Letters to the Editor, July 24, 2014

PUBLISHED: 11:05 25 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:05 25 July 2014

Archant

RE: WINTER GARDENS. Well done Laurence Orme, that was Weston as I remember it. Every word of your letter rang true.

Surely Mr Lammiman can not be serious about stopping folk enjoying themselves, especially in this shaky, uncertain world we are living in at this moment in time.

Why doesn’t he just get on with it and put up the entrance fees, for surely this is what this nonsense is all about.

How can you stop dancing on that lovely floor in the Winter Gardens.

MARY PARSONS

Stoddens Lane, Burnham

WE THOUGHT we would go into town on Saturday night to the Winter

Gardens, to attend one of Sid’s last dances.

The dance was great, which we left at 11pm to catch the bus. That’s when the fun started.

While us and two other couples were waiting for a bus, a drunk came and stood in

front of us saluting, and going through some drunken drawl, at the end he started begging for money, saying he was an ex-soldier.

As we ignored him he left muttering and swearing.

As soon as he went away a car drove past with the windows down, slowing down at the bus stop and the passengers calling out and swearing. We did not understand what they had said, but as typical drunks they drove down past the pier turned round and came back to give us a second round.

That was followed by the drunk returning and again begging for money, who again gave us abuse and left. We were relieved to see the bus arrive for us to get on.

It was 11.15pm and not a policeman in sight. No wonder the elderly are stopping going into town of an evening.

TOM FLYNN

Wainwright Close, Worle

I READ last week’s Mercury headline story with mounting concern. Once again, it seems to me, that someone who has not been able to have their way to their entire satisfaction, can claim ‘racial discrimination’. Now hold on!

I have known Cllr Clive Darke for many years both as a fellow town councillor (2000-2011) - where, incidentally, he has worked tirelessly for Weston’s allotment holders, in particular - and as a member of the Lions Club of Weston which raises tens of thousands of pounds for a variety of local charities each and every year. I have never heard him utter a racially offensive comment.

Weston Town Council (WTC) has a current annual budget of over £1.374million and its expenditure must be taken with great care. Additional pressure on that budget has been created by the recently-threatened closure of North Somerset Council (NSC) toilets in Weston which WTC has kept open at considerable expense and by other costs borne only by Westonians. All WTC expenditure must be carefully considered and councillors must always bear in mind that they have a duty to every local ratepayer to spend the precept wisely. It’s other people’s money.

Taken on its own, every application for funding by various organisations can be very persuasive. But this is ratepayers money and in all matters it is extremely important that councillors debate each issue from every aspect. It’s no good thinking of reasons an expense should not be incurred after the decision has been made and members have gone home. Thank goodness that some councillors are better at thinking on their feet than others and can consider the wider implications of a decision before it is made. I was often accused of being ‘negative’ in council debates but was frequently playing the Devil’s Advocate so that matters were fully considered from every angle.

One aspect of life in the UK, admired around the world, is our jealous support of free speech. However, if personal opinion, reasonably expressed, is no longer expressible, then where are we heading?

I note from the Mercury report that Ms Ashworth says that the town clerk had telephoned her to apologise “on behalf of members (of WTC) the following day”. However, the clerk, as a WTC employee, only acts under the instruction of councillors. What I believe happened was that the clerk rang simply to explain that proper procedure hadn’t been followed and Ms Ashworth should not have been present during the committee’s discussions.

Finally, I consider it more than ironic that Cllr Taylor (Lab) is reported as saying that “people come to this country to work and are more likely to work than the indigenous population”.

Now there’s a racial comment if I ever heard one!

JOHN LEY-MORGAN

Elmsleigh Road, Weston

WITH response to Colin Hunt’s remarks on the public sector, perhaps he would do better and look at the other side of the coin, where it could be that the private sector had a lot of happy contented workforce, looked after by their employers, where as the public sector, a lot of the workforce, I won’t say all, are exploited, working on a low wage, or below minimum wage, and just trying to earn an honest living.

Having worked in the public sector for 49 years, I can assure Mr Hunt that it is not the easiest, best-rewarded and most secure world, when it seems like an ever-lasting fight against each elected government.

TONY JAKEMAN

Beach Road, Weston

IT WAS great to read last week that North Somerset Council (NSC) has finally taken some positive action by voting unanimously to reprieve the derelict Tropicana as a temporary events venue.

And, after nearly a year of failure, the decision also gives Derek Mead’s Trop Trust (TT) more time to raise the necessary funding for its pool project. But I’m puzzled.

Following many months of bitter complaining that the council has been blocking its efforts, TT’s spokesperson Amanda Sutherland perversely now wants it to defer the plan. She told the Mercury: “the report before members is surprising in its content as it moves away from the position that NSC has taken in all proceedings so far”. But isn’t that exactly what TT has wanted all this time?

In a smart move, TT has now hired Jess Steele who was involved in a six year project to restore the old Hastings Pier. Rather embarrassingly for her new clients though, Ms Steele told the council meeting that it would be preferable for the Tropicana to be leased from it rather than being owned outright as TT is still attempting. And, of course, the running costs of a restored pier are nothing like those of the modern pool complex envisaged for the Weston seafront. So our own soap opera continues with another cliff-hanger - it will be interesting to see what happens in the next thrilling instalment.

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

DURING a recent visit to my GP, I was advised to go to A & E for a very minor procedure, one that I felt my GP could have easily performed.

When I saw the nurse practitioner I mentioned this to him, he agreed but advised that it was very rare for any GP to perform minor procedures; then to my surprise, he also informed me that my GP would be charged in the region of £90 for my visit. Time take to perform procedure five minutes, all that was needed was a pair of angled tweezers, cost in the region of £5.

ESTHER ROBERTSON

Ellenborough Crescent, Weston

IN REPLY to the letter headed ‘A Fantasy’ in this week’s Weston Mercury.

Lorraine, you asked us to imagine ample free parking all around Marine Lake, the High Street and close to all shops and amenities within Weston, and pointed out that the people of Portishead enjoyed this freedom.

However it is always difficult to find a parking space in these free facilities, and this causes drivers to park in other less appropriate places.

In Weston we have a radical special system, which asks for those who can, to pay and display, leaving the double yellow and inappropriate places to those of us who can’t or won’t pay.

Last Sunday I took my mother to lunch, why would I pay to park when all that lovely space is available for me to park outside the restaurant door, I was little inconvenienced by needing to walk any distance, or worry about the time, or if it should rain. After our two and a half hour lunch it was great to only walk a few steps to the car and go home ignoring the stares from families who parked further afield.

North Somerset Council should be congratulated on being so radical and forward-thinking to provide such an accommodating parking system to the people of Weston, it’s such a shame that it is not being used in places like Bath and Bristol who clearly do not care about their taxpaying residents needs having traffic wardens, tow away and resident parking.

ANDREW HAYES

Coombe Road, Weston

I TAKE issue with your complaint, E Hedges about the new traffic island, on Devonshire Road.

This had been wanted and definitely needed for years.

There are a lot of elderly and disabled people, my parents included, who live in that area, there is also a busy doctors’ surgery.

I have lost count of the times my parents have missed buses due to not being able to cross the road.

Devonshire Road is extremely dangerous, as traffic travels much faster than the 30mph limit.

Since the island has been installed they have found it much easier and safer to cross Devonshire Road.

Thank you North Somerset Council. Job well done.

HILLARY THORNE

Coralberry Drive, Weston

I AM incensed by the comments of the union/workers in the paper.

For many years they (more directly council/teachers) have had protected employment, pensions and pay rises compared to those of us in the private sector.

We even have to put up with changes in job/hours/and loss of protected pensions without anyone to turn to.

Long ago the private sector moved to contracting workers and reducing the permanent workforce - it’s a fact of economics.

It’s high time the Government lived up to its promises before being elected and brought in performance and job previews and Government pensions in line before the rest of us go broke supporting the privileged few. Especially now that I have to work until nearly 70. Not them I bet.

MIKE JEFFREY

Locking Road, Weston

ON July 12 five guests and I attended the ‘Allo ‘Allo Dinner Show at the Winter Gardens.

Not knowing what to expect we were overwhelmed by the decoration of the space, and the wonderful table layout. To be met at the door and given your table number was an added bonus – the food ‘wow’, a credit to the chefs and catering department.

Rene, Edith, Yvette, Flick and Gruber were fabulous, but let down a little by a dodgy sound system making them inaudible at times, but their sheer enthusiasm carried everyone along.

So c’est magnifique to the Winter Gardens and it shows Weston can still do it and has still got it by the bucket full.

DAVID POWELL

South Road Weston

I WOULD like to put a few matters straight following the article in last week’s Mercury.

As councillors we are being asked to do the best we can for the people of Weston. It is therefore perfectly reasonable, to question, where limited funding is going to be spent.

We have to make difficult decisions all the time and Ms Ashworth of Bringing Communities Together is only one of many which we have to consider. On this occasion it was felt that £500 should be given from our limited grant budget, instead of £1,000 requested.

So for Ms Ashworth to criticise the town council for doing nothing for their organisation in untrue.

With regards to the apology made by the town council, I was not consulted on this matter, and do not feel it is appropriate to do so on my behalf.

As for Cllr Tim Taylor Weston’s prospective labour candidate at the next general election, I was amazed at his comment regards the inability of English workers to work as hard as those from outside the country.

Perhaps his trade union supporters might take him to one side?

CLLR CLIVE DARKE

Town Councillor for Worle Central

Forest Drive, Weston

THE question has to asked, was the comment as quoted ‘racial’, as defined, or to sensationalise.

As a small boy I have heard the word ‘foreigners’ used to describe people, as not local, from outside of the area and in no way have I ever heard it used within this context as a racially derogatory manner, as suggested by Ms Ashworth in the article and the complaints made.

The article goes further in so much as to quote the term Westonian’s as having lived in the area for 15 years, again no mention of race, creed or colour was made.

I would therefore with respect suggest Ms Ashworth, (holding the position she does) takes more care in how she uses such a word.

I can only think it may have been used to attract front page headline news, given that others have a differing view to that of Ms Ashworth.

LINDSAY SMITH

South Road, Weston

I RECEIVED a letter from Royal Mail reference our address ie, Avon.

I’ve got tired of having it on my mail.

I have taken their advice and written to our local council with a copy of the letter requesting that it makes amendments to its files.

So everyone who has written in can see what could be a satisfactory outcome.

PRISCILLA BREAKSPEAR

Oldmixon Road, Hutton

COULD anybody who knows the present address or phone number of Mrs Iris Parsons who use to live at 22 Chestnut Close, Congresbury, please contact me as I have a very important letter for her that has been sent to my address.

EDWARD CLARK

Chestnut Close, Congresbury

I WRITE in praise of my doctors at Churchill Surgery, the NHS and Weston General Hospital.

The speed with which I received tests and care and results during a cancer scare just recently was amazing. I am lucky my tests proved negative.

We are so lucky here in this health authority area and people should stop complaining about it.

Many thanks to Mr Rowe and his caring team.

CHRISTINE WOOD

Parsons Way, Winscombe

COUNCILLOR Darke’s and Councillor Peter Fox’s remarks (front page article Charity cash ‘for Weston people only’?) need unpicking.

Who are Westonians and who are foreigners? Fifteen years living here why not 14? Why not 16? Why not actually ask people whether they

consider themselves to be Westonian, or even whether it matters to them?

Maybe it does; but that doesn’t preclude other identities. Westonians may also be Britons, Europeans, indeed, world citizens, or in Cllr Fox’s

words ‘people from all over the world’. The more identities we see in ourselves, the more cohesive our society will be, because we then

recognise what we have in common with others. Comments like Cllr Darke’s and Cllr Fox’s would permit us only one identity, and that is divisive,

not cohesive.

Furthermore, they would place us in a rigid pecking order where someone’s idea of the top of the pile, those with the right identity, will get preferential treatment at the expense of those further down.

Weston should look after its own first? Maybe they should spare a thought for those British holidaymakers in other European countries, and even residents (for example, the one million in Spain) who, quite rightly, enjoy free or subsidised healthcare, in part paid for by us all out of the European purse, and in part by national governments. Or maybe for those residents from Britain who, at the expense of local authorities, can learn the local language so that they can integrate better and at the time they need it most, as soon as they arrive in the country to live. They don’t have to wait 15 years.

The comments of these two councillors illustrate a dangerously ignorant narrowness of world view. Given free rein, they would drive us all in a them and us direction. From a myopic and deeply questionable list of priorities, they would push us to pick and choose who to help and who to ignore. They do not speak for us.

MELANIE HAMER AND MALCOLM CUTHBERTSON

Edinburgh Place, Weston

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