Letters to the Editor, May 15, 2014

PUBLISHED: 14:21 16 May 2014

Archant

IT WAS interesting to read last week that Weston Town Council is exploring the new Localism Act to help revive the Tropicana.

Although it was hardly a surprise to note that Cllrs Robert Payne and Richard Tucker used this initiative to fire a political shot at North Somerset Council. But what would the knowledgeable gentlemen do differently?

These two minority councillors are merely the latest in a long line of armchair experts who profess to have all the answers to save the crumbling pool but no idea where the money will come from. Even if the Trop Trust is successful in securing a £1million Regional Growth Fund grant, there will still be another £4million to find before the 2015 deadline.

And while we’re on the subject, it’s puzzling to learn of the latest incarnation of the Tropicana’s list of cheerleaders. First there was a private company called Trop (WSM) Ltd that then magically became the charitable-sounding Trop Trust. And now, that vague institution seems to have morphed yet again into something enigmatically described as a ‘community collective’.

What on earth is going on?

IAN PITCH

Church Road, Winscombe

WHEN Crossvile Motor Services introduced the 105 service over the same route as the First Bus No 5 they ran their buses two minutes ahead of the No 5.

Following correspondence in the Mercury they saw sense and we had a bus every 15 minutes over the route, shared between the two companies.

Now it’s back to square one because there is only five minutes between buses so there is a 25 minute wait in the rain and then two come along within five minutes of each other.

It is hardly in the passengers’ interest with buses racing each other to the next stop. North Somerset Council recently taught us how to use a bus, maybe it can teach the bus companies how to create a fair schedule and having talked to drivers from both companies I know they are fed up with the situation.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

FURTHER to your report on the recent charity match on Clevedon Pier in aid of Becky Buxton.

As a member of the Clevedon Pier Sea Angling Club, I would like to add my thanks to all who supported the event.

Becky’s husband Chris was a past member of this club, starting as a junior and continuing for many years.

This was a case of the sea angling community coming together to support one of their own.

The organising was first class, something we have come to accept from Weston Outcast, they are top notch at what they do.

The pier club itself fielded 24 members on the day (some of them dual members with the Outcasts), not all of them fishing, but all paying their entry fee to add to the final sum.

Members of other local fishing clubs were also in attendance.

The raffle table, again organised by the Outcasts was sensational (sure they twisted a few arms to get some of those wonderful prizes).

Pier member Maureen Stanley was running the raffle and sold £460 worth of tickets.

The Bristol Channel Federation of Sea Anglers made a very notable cash donation, as did Birnbeck over 60s fishing club.

I believe that the Pier Trust waived the fishing fee for those fishing the match.

Many individuals donated to the fund, a lot who have no interest in fishing, such was the generosity shown.

This has all been done to hopefully make Becky and Chris’s dream come true. It has to be said that on the day, they were both over the moon with the support they received.

From all at Clevedon Pier Sea Angling Club, we thank you for your generosity.

KEN BOVINGTON

The Tyning, Clevedon

I WOULD just like to say a huge thank you to all the bands, stall holders and volunteers who supported us at our music event for Animals Asia at Kewstoke Village Hall on Sunday May 4.

And a massive thank you to all the people who came to support our event, we so appreciate it, and as a result we raised more than £1,400 for our charity of which 82 per cent will go direct to the Moon Bears.

It was a super day!

DENISE, ADRIAN, MIKE AND BEX

Animals Asia Charity Shop, Whitecross Road, Weston

THIRTY years ago I was part of a Civic Society group campaigning against a plan to build 20,000 new houses in this sector.

I could hardly believe my eyes to open last week’s Mercury to find that some Government-based inspector has ordered North Somerset to build (guess what) 20,000 more new houses.

Over the last year I have heard Government Ministers state clearly that planning decisions should be more locally based, houses should not be built on floodplains anymore, and houses should be of a reasonable size for a family to live in.

Now out of nowhere comes a stalinesque style ‘dictat’ from some chap working from his computer that bears no relation to the reality of our local situation.

We have already been inundated with rabbit hutch sized dwellings designed around a maze system of unrelated roads. The old system of drains has been blocked off and the sewers are already overstretched.

The drift eastwards leaves the town of Weston becoming an outside edge as the centre of population is now somewhere east of Milton, and I have heard professional (big city) architects muttering about “an area determined to build the slums of the future”.

The North Level of Somerset is by its very nature a flood plain, the word ‘level’ is a clue. I’ve never forgotten a Dutch sea captain looking askance at developments around Kewstoke and explaining how “we wouldn’t have done that”.

These London inspectors should not be ordering new houses without having the responsibility to come up with viable development areas, sewage systems, transport routes, access to public transport, etc. Without those considerations being accounted for I see it as a gross abuse of power as well as being genuinely stupid.

BRIAN AUSTIN

Alma Street, Weston

IT LOOKS like the clever people at North Somerset have done it again with their yellow lines (or lack of).

For some reason they have taken up the yellow lines outside the hospital on Grange Road and have provided parking for three to four cars.

Drivers now coming out of Uphill towards the roundabout now have to pull round the parked cars into the path of oncoming traffic.

Who on earth decided this was a good idea?

Well at least if there is an accident they don’t have far to go to the hospital.

SHEENA JEFFREY

Locking Road, Weston

AS A resident in Banwell for most of my life and for 30 years living in the West Street, I remember only too well what a problem with noise and traffic 24/7 while the heavy lorries carried the stone and various other materials from the quarries to the M5 then under construction.

My sympathy is with residents who live in West Street and continually hear noises from the traffic bumping over the speed-humps and especially at night.

I certainly remember only too well the effect that this had with my family and myself when it was time to get up for work after what had been yet another disturbed night.

OK, it may be a far cry from those days in the 1960s and through to 1990 before any traffic slowing measures were introduced in any shape or form. Most residents that have lived in West Street for any period of time will know exactly what I mean. In those days various attempts to have a bypass for the village had failed and we all know that this might be the only salvation for the village still but traffic calming measures seemed to be the only option.

Banwell has had this problem of through traffic for so long now that people will sit back and seem to have accepted failure in their demands that Banwell wants and needs the bypass so badly and yet the alternatives found for a route in the past meant more feasibility studies, more soil samples, more pegging out – you name it.

At the end of it all, there is no money for this project despite everything. The only way as far as I can see is to try again and ask the Highways Agency and North Somerset Council to get an Act of Parliament to ensure that cases such as Banwell has with traffic is met with success but Banwell has to fight for it.

Spending money and common sense seems to have let go hands as far as local government is concerned. I would think by my own experiences that the Environmental Agency might be called in (if not already). My reasoning being that all the passing traffic in the West Street is emitting dangerous fumes from diesel and petrol engine powered vehicles and emissions are without doubt entering premises along the West Street. I have known so often that the passing traffic pulling in to park while fetching a newspaper, etc, from local shops, some of whom have left their engines running while stationary and their exhaust fume entering our home through various vents. Life was plagued by heavy traffic and I do remember well that health does suffer from this scenario.

I know that what most people say or read is not always taken seriously and goes in one ear and out the other. On reflection, the situation that Banwell has and still faces is to be blamed initially on this A class road, as it is not being replaced by the long needed bypass to allow the volume of traffic to pass without causing a nuisance to residents and drivers alike (or the health risk).

The long queues entering the village to pass through Banwell by motorists to and from home and school, etc, to say nothing of buses and lorries, have most likely worsened since the traffic slowing measures were introduced.

It is understood that the failure to get the bypass has brought these measures and so I would propose that another attempt to persuade the powers that be to try again for a bypass and if that fails yet again, then remove all the speed humps but leave the chicane.

Stop all vehicles from parking day or night on the West Street roadside and that drivers be made to use the free car park by the introduction of double yellow lines. Traffic lights have been mentioned before, but the street is too narrow for two vehicles to pass and so the chicane answers that problem. The speed through West Street to be a maximum of 20mph or less with speed cameras.

Shopkeepers will again moan about losing passing trade and here again, the only real way forward is a bypass, failing this, all the old problems will remain.

J H BAXTER

West Street, Banwell

THANK you for the recent photographs of the Scouts’ St George’s Day Parade in Weston.

Last Sunday I had the privilege of watching a very large number of air cadets from Weston and other units in Somerset and Devon, march through Weston to the Town square.

The salute was taken in the High Street by The Lord Lieutenant and our town mayor. Unfortunately this wonderful event was not featured in the Mercury.

The young cadets that took part were a credit to their parents and leaders as were the scouts in their parade.

In a world where the wrong doings of our young citizens makes regular news it is even more important, to remind the public that these are in the minority.

The large attendance of youngsters prepared to give their time and effort at both the air cadet and scouts events show the more accurate picture.

Well done to both organisations. In particular congratulations to the air cadets, you were very smart and your conduct and bearing was exemplary.

More good news from our young Citizens please, instead of focussing on the unworthy minority.

Well done to you all and long may it continue.

G R HAWKES

Fairfield Close, Weston

EDITOR’S NOTE: We at the Mercury take great pride in our detailed coverage of positive youth activities across the area, and have fostered strong links with many schools and young people’s organisations. Diary-permitting, we try to take photographs of as many events as we can, but we do need people to notify us of events and invite us along. In this instance, we were unaware the parade was taking place. For future reference, our news team can be contacted via newsdesk@westonmercury.co.uk or on 01934 422500.

I AM writing instead of the couple of faithful people – yes on parking.

I for one did a lot of work on residents’ parking and we were told it would take place, but of course it never materialised.

Why aren’t funeral directors given a disabled badge?

I have been to a fair amount of funerals and never once has the person whose funeral it was managed to get to the crematorium or church by themselves. They are certainly more disabled than any disabled badge holder.

Problem solved for St John’s

P DRAPER

Hopkins Street, Weston

I JUST had to write to your paper to say how much I admired the people that battled against the elements to take part in last Sunday’s Race For Life.

The weather was awful with high winds and rain, but they were all there to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Things didn’t go according to plan when the race was changed to along the prom instead of the beach, but everyone made a great effort on behalf of family and friends affected by cancer, including my own daughter and granddaughter who ran in memory of my husband.

Well done everyone. Your loved ones would be very proud.

ELAINE PALMER

Knightstone Road, Weston

I WAS extremely disappointed to read Councillor Mike Bell’s letter in last week’s paper regarding the future of police services.

His letter contained a number of inaccuracies, which I would like to correct.

While the current Weston Police Station building is likely to close in the next few years, this should not have a detrimental impact on Weston residents.

We are working with the police to move Weston Police Station into the Town Hall building across the road from the current location.

The plan is that the Weston Town Centre teams and other key resources stay in the town centre. The only change is the building.

This arrangement is something that we have already put in place in Clevedon, where the police station is now based within the council’s Castlewood building, and the arrangement works well.

Readers should not be confused by the suggestion that the police station will no longer be in the town centre. It will be, just operating from a different building.

The response hub by M5 Junction 21 that Councillor Bell refers to, is actually the response police team base for the North Somerset area. This team responds to emergencies across the district, so will be able to operate much more efficiently from new premises closer to the motorway. Whilst officers begin their shifts at their base, response officers spend their shifts out on mobile patrol in the community.

As I am to understand it, they receive a briefing and then leave to cover a designated area. There is also to be an investment in mobile IT equipment, which will further ‘help keep our police out on the streets, not sat in buildings’.

The Weston police enquiries service moved to the Town Hall in January 2013, following the refurbishment of the building. Residents are able to access information and report the same range of issues that they could under previous arrangements, including crime reporting; general policing enquiries; road traffic collision reporting; applications for firearms licences; crime prevention advice and lost and found property.

The six staff who previously provided the service from the police station moved across as part of the wider team of 17 staff operating from the Town Hall.

They get the same police support and training, wear the same police identity badges, use the same police systems, and have the same access to police officers as before. Most importantly the service works – 88 per cent of residents requesting police information from the enquiries service provided from the Town Hall are satisfied with the service provided. In my book that’s a real presence.

Regarding signage, Councillor Bell has clearly missed the large ‘police enquiries’ signs outside the main entrances to the Town Hall, and the police logos on the main reception desk.

To summarise, Weston Police Station will continue to be located in the heart of the Weston town centre. There are no plans to relocate everything to Junction 21 or anywhere else. The main town centre policing resources will remain in the town centre, as always planned.

As the council executive member with responsibility for both community safety and customer services, I am fully aware of the importance of the council and police service working effectively together.

We have done this successfully over a number of years, running joint campaigns around anti-social behaviour, the night time economy and problem houses in multiple occupation.

As a result, Weston crime rates are at their lowest levels in 11 years. We are continuing to work closely together on the remodelling of both council and police services.

Councillor Bell knows this and I would ask him to think again before choosing to misinform residents in this way.

COUNCILLOR FELICITY BAKER

North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston

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