We should be advertising free parking in all of the car parks whilst shouting about the area’s attractions in publicity campaigns.

We should also be telling the council’s executive committee to demolish the Tropicana as it stands now and rebuild a better facility that has indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

The problem with North Somerset Council, as far as I can see, after personal experience and reading stories over the years in the Mercury, appears to be that the executive concentrates only on tourism and forgets about the residents in the town. Those who live in Weston are the ones suffering.

Unless new people take over the top jobs at the council nothing will ever change for the better. This used to be a great town, but not any more.

MR L G SMITH

Rydal Road, Weston

Not the case

IN HIS letter in last week’s Mercury Ted Clark says there is no short stay parking available in the Locking Road car park in Weston. This is not the case.

Since March this year the area behind the toilet block at the car park entrance has been opened up and made into a short stay parking area.

There are two signs pointing to this area. It has its own pay and display machine to obtain a short stay ticket with charges starting at just 50p for 30 minutes.

As a Blue Badge holder, Mr Clark would also be allowed 30 minutes free parking beyond the expiry of the purchased ticket.

All charges and conditions are displayed on the tariff board in the short stay parking area.

ALLAN TAYLOR

Car Parking Manager,

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston

Increased costs

I WRITE with reference to the town centre pay-and-display parking scheme.

We can see now from last week’s Mercury what Councillor Elfan Ap Rees wants from it – fees charged in many more places for shoppers, costs increased for visiting tradesmen, and residents with cars to move out of town?

BRIAN SHELDRAKE

Palmer and Hopkins Street Residents’ Association, Palmer Row, Weston

Patronising and elitist

THE various reported comments about the parking charges coming from the North Somerset executive members suggest to me that they are patronising and elitist, working under the theory that people in terraced houses shouldn’t own cars.

Not content with victimising Weston residents they are now hacking down our trees and giving stupid explanations for doing it. The latest victims are the flourishing old trees in Oxford Street that provided useful shelter on wet days. The explanation given is reported to be that it will improve our view of the town hall balcony.

Now that smacks of delusions of grandeur. If our esteemed leader is going to start making balcony speeches we should keep a wary eye open. His gang has done more to damage our local heritage than the Luftwaffe managed when they tried it.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

Perplexed

I REFER to the letter published in the Mercury’s letters column last week, purportedly written by me, in relation to the former Tropicana site in Weston.

This letter was written on a very old letterhead font and logo, using my name, and a former title that I held, as well as giving a false address in Banwell, which, upon investigation, appears to be the registered office of a number of limited companies, and is signed in a similar, but clearly forged, handwriting style.

I can confirm to the Mercury, and its readers, and the large number of local UKIP members and supporters, that I had no role or knowledge whatsoever in its production, but I must admit that I’m completely perplexed by the actions of this ‘ghost’ author, and what they really hoped to achieve by writing this letter.

I have referred this matter to the fraud squad at Avon & Somerset Constabulary for further investigation, and reserve the right to commence legal proceedings against anyone who uses my name, without either my knowledge, or express written permission.

JAMES CARVER

Political Representative of William Dartmouth MEP, UK Independence Party, Broomsgreen, Dymock, Gloucestershire

Further claim

IN RESPONSE to last week’s story headlined ‘Couple ordered to demolish buildings’, I would like to point out that we were awarded compensation amounting to tens of thousands of pounds and had three counts of maladministration upheld in May this year. We also have a further claim due to the latest decision by the planning inspector.

Councillor Ian Porter’s remarks that we did not follow procedure are incorrect as we have permission for storage on our site. Our buildings are mobile and can be moved, not demolished.

KELVIN AND JANET GLIMSTEAD

Milton Road, Weston

Much better

I RECENTLY visited Weston after an absence of eight years and was delighted how it is changing. Being disabled, I found I could get around much better.

The wide esplanade is much better, with plenty of seating around so you could sit and take in the views. The new pier is fresher and welcoming. While in Weston I caught the No1 bus to Sand Bay Leisure Resort and was welcomed there by some of the old staff who remembered me. This has also gone through a facelift.

Everyone I spoke to was welcoming and friendly. Keep up the good work Weston and I look forward to visiting again soon.

THOMAS HUNTINGTON

Viewfield Crescent, Dudley, West Midlands

Stay away

I’M SICK to death of letters from old people moaning about Weston and comparing it to the good old days when they used to visit.

Now they just moan and slag off the town. My message to them is stay away, we don’t need you.

This town has been dead for the last 10 to 15 years as all true Westonians know, regardless of who you blame - Tories, Labour, or Lib Dems.

What with the influx of drug and drink rehabs etc, the town has been allowed to sink into despair. The police, social workers, general do-gooders, etc, know this and are happy to let it happen, and just leave the good folk of Weston to put up and shut up and get on with it.

It is easier to get drugs in this town than a pint of cider. Walk along any town street and you can get high on the smell on people’s clothes. They even smoke it on the streets. Try walking along the Boulevard on any day.

So to all you day-trippers, old time trippers, please stay away from Weston. Don’t waste your money here.

And then, when Weston has sunk as low as possible and the so-called great and the good can see what a mess they have made, it will be up to Weston’s next generation of money men to put the ‘super’ back into Weston. But don’t blink, you might miss it.

S TAYLOR

Alfred Street, Weston

Derisive

I WRITE with reference to the article headlined ‘Councils and villagers unite to oppose industrial blot on the landscape’.

I feel that as both a resident of Compton Bishop and an employee of SDS, the article seems derisive.

It is loaded against the future expansion of a company whose innovations are designed to manage the sustainability of what could potentially be the next liquid gold (water).

I am also amazed that as a resident of Compton Bishop for the last eight years not one member of the parish council approached me or my family for any input into the decisions that it has made.

From a first hand point of view I can confirm that there are various local businesses that do very well from SDS and all of its employees ranging from the local hot food van on the A38 to local garages and hire companies to name but a few.

DAVID CHADWICK

Contract Operations Manager,

Castlemills, Biddisham


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