Letters to the Editor, November 11

PUBLISHED: 09:48 12 November 2010

Mercury letters

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I READ with interest last week’s letters column in the Weston Mercury, and wondered if the council’s associates have their knives out for Mr Nightingale.

Thousands of people voted, no doubt thousands have been spent giving people more options for the new Tropicana than any other firm in history. So why hasn’t Mr Nightingale been handed the Tropicana?

I don’t blame him for vocalising his concerns, he should have started work years ago, when the Dolphin Square development was just a dream.

If he is given the Tropicana tomorrow, I am sure he could start work long before the Dolphin Square owners have evicted those poor people who already have businesses and homes on the site.

Enough is enough North Somerset Council, no more time wasting, get behind and support Mr Nightingale as a priority, with what he needs.

In my opinion it is a no brainer, Mr Nightingale is a local man and is showing dedication to the needs of Weston with no burden to the taxpayer.

It can only be of benefit to the town with the ongoing regeneration of the seafront creating employment and much needed leisure facilities, so I urge the council to now take on board the opinions of the local residents and finally get this eyesore of a site developed, but then perhaps we can’t expect any more from a council that values the town so much, it locates to Clevedon.

Anyway, this time the Tropicana must not fail, or I for one will be protesting outside the Town Hall.

MR R BALL

Careys Way, Weston

This can’t help

I WAS amazed to read the negative comments on the letters page about Mr Nightingale and his Tropicana project.

Do we, the people of Weston, want this to succeed or not?

If we do, then ill-informed comments like this can’t help?

Surely it’s commonsense that two major projects with the same retail and restaurant elements cannot be developed at the same time within a mile of each other.

I am even more surprised that the council seems to support this. Mr Nightingale has proved that he is fully committed not only to Weston but to the Tropicana.

In fact I think he has been involved longer than Henry Boot and Mace between them and now I hear that Henry Boot’s developers return under a different guise, but effectively the same people, to develop Dolphin Square.

Where was their commitment when they walked away from the Tropicana last year and left Mr Nightingale the last man standing?

I noticed they have learned a lot from their failed proposed development of the Tropicana.

The money-draining swimming pool has gone and most of the profitable parts are now firmly in the new Dolphin Square proposals.

Now I am not against regenerating Dolphin Square, but I can wait a couple of years, after all it is a town centre site I am sure there are substantial sums to be made due to its location.

Sadly profit is the name of the game here, a world away from the Tropicana.

We have waited too long for a new swimming pool. I for one will not forgive Dolphin Square being developed instead of the Tropicana, or these developers for their Tropicana let-down.

I support Mr Nightingale because I know he will not easily let residents down but even he can’t stand against all the odds.

He will need a good deal of support, including the council’s, not only to win the opportunity to develop the Tropicana, but now to compete against Dolphin Square.

Good luck Mr Nightingale, you will need it!

You might be crazy, but I don’t question your commitment and I wish you success, against the odds.

STEVE GRIFFIN

Monkton Avenue, Oldmixon

Wind turbine

WE RECOGNISE wind turbine blades moving through the sky on an axis. Birds and bats, whether hunting, migrating or just flying on the thermals cannot.

These innocent creatures cannot perceive the movement of the blades and consequently wind turbines are always going to be invisible to the innocent creatures that use the sky as their natural place.

I would therefore like to question the proposed siting of the two Huntspill wind farms.

EDF Energy and Ecotricity are planning to build nine and five massive wind turbines respectively on the Somerset Levels. The plans are to put the 394 foot high industrial sized wind turbines on land surrounded by East Huntspill, West Huntspill, Woolavington, Puriton and Pawlett. Nine wind turbines by EDF east of the M5 and five by Ecotricity west of the M5. Unlike the windmills of old, these huge machines will dominate the landscape and will have harmful local environmental impacts.

Large wind turbines are known to have a negative impact on wildlife, especially birds of prey.

Several species in the area may well be affected including owls and both resident and migratory species of raptor. In addition other large birds such as herons, swans and egrets are prone to collision with turbines.

The Huntspill River is used by a variety of species as a flight path. Widgeon ducks migrate daily from the levels to the estuary and these would definitely be in danger of being hit by the blades.

The land around the river is used as a nesting ground by lapwings and skylarks.

I would like to draw your attention to a news article of July this year regarding bird deaths at a Dorset primary school.

Despite the headmaster being given assurances from the power company to expect only one bird death per year there have been 14 in only six months.

This has resulted in the turbine being shut down due to the distress caused to the children. This single turbine is only 30 feet tall. Therefore it can be easily considered the potential dangers to birds of 14 turbines that are almost 400 foot tall and have three rotating blades each of 134 feet length.

Furthermore the proposed Huntspill Wind Farms are to be situated directly on the flight path of birds migrating between the Somerset Levels and the Bristol Channel.

The danger posed to these birds has to be significant.

JULIE TROTT

Withy Road, West Huntspill

Charging

I’VE heard a rumour the council is considering charging for the use of its recreation land facilities, ie the lawns on the seafront: £1,000 a day for a non-charitable organisation and £500 a day for charities.

Is there any truth in this rumour? And with all the cuts being made in mind, it surely would be a very good thing if our councillors made their contribution to the cuts and took a 50 per cent allowance cut. I was a councillor for nine years, where I used to live, and we didn’t get a wage, we did it as a service to the community in which we lived. Or can we expect hard-up councillors to take their self-elected rise whilst the rest of us have to tighten our belts to make ends meet?

TREVOR S HUNT

Copperfield Drive, Worle

Celtic festival

ONCE again we have a letter from a member of the clergy (Rev T B Hall) denouncing Halloween festivities as “evil”.

It should be pointed out that Halloween derives from the Celtic festival of Samhain, whereby villagers marked the coming of the shorter days. They believed that the veil between here and the spirit world was thin at this time and whilst they invited ancestral spirits into their homes, they would wear masks to ward away evil spirits. Trick or Treating has its own origins as far back as the Middle Ages, when the poor would beg for food on holidays (including Christmas). It’s harmless fun for kids, and not evil at all, and parents can teach them about our ancestors’ rich traditions before they were stolen by Christianity (see also Christmas and Easter).

ALAN BAGNALL

Alma Street, Weston

Bridge

GEOFF Malham raised a good point in his letter regarding access to the beach and promenade, now that the extra sea wall is in place.

Has anyone thought of constructing a pedestrian bridge alongside the so-called Pier Square? This could start from Dolphin Square, next to the bowling alley and lead to the seafront allowing a safe pathway for pedestrians.

To attract additional visitors it could be called the ‘Jordan Walk’ or named after our own Lord Archer.

D HARRIS

Moorland Road, Weston

I WONDER at Weston. Having read your article in last week’s Mercury on The Wonders of Weston I wandered around them at the weekend. What a disappointment.

I believe I am a reasonably well-educated individual and fairly mature in age and experience but if this is art then I am afraid I just don’t get it and I wonder how many other of the residents and visitors to the town will not also?

I mean no disrespect to the artists involved but these do not to my mind sit comfortably in a wet and windswept Weston.

The model of Holm Island in glaring white concrete in the (very disappointingly) re-vamped Madeira Cove gardens resembles nothing more than a monstrous piece of chewing gum dropped by some careless giant.

The installation on the Marine Causeway looks only like a poorly laid asphalt path whose sole impact at the time I saw it was to have raised the water level in the Marine Lake to the extent that the lower pathway around Knightstone Island had flooded and was impassable!

What was North Somerset thinking of when commissioning these works and what, if any, consultation took place with residents or visitors to the town?

Come on, could not the £850,000 grant provided have been more imaginatively and usefully spent – perhaps in supporting the neglected museum in the town?

KEITH HARRISON

Atlantic Road South, Weston

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