LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, MAY 22, 2014

PUBLISHED: 14:28 23 May 2014

Archant

I MUST confess I had to read John Dolman's letter of May 21 several times to understand clearly its subtlety.

It is good to see that he and many others enjoy watching the skills displayed in a skatepark and that noise concerns are often exaggerated by those who do not want a wheels park and have not even bothered to visit one.

Back on March 30 2006, North Somerset Council’s (NSC’s) parks technical officer Tony Moore wrote to his colleagues saying, “Both our most successful and least troublesome sites are in high profile public locations – Salthouse Fields and Nailsea Millennium Park”.

On July 14 2009, NSC’s environmental protection manager Mark Ponsford wrote saying, “I have been unable to trace any complaints that relate to use of skateparks within North Somerset”.

What a shame that North Somerset councillors chose to disregard this information when considering Application for Consent for the wheels park at the Lake Grounds, Portishead, which had planning permission because it satisfied all planning policies.

The reason why Parish Wharf was considered not suitable by the district council when considered previously on more than one occasion.

Even the town council’s wheels park working group did not come up with an alternative site to the Lake Grounds, where the majority of ward residents who engaged in the planning consultation supported a wheels park together with an overwhelming majority of residents who participated from other areas of Portishead. If wheels parks work in Clevedon and Nailsea, then the larger Lake Grounds area of Portishead would have been ideal or even Kilkenny Fields. Our town has so many neglected and shabby areas particularly in the vicinity of Harbour Road and Newfoundland Way, a wheels park placed there would be a distinct improvement.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to sit at council meetings listening to some who wish to ban young people from our parks and open spaces and who lay blame for all trouble at the door of the town’s youth.

Sadly their words are so often not evidence based.

But documentation does exist that gives the facts on many issues in our town including speeding, crime statistics, traffic accidents, anti-social behaviour as well as more positive elements, and I do so hope that everyone would take a little time to read the evidence and not just listen to unsubstantiated hearsay.

Just because a member of the public or a councillor say something, doesn’t necessarily mean it is based on fact, and listening to people reiterating inaccurate information is troublesome and frustrating.

The problems that ensue have a greater anti-social element than the term usually implies, causing disharmony in what is truly the best possible town in which to live – Portishead.

ANNETTE HENNESSY

Albert Road, Portishead

I THNK that Mr Neal missed the point, that I was trying to explain to Mr Pearce about the hazards and obstacles faced by walkers when trying to complete a circuit of footpaths which do not involve the cycle path.

I would also like to point out that being attacked by a cow is not a pleasant experience. I was lucky, I was only pushed over, and it then proceeded to try to headbutt and kick me, but I only sustained a fracture. I hear that someone else has again been killed.

I would request that cyclists be aware of where we have to cross Backwell Bow road - both near to Nailsea and close to the entrance to the cycle path, near Chapel Hill, Backwell, both on bends, and on the corner of Backwell Common road - to go from one footpath to another. Whereas it is possible to hear a motorised vehicle coming along the road, but often a cyclist cannot be detected until they are upon you.

My husband would also like noted, as well as about the traffic lights which cyclists do not think apply to them, that he also stood to one side, with our dog, to let two cyclists pass him, on the Golden Valley path in Nailsea, yesterday, and they did not even acknowledge the fact.

Yes, I know that those who do not pick up after their dog give the rest of us ‘a bad name’, but I think that if someone was close to them, and it was in daylight, then, people would be likely to pick up. The problem seems to be worse in the short days of winter - especially on a footpath off the Perrings, in Nailsea, where someone has spray painted around dog droppings which were left in the middle of the path.

Please also watch what your dog is doing in the fields - it is not for nothing that farmers have put up notices to keep to footpaths and to pick up after your dog.

And, just for the record, the previous letter was from Mrs Eade.

MRS J EADE

The Bucklands, Nailsea

ONCE again, there is lots of correspondence in this paper about the problems of traffic and parking in Portishead.

I wonder how many of these correspondents have made their views known to North Somerset Council (NSC) Highways, their local councillor or to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

The view that NSC takes of highways planning must be solely based on them having had an electric train set or a Scalextric track as a child because their planning decisions seem to be near impossible to fathom.

What is needed at the bottom of Cabstand is a roundabout, not only would this be safer it would hopefully slow down traffic. What last week’s correspondent fails to realise is that there is no obligation on traffic on the main road to give way to traffic coming out of the Cabstand, this junction is basically a ‘T’ junction as the road marking at the bottom of Cabstand indicate. It is of course, great when a fellow motorist is courteous enough to allow precedence.

I totally agree that the lay out of the street parking spaces in the High Street as a whole is ridiculous. The making of chicanes on busy roads seems to be popular with the planners, as they have done the same thing in Old Street and Kenn Road in Clevedon. There is simply not enough room for these parking schemes to allow for the safe passage of two-way traffic.

Another question I would have is what has happened to the local police? When they were in South Road, there was a chance of seeing a passing police officer, all be it in a vehicle, but now nothing. Have they all retreated to there citadel on the hill?

Can anyone say when they last saw a member of the constabulary, either a uniform officer or PCSO on foot in the High Street?

Mrs Mountstevens said the other day that police stations are to be closed, as they were not being under used by the public, I wonder if that had anything to do with the fact that they were never open.

If the police had a presence in the town then we might see an end to parking on the zigzag pedestrian crossing markings, the pavements in the town being littered with parked cars and the yellow lines being completely being disregarded.

Pavement parking has become the norm because the offenders know that there is no fear of the police penalising them. Not only are we pedestrians forced into the road to battle it out with traffic the edges of the pavements are being destroyed. Moreover, we know that NSC will never repair the damage.

The other danger that pedestrians face everyday in Portishead (and other towns I expect) is the inconsiderate cyclist, a law unto themselves. Nothing in the Road Traffic Act applies to them or so they think. Certainly not pedestrian crossings, as appears now that they are not required to stop for pedestrians. I witnessed in Clevedon last week a woman on the crossing by Parnell Road nearly struck by a cyclist speeding in front of her when she was halfway over the crossing. He then verbally abused her.

The Piazza by Waitrose has a sign placing a prohibition on, amongst other activities of cycling in the vicinity, does it make any difference, what do you think? Dodging cyclists on the pavements in the High Street is a daily occurrence.

As far as I am aware, it is still an offence to ride a bicycle on a pavement, which is not prescribed for such a purpose, and to park on pavements and double yellow lines.

What this all goes back to it is the lack of police actually getting out of their cars and walking around the streets that they are currently neglecting. A police officer (or PCSO) is still a deterrent.

JOHN PAULL

Brampton Way, Portishead

PERHAPS Royston J Cook should not be driving if he has such problems with junctions in Portishead.

The whole point of the Cabstand junction is that people have to drive with care and consideration, which is very refreshing. For the most part, I have only seen courteous driving.

DIANA DOWLING

Newlands Hill, Portishead

THIS letter is to remind pet owners about leaving their dogs in cars during the very hot weather.

I am amazed at some so-called dog lovers leaving their animals in stationary cars with just the sun roof open three inches thinking this is sufficient.

I am sure they would not sit in a parked car on a hot day with just this ventilation.

Dogs begin to suffer very quickly and can die in just 20 minutes.

MISS DOREEN BOSWELL

Station Road, Portishead

I AM a volunteer for the Julian Trust night shelter.

For anyone thinking about being a help to the homeless, let me speak from my time at the shelter in St Pauls, Bristol.

It’s very rewarding and heart-warming. All ‘guests’ coming in for food and drinks or staying the night are very friendly and most grateful and polite.

CARYLL BRAND

Sheepway, Portbury

I WANTED to write to express my gratitude to the unknown person who handed in my wallet that I had lost at Portishead Lido on May 16.

Your kindness and honesty is hugely appreciated and I’m sorry not to have been able to thank you in person.

I would also like to say a huge thank you to the wonderful staff who looked after it for me.

RICHARD CLARKE

Broom Farm Close, Nailsea

ON May 12, I fell down by the zebra crossing at the bottom of Coombe Road, Portishead and although badly shaken and bruised, fortunately I was not seriously injured.

The staff from Lloyds Bank and a lady named Maggie helped me to my feet, took me into the bank, gave me a cup of tea, and generally looked after me whilst I recovered.

So a heartfelt and grateful thank you to all of them, especially Maggie, who stayed with me until a taxi came to take me on to Clevedon.

MARJORY BROWNE

Crockerne Drive, Pill

I AM writing to you concerning the memorial to the late Squadron Leader Thomas Broom DFC which from a newspaper report today is rotting away.

We are now starting to celebrate World War One and yet we cannot remember a hero of World War Two.

I wonder how many people realise what it is like to fly 80 missions over enemy territory in World War Two when the death rate of Bomber Command aircrew was five missions.

Also to be awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses is very rare and should be by the people of Portishead honoured in the right way. This man gave so much to make sure we have the lifestyle we have today and yet 70 years on it seems this is forgotten. How sad.

I have spent more than 40 years researching and writing about such men in their area did for us.

This memorial should be restored and put in a place away from the dog walkers who obviously do not know or care what the Tommy Broom’s did for this country.

A memorial was put up two years ago in London to the memory of 56,000 men of Bomber Command who died for their country. They fought the war from September 1939 to April 1945 without a break and were for some time the only force on the offensive and not defensive and kept the UK in the war until the UK was in a position to start to win the war.

All of us past and present owe so much to these men so is it asking too much to make sure a memorial to one of these men is not restored and preserved for the next 70 years.

ALAN COOPER

Bakers Farm Park, Upper Horsebridge

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 the 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

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