Letters to the Editor, May 12, 2011

PUBLISHED: 11:43 13 May 2011

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Archant

Timetable

WE USED to live in the middle of town, but moved last week up by Marine Lake, so decided to buy a bus timetable as we would need to get the bus into town in future, as my partner is disabled.

So last night I looked up the time of the bus around 9.10pm and found one at 10.03pm.

I got there 10 minutes early to make sure we didn’t miss it.

There was a small timetable attached to the bus stop which said the bus was due at 10.09pm.

By now it was 10.10.

There was also a text line I could text to see the time of the next bus; it came back as 10.09 also. At 10.20pm we phoned for a taxi.

When the taxi came a few minutes later he told us the number 1 bus stops running at about 7pm so why is it in the bus timetable as running until 11.03pm when it stops at least four hours earlier?

So thanks for wrecking our one night out.

PAULA DRAPER

Paragon Road, Weston

Foot patrols

I WAS walking down to my local corner shop. I approached a pair of young boys who were throwing stones at each other.

Showing no fear I continued walking towards them, one of them, no older than seven carried on throwing stones, but decided to use me as a target!

I enquired if he played cricket, and if he did he was clearly a good player.

On returning they were still there and one of them put his fists up and asked me if I wanted a fight.

I am 58 years old.

Through your columns may I request that the police put on more foot patrols around the estates these long evenings.

Better still the Home Office should allocate funding so that children can be found positive activities to do.

Childhood should be fun, not a rehearsal for prison!

SIMON ARNALL-CULLIFORD

Creswell Close, Worle

Thank you

ON BEHALF of everyone who helped in the street collection in Weston on Saturday, I would like to thank the public who so generously contributed £277 for our bears.

These bears so deserve our help having been kept in rusty cages for years and years and daily milked for their bile, causing excruciating pain and suffering.

To date we have saved 377 of these beautiful creatures and every bear deserves a second chance.

Thanks to our efforts these bears are living out their lives in peace and without fear in our sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.

So, well done everyone and thank you North Somerset Council for granting us the permit for the collection.

For more information please go to our website www.animalsasia.org or contact your local support group in Weston, A Davis on 01934 625990.

VIVIENNE SHAKESPEARE-JONES

Animals Asia Foundation, Tregondale Farm, Menheniot, Cornwall

Disgust

I REACTED with outrage, disgust and disbelief when I saw the front page Mercury of May 5.

Outrage and disgust because a lovely picture of children enjoying a party was above article advertising, yes advertising the fact that a mobile brothel was to set off on tour from Weston.

Disbelief that such a prestige publication as the Mercury should publish the article as being suitable as front page news. Did it not occur to someone that, as the article was so obvious on the front page, it could so easily have been seen and read by children, possibly leading to embarrassing questions for parents?

In my opinion you have insulted readers of the Mercury by assuming that they would be so interested in learning about a mobile brothel that the article warranted a place on the front page with a large unmissable headline.

MR E A KING

Beach Road, Weston

Touring

I SEE we have a sex bus

My goodness, oh what fun!

We’ll know where all the chaps are

When the working day is done.

It’s touring round the lay-bys,

The campsites, Brean as well,

They may turn up outside your house,

You know we just can’t tell.

It’s just one more attraction

To add to all the rest,

Park up by the ‘carrot’

The weekend would be the best.

The services that they provide

Could do the town a favour,

Spank the drunks, humiliate,

It’s something they would saviour.

Our town is changing, every day

It’s enough to make you weep,

The bus could have its uses

And give us all a good nights sleep!

B NEALE

Little George Street, Weston

Offence

I AM a regular reader of the Mercury but wonder if I might have purchased my last copy. Why?

The front page article on ‘Sex bus brothel’ would have been more fitting on one of the more salacious ‘red top tabloids’ than on what I have thought to be a family newspaper. The article could almost have had ‘Advertiser’s Feature’ written above it!

I feel sorry for anyone with a white camper van who happens to pull up in a lay-by on their way to a holiday in the West Country.

They will be in for a big surprise! Surely such activities that are going on in the lay-bys that you mentioned in your article could be construed as ‘offence to public decency’. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that there are far more important issues going on in our town, county, and country that are worthy of a front page promotion on our local newspaper it is not a read top tabloid.

DON CLAPSON

Whittington Drive, Weston

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are sorry if last week’s front page story offended anyone. It leaves us to wonder how people differentiate between reports of a sexual nature, such as last week’s one and this week’s one about a paedophile teacher. We appreciate it is a very fine line we tread and it is hard to get it right 100 per cent of the time. We do appreciate it when our readers share their different points of view.

Election night

I ATTENDED the local election count at the Winter Gardens last Thursday night. The polling stations had closed at 10pm and I had assumed that the first of the counts would commence at around 11pm or soon after.

Imagine my surprise when the count for my husband’s ward didn’t start until well after 3am with the result not being announced until after 6am. I had to be at work soon after 8.30am and was therefore up all night.

The organisation of the poll and its aftermath was chaotic. Firstly, voting slips for all three issues - parish, district and the AV referendum - had been posted in the same box at every polling station. These had to be separated into three individual piles at the Winter Gardens and separately counted to check that each total tallied with the number of papers issued as recorded by the polling clerks. If there was a discrepancy, the number of papers had to recounted up to four times before the “issue” figure could be amended.

This process took several hours and meant that around 80 temporary staff brought in for the count (at around £12 an hour) spent long periods sitting around with nothing to do. Indeed, one had been told that she would be requ

ired only until around 3am and had to leave at that time to get home to get some sleep before going to work.

Why could North Somerset Council not have purchased additional boxes so that voting slips could have been separated at source as people voted? I appreciate that the AV vote was a one-off but the parish and district elections always take place on the same day so additional boxes would get regular use.

The cost of additional boxes would have been off-set by the money saved by employing the temporary counting staff for far fewer hours.

Additionally, the constant recounts of voting slips prior to the counting of the votes themselves could have been avoided if one of the polling clerks had been assigned to check that everyone placed each of their three voting slips in the three appropriate boxes. As it was, the single box was frequently on the other side of the polling station and out of sight of the seated officers when they were issuing slips to the next voters to arrive.

If shortage of staff makes that an arguable suggestion, then the box (or, preferably, boxes) could have been placed where it/they could be easily seen by the seated clerks. As it was, several people had obviously pocketed one or more of their voting slips for some reason or other and had taken them away with them. This would seem to be the only explanation for the discrepancy in numbers at the subsequent count.

A great number of people were shocked and put out by the seemingly lack of proper organisation at the count. Perhaps the suggestions I have proposed above will avoid such a debacle ever occurring again.

MRS ANNE LEY-MORGAN

Elmsleigh Road, Weston

Tropicana

THE North Somerset Tories’ pledge, in a last minute local election leaflet distributed in West Ward, to provide a revamped Tropicana within two years rang hollow given that they and their Lib Dem partners had the best part of 20 years to get it right.

North Somerset should do as Clevedon Independent Councillor David Shopland proposed several years ago and hand the Trop over to Weston Town Council to sort out, and give the Town Council enough money to do the job.

North Somerset has twice let us down badly in the last ten years by signing contracts with Mace and Henry Boot. If Portishead can have a simple and successful modernised pool, why can’t Weston?

Weston Central Ward is one of the most deprived council wards in the country. A decent swimming facility on the doorstep is needed for the health of that community and could be used by local schools, as well as supplying a visitor attraction.

My party (All The South) fully endorses the long expressed wish of Weston people for a full sized pool on the seafront. Elsewhere in Britain, seaside towns are investing in their lidos; not wrecking them as North Somerset has done with ours.

ROBERT CRAIG

‘All The South Party’ candidate in Weston West

Priory Road, Weston

Memorial Hall

HOW refreshing to know that a parish council spokesman was “relieved and delighted” that the position of a licensee has been filled and that Congresbury War Memorial Hall can stay open.

This is a comment from a parish council that has had virtually no interest in the village hall for many years, preferring to seemingly throw money at their own premises, The Old School Rooms, which in all but name they have promoted as the village hall over several years.

If anyone knows of a parish council that shows less interest in their village hall please let me know.

IRVING PROWSE

Wrington Road, Congresbury

NORTH Somerset Arts Week (NSAW) has allowed the public the opportunity to visit artists, and to view their work at their homes, studios as well as in buildings of unique, or historic character.

These venues transformed themselves into galleries to showcase a rich variety of art, and have demonstrated that creativity is alive and well in North Somerset.

It was indeed uplifting to discover the diversity of artistic talent that resides in this region. I was extremely impressed by the calibre of the artwork.

However, this event would not take place were it not for a group of selfless people with a passion for art. In today’s self-indulgent society where ‘takers’ are many, and ‘givers’ are few, it is humbling to find people who have given of their time, effort and capabilities, voluntarily, with their only rewards being that the event runs smoothly and that the participating artists have valued the opportunity of showing their creative output.

The organisation of NSAW was undertaken by the steering committee, who also oversaw the materials necessary to publicise the event.

Every aspect was thought of in marketing this event, and the informative guide booklets, as well as the North Somerset Arts website, were comprehensive and professional.

Congratulations to all the participating artists, and especially to the committee - with particular mention to the dynamic co-ordinator, Annie Taylor - who obviously put in an extraordinary, ‘behind-the-scenes’ effort to ensure that the event was a success.

B FRANK

Clarence Road South, Weston

I WAS pleased to read how developer Urban Splash has been holding meeting with North Somerset Council, English Heritage, the Friends of the Old Pier Society and the RNLI to try and find a way to fund the Birnbeck Pier project amid news that its long awaited restoration has run into financial difficulties.

Walking recently on Clevedon’s picturesque pier, I found it hard to believe that had it not been for the efforts of some very determined local people, this beautiful example of Victorian engineering might well have been lost forever.

Clevedon’s pier was fully reopened in 1998 after disaster struck on October 17 1970 when during routine load testing the two end spans of the structure collapsed into the sea. This catastrophe could have signalled the end of this proud landmark had it not been for the efforts of local people to see it preserved.

So why, I ask, have we in our resort of Weston not taken a leaf out of the way local people of Clevedon put a new lease of life back into their pier.

We must get the message across to developer Urban Splash and North Somerset Council, if you do not get your acts together fast our historic Grade II Victorian Birnbeck Pier will be lost forever into the sea below.

As someone a lot wiser than me once said: “You never miss something until its gone”.

After the 1970 collapse of Clevedon Pier, it could easily have been lost forever.

So let’s get Birnbeck Pier off the ground, saved and restored for future generations and for ourselves to enjoy.

D F COURTNEY

Victoria Park, Weston

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