LETTERS TO THE EDITOR JANUARY 13 2012

PUBLISHED: 10:09 13 January 2012

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Your views

Archant

As a whole

I HAVE read with interest in the Mercury the remarks made by council leader Nigel Ashton that the Tropicana should be knocked down.

What is wrong with these people? Do they not realise that the more attractions there are in Weston – a major seaside resort – the more money is spent to the benefit of North Somerset as a whole.

Let all councillors know and be warned, never, never, never should the Tropicana be demolished. With the closure of Birnbeck Pier and the theatre and baths at Knightstone, Weston is devoid of seafront facilities and the Tropicana should be developed not demolished to become the only swimming facility on an otherwise barren seafront – Grand Pier excepted.

Those irresponsible people on North Somerset Council should very carefully take note and inwardly digest the strength of public opinion. For many years and quite constantly letters have appeared in the Mercury all expressing the wish and desire for the Tropicana pool to be developed.

Henry Boot, Richard Nightingale to their great credit, and others have all put forward schemes, but time and time again they have encountered the prevarication and negative thinking of the councillors the majority of whom do not live in the town and in my humble opinion are not therefore particularly interested in Weston.

Now too old to engage in such activity, years ago as a family we used to spend very many happy summer days at the old pool with its high diving board – and occasional beauty contest.

I realise I am perhaps barking up the wrong tree or starring at a brick wall, or whatever metaphor you call to use, but will public opinion backed by commonsense ever enter the portals of the Town Hall and more especially enter the minds of those elected to serve? I must express my doubts.

RICHARD BIRTILL

Bleadon Hill, Weston

Lucky enough

I JUST wanted to say re the Tropicana, that I was lucky enough to be born in the 1950s and as a child had the advantage of using Fishponds Lido, the open air Clifton Baths and Weston-super-Mare Lido.

Sadly I still can’t swim but remember hours of fun.

Last year in the freezing weather my husband and I had lunch at the Clifton open air pool, so while enjoying a super lunch in the warm we were able to watch people swimming in the heated pool, with all the facilities to hand after their swim.

The point I want to make is our Tropicana is a wonderful design of the 1930s which I believe very strongly is iconic to Weston.

We don’t need a roof straightaway but our pool back with a decent cafe and restaurant overlooking with daytime and evening access.

Sometimes less really is more.

DENISE JACOBS

Whitecross Road, Weston

Condemned

TO ALL the concerned and distressed residents of Weston, including myself, who have written in and condemned the deplorable attitude of the North Somerset councillors with respect to the Tropicana, and the fact they totally ignore what we, the taxpayers, need and want for Weston, I would ask one simple question.

Why do you keep voting for them?

JUDI MASSA

Bristol Road Lower, Weston

Cannot flourish

AT LEAST Margaret Thatcher sold the nation’s family silver; North Somerset Council has trashed Weston’s Tropicana and Grove Park.

Weston cannot flourish under North Somerset. Weston and the villages which depend on the town (the old Winterstoke Hundred) need to separate from North Somerset District Council.

ROBERT CRAIG

Priory Road, Weston

What a delight

I AM writing to thank the Mercury for the pantomime tickets my husband won for Peter Pan at Bristol Hippodrome.

It was our youngest son Harry’s first visit to the pantomime and what a delight it was.

He had such a wonderful, magical time, my boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves and haven’t stopped acting out Peter Pan and Captain Hook scenes since! ‘The Hoff’ was excellent in his role as Captain Hook, but my husband and I agree that Mr Smee (Andy Ford) stole the show.

He was amazing, so funny with his jokes for adults and children that he had the whole theatre in stitches.

No Christmas is complete without a trip to the pantomime and you at the Mercury made our Christmas complete with our family ticket. Thank you so much.

V COUSINS AND HER LITTLE PIRATE BOYS

Whitting Road, Weston

Entertained

OUR family would like to say a big thank you to the Catherine’s Inn Bleadon for such a fantastic time on New Year’s Eve.

We were entertained all night with music, bingo, dancing and a cabaret with Malt Loaf and the Raisonettes – Adam Buick, Kelly and Vicky worked tirelessly all night entertaining everyone and the staff serving behind the bar were so friendly.

We were also given a first class buffet that consisted of a main course and dessert.

There was a lovely family atmosphere and everyone came together for Auld Lang Syne and dancing after midnight.

The staff and management of Catherine’s Inn did themselves proud, well done and thank you on behalf of all your customers.

STEVE AND JILL HUISH

Ladymead Lane, Langford

Resurfacing

I SUGGEST you blazen across the front page of the Mercury the name of and congratulations to the firm who carried out the recent resurfacing of Earlham Grove from the Hughendon Road/Birchwood Avenue roundabout to Locking Road, and retain them for all future road work in town.

It’s now a pleasure to drive down smooth, quiet and bumpless - a big improvement on the usual way that our roads are done.

Pour a load of tar down, shovel stones all over it then stick up signs saying to drivers, please don’t exceed 15mph while you flatten the surface, we’ll come back in a fortnight and sweep up the excess.

This leaves all existing holes, while a fair amount of the stones finish up stuck under the wheel arches of vehicles acting as free road rollers.

ALAN CHILCOTT

Brendon Avenue, Weston

Recycling

OVER the Christmas period we saved our recycling and separated it in our green box, put it outside for our collection on December 31.

When no recycling in our road was collected we put it out on January 6 our normal day for collection, still no collection and none in our road.

We got up Sunday January 8 to find a normal wheeley bin lorry putting all the recycling in together with food waste with a big notice on the side of the lorry saying don’t send these items to landfill.

So what is the use of recycling when the council do this.

MR ENSELL

Ladye Wake, Worle

Rubbish

WHAT a load of rubbish. This time last year we were told that the bad weather delayed the collection of refuse. This year perfect weather and still the council and May Gurney have not got their act together.

Our normal collection is on Fridays and in Christmas week it would be a day later – fair enough. At last it was collected on the following Monday by the recycling vehicle.

The next week would see normal service being resumed ie January 6. No sign Friday, no sign Saturday but wait a minute – here comes the landfill wagon on Sunday. Presumably the contents to be sorted back at the depot.

Then on Monday this week - what’s this – an actual recycling vehicle comes looking for what has been collected the day before! Not only that but in the space of an hour several recycling vehicles go up and down Mead Vale.

Why a Sunday collection in a landfill vehicle when recycling men are out anyway the following day? What a waste of taxpayers’ money and the council is so-called cash-strapped. Rubbish indeed.

T PENWELL

Mead Vale, Worle

Pile up

I APPRECIATE this may not be of much interest but it matters very much to me and the other residents of our close.

This refers to even numbers 4-20 Walkers Drive, Weston Village.

The rubbish should have been collected Friday December 30 but was not. I sent an email on the Saturday and since then numerous phone calls have been made and emails sent to the council by several residents but nothing happened.

Today (Monday) at about 11.45am one of the smaller grey refuse collections vehicles pulled into the close with two men in it.

The passenger got out whilst the driver remained in the vehicle. He removed the rubbish from numbers 12, 14, 16 and 18 but left it at 4, 6, 10 and 20 and they then drove off.

As you can appreciate there is more rubbish than usual as it covers nearly four weeks and is over the Christmas and new year period.

My wife has rung the council at midday who were not particularly interested. It was claimed it may have been because the vehicle was full which it wasn’t, and it will probably now be the next collection date on Thursday.

We can’t even be hopeful of that as they missed the two previous collections on December 1 and 15 and it was only collected after they were contacted.

As you can appreciate the rubbish is beginning to pile up and we just seem to be banging our heads against a brick wall.

They can’t use the snow as an excuse which they did last year.

It says on their logo North Somerset Council working for you. Nothing could be further from the truth.

ANDREW SAULT

Walkers Drive, Weston

Generalities

MANY of the correspondents in your letter columns seem to be very disaffected with the North Somerset Council officers and the latter’s apparent disregard for all things Weston. The Tropicana debacle and recent Grove Park decisions spring to mind.

This is not surprising since the huge unitary authority only deals in generalities and hasn’t any intimate knowledge of particular neighbourhoods. Is this any wonder when only 26 out of 61 councillors have an affinity with the town that produces the major regional income by far?

Only a return to a Weston Borough Council form of local government will change the undemocratic nature of the totalitarian top down style of planning and expenditure priorities that now disenchant the people of Weston.

Perhaps it is time for those councillors who represent Weston to petition the Boundary Commission to this effect?

PETER MARTIN

Cecil Road, Weston

Report

I WOULD like to say how disappointed I was with the front page article in the Mercury that implied that North Somerset Council was grassing over flower beds purely as a result of cost cutting, and the implications from some that it was being done at Christmas time to deceive the residents of Weston.

I prepared a report for the North Somerset executive member some months ago, which included my recommendations for the future proposals for floral displays in Weston, in line with the possible budget cuts.

This report contained a large amount of proposals, some, I agree were on the need for cost savings, and these are still subject to discussions, but many were made on the basis of sound horticultural practice, good design and a move to sustainability in the planning schemes. This report was also supported by a fellow independent expert horticulturist and gold medal garden designer.

Many of these proposals are being adopted and undertaken in conjunction with the North Somerset officers responsible for the public open spaces, and this work, which started some time ago, will continue over the coming months. Annual bedding does have a place in our parks, but it is now generally recognised by the horticultural community that there should be a move to more sustainable planting in many of our parks.

The proposal to grass over the flower beds in Prince Consort Garden was taken for purely horticultural reasons, the annual bedding has responded very poorly in this exposed location, and was disappointing even at the height of last season. These beds are also completely out of context with their surroundings, and were arbitrarily added a few years ago, so it is much better for this garden to have a good expanse of well maintained lawns.

The flower beds in Grove Park were again removed for horticultural reasons, but this time because they are located in the shade of some very large trees, and again when inspected at the height of last season were of very poor in quality. If the area is inspected now it will be seen to be much more in keeping with its surroundings. This work is all part of an on-going programme by North Somerset and was not done or planned in a clandestine manner to coincide with Christmas, and I very much resent these implications.

In very difficult times, many of us are working very hard to not only maintain the quality of the parks and opens spaces in Weston, but wish to see an overall improvement, but this will require the support of many friends and organisations. At present a local school is designing and will be planting a large perennial border in Grove Park, there will be new sub-tropical planting around the pond and together with the Macmillan beds and new sponsored planting near the old café site, the park is planned to look even better next year.

The Weston in Bloom team is working hard to try and secure a gold medal for Weston in the South West in Bloom competition, and I am certainly supporting them fully in its ambitions.

It is hoped to get a ‘Friends of Grove Park’ group established in the new year, and there are still many other challenges ahead.

CLLR TERRY PORTER

Vice chairman, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mercury went to North Somerset Council for comment on the article with specific regard to the sites mentioned in the report. The information received from the council was included in the article.

Sad night

WHAT a sad night it was on December 29, for those of us who regularly go to Sand Bay Leisure Resort for Twixmas, when it was announced that the very popular band Atlantis, with band leader Gordon Rodger of Weston, were finishing that night.

As many know Sand Bay is for the golden oldies? and Atlantis is well-known for their superb dance music, playing sequence, modern ballroom, line dancing, old tyme and even a little jive.

You only have to see how packed the ballroom is, with dedicated dancers from all over, many coming several times a year, because of the Atlantis band. Gordon, at 77, knows exactly what the guests want, and also creates a lovely friendly atmosphere.

However management has decided to terminate their contract. Need I stress that the band and their music will be greatly missed, and I cannot understand why this decision was taken, when they are so very popular, and had been there for 16 years.

Their popularity with the guests, which has meant many return bookings and recommendations, has been completely disregarded.

One hopes that whichever band takes their place will be able to satisfy and play the right music (and not too loud either) for their older guests, but somehow I doubt it. Perhaps management thinks that loud disco music would make us happier, or are they planning to open the resort to younger people and families, who would want that type of music. At present it is for the over 55s, most guests ages are around 70 to late 80s, the majority being very keen dancers.

One final thought, there is a saying “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it” and that would apply in this case.

MARGARET TUCKER

Victoria Crescent, Crediton

One of the best

I RECENTLY attended the Playhouse to see its annual pantomime. This year it was Aladdin.

I was in the entertainment business for more than 35 years mainly in local government and I have seen numerous pantomimes in that time. I have seen some bad ones and some really good ones but this production was one of the best I have ever seen. The pantomime ran for nearly three hours but it did not feel like it as the show went along at a very fast pace.

All the performers put 110 per cent into their performance and I could not fault any of the main characters. John Challis as the evil Abanazar had the audience hating him (in a nice way) from the start of the show.

Keith Simmons and Ben Simmons as PC Me and Sergeant You were a great double act and threw in some new jokes and routines. Craig Daniel Adams as Aladdin played the character to perfection and Paul Arden Griffith as Emperor Chop Suey brought the house down with his excellent rendering of Nessun Dorma.

There were also excellent performances by Kelly Sims (Slave of the Ring), Jason Sutton (Widow Twankey), Cat Sandion (Princess Jasmine) and David O’Reilly as Genie of The Lamp but the star of the show for me was Terry Gleed as Wishee Washee who enjoyed a great banter with the packed audience and was so energetic in his performance. When you add in The Pantomime dancers, the children from The Tina Counsell School of Dance and Drama and the excellent musicians in the pit this was a show that proved that the traditional Christmas pantomime is still alive and kicking.

DAVID KINGSBURY

Mendip Avenue, Worle

I READ from last week’s Mercury, that they’re at it again; the delinquent minority responsible for the destruction of soccer training equipment used by St Johns Junior Football club.

What is the reason for this wanton destruction that these individuals like to express in such practical terms?

As far as I’m concerned those responsible have degenerated into a calculated, frenzied and ferocious minority hell-bent on displaying their unsavoury talents, and much to the utter contempt and disgust by everybody.

If their parents were to scrutinize their own conduct – the concern with material possessions, the deceptions practised for business and social gains, the callous acceptances of intolerance – they might well find the seeds of their children’s deplorable conduct.

We need however, to be careful not to allow the intensity of our feelings to get the better of our judgement.

There’s always the other side. Look around Weston and you’ll find boys and girls who seem to operate on highly charged, built-in dynamos that never seem to run down.

They don’t indulge in arson or vandalism of any kind. They don’t get drunk.

They don’t indulge in wild orgies or acts of violence, but they do lead tremendously exciting lives at a breaknet pace that completely baffles us, the older generation.

These youngsters can be seen taking part in all forms of activities provided for them.

Unfortunately they don’t always get the publicity usually reserved for the minority who shame Weston. But it is at least refreshing to know that Weston’s crop of inveterate failures who have this pathological obsession to destroy property of all kinds, are outnumbered by the law-abiding young people of this town.

RON ELLIS

Westbrook Road, Milton, Weston

FOLLOWING our 22nd annual Comfort at Christmas Shelter campaign held at St Paul’s, Walliscote Road, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the church and especially all the businesses who helped make this year another success.

These included free curry meal (Hussain’s Restaurant); free stew (Lov’s Cafe); free loan of television and DVD (Castells); free coffee and equipment (Wogan’s Coffee). Countless donations of cash, food, bedding and clothing from local people, schools, churches.

But most of all a huge thank you to all the volunteers for giving up their time to run the shelter over six days (five nights).

JON CODD

Chairman

Comfort at Christmas, Weston

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