Letters to the Editor, October 22, 2015
PUBLISHED: 11:01 23 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:01 23 October 2015
I WOULD like to thank Dr Mohamed Seklani, and his wonderful team for such a thorough and quick response after diagnosing my lung cancer.
The treatment I’ve had has been first class at Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Weston General Hospital.
My consultant, Mr Rakesh Krishnadas and his team at the BRI were absolutely dedicated and wonderful. Thank you all.
Severn Avenue, Weston
SEVEN words ‘Knowing that I do not go online…’ in Geoff Malham’s letter (Oct 8) saddened me rather.
Why not go online? It’s a place of wonder and amazement and enjoyment and usefulness!
‘Too old’ is no excuse, I’m about to enter my eighth decade. ‘Too risky’ is avoidable, crossing the road is risky but we still do it. ‘Too expensive’ is not necessarily an issue as all libraries have computers for free public use. ‘Too difficult’ is overcome by using AgeUK’s ‘Breezie’ tablet.
I look after one; it belongs to Weston U3A – University of the Third Age, who, in addition to many other subjects run ‘Computers for Beginners’ groups.
If anyone wants to see ‘Breezie’ in action give me a call on 01934 522905.
Hawthorn Hill, Weston
HAVING been a long term supporter of everything that Cllr Richard Nightingale has endeavoured to achieve in the best interests of the town, I now can’t help but fear that his current optimism will wane and his enthusiasm will become jaded before long; however, I feel compelled to congratulate him and support his stance. He may well portray some naivety in his desire for a consensual and participatory approach but there is still a good deal of substance in his ‘modus operandi’. After all, who wouldn’t support a strategy that ‘gets stuff done’ and advocates collective responsibility of all elected officials as well as the wider community? Long may this hopeful and ambitious breath of fresh air continue to blow through North Somerset.
JEANNINE M RAYNHAM
Canberra Crescent, Locking
LAST year I entered a competition in your newspaper to win a set of car tyres up to the value of £500 from Protyre (Easyfit), I was delighted when I heard that I had won and had them fitted last month. I would just like to say a big thank you to you both, yourselves for running the competition in the first place and Protyre for the professional and first class service on fitting the tyres. When they are due for renewal I will have no hesitation in using them again.
Bridge Road, Bleadon
I AM writing to thank the Mercury for a wonderful evening at Bristol Hippodrome. I was lucky enough to win tickets in your competition, and my daughter and I were delighted to watch the production of Romeo and Juliet from such excellent seats in the Grand Circle.
I always buy the Mercury but I have never entered a competition before, and had no expectations of winning. So when I received your letter with the tickets enclosed, it was a very pleasant surprise.
Notgrove Close, Weston
WHAT’S happened to North Somerset Council?
Am I dreaming or did people in Weston object to the beach huts, and Cllr Baker and Cllr Nightingale began a review? I can’t ever remember this happening before.
Did my friend really call me from America when he saw Weston as a destination of choice on his local news when Banksy was in town?
Can it be true that the council are beginning to work together for Weston and long serving councillors have been told to tow the line?
Have we reached a point when voters are being listened to and their views taken into account? It’s hard to believe or understand. Now I read that millions of pounds are being spent on Weston and Weston alone not other places in the north of the county. Then almost unbelievably after years of campaigning we are to get a new swimming pool.
Did a change of people at the last election make all these differences?
It is probably all a dream, but I hope it’s not. All I can say is congratulations to all involved for making it happen and shame on you for making us wait so long.
MR G DAVIS
High Street, Banwell
THERE were no letters this morning but the postman dropped three unsolicited invitations through the letter box; to fit plastic windows in time for Christmas, purchase a fat cheesy garlic pizza with chocolate orange cookie dough and tend to my own funeral plan. I’m not sure if the latter also came with a pre-Christmas offer or indeed with a tantalising 500ml of something free and fizzy but, thanking Messrs Everest, Pizza Hut and Pitman for their ‘hurry act now!’ enthusiasm, I’ve decided to keep my sash window fresh air, eat heartily but healthily and put off dying until after Christmas.
I wonder if they’d oblige by stuffing this unwanted rubbish somewhere appropriate rather than through my letter box.
Gerard Road, Weston
SORRY to A Bambury about the date of Dolphin Square. It was demolished in 2012 because I overlook the site and I rechecked the date on my photos. But it is still three years of misery for local residents who live by it. North Somerset Council should have put pressure on McLaren Life to get something done.
Beach Road, Weston
THE answer would seem to be simple - follow the Americans. Over there you have to pay cash or card up to the amount of fuel you wish to obtain, then the pump is switched on and you can start pumping. If paying by card and you don’t reach the figure the actual amount pumped only the amount used is deducted. Simple really.
Totterdown Road, Weston
THE Mercury’s front page headline ‘Unstoppable’, in the context of plans to build on seven sites in central Weston, is indicative of North Somerset Council’s arrogance. The message is that whatever the townsfolk might think, we might as well shut up, because we will be ignored.
North Somerset Council has a history of promoting far-fetched and half-baked schemes, as witnessed by the past proposals for the seafront pool. There are no reasons to believe that the current proposals will not come to fruition, but have they been properly thought through? It is all very well building homes for thousands of people in central Weston, but where will the people come from to fill them? Will there be work for all the new arrivals (the Mercury reported that the number of workless households is rising and that more of those who have work are on poverty wages)? Will there be enough doctors to look after them, particularly if they are elderly, as many will be? Will there be hospital places, if they fall sick? Given that a large number of them will have to commute to Bristol, how will all the extra cars be able to get into the centre of the town along the already over-crowded roads, and once they do, where will they be parked?
As was pointed out by the Electoral Reform Society, councils which are dominated by one party are subject to poor delivery, making poor decisions and not giving value for money. The Labour group’s leader Richard Tucker rightly points out that the electoral system of first past the post distorts the outcome of elections. He also points to the failings of the current council structure, in which the decisions are taken by a handful of executive members in the inner circle, leading to a reduced ability of members to properly scrutinise the workings of the council.
Until the Southern Area breaks from North Somerset Council to form Winterstoke District Council, Weston and the surrounding villages will continue to get the rough end of the stick.
Priory Road, Weston
REMEMBRANCE Day will soon be with us. The photo was taken about 100 years ago and is the recruiting officer for First World War soldiers. On the back it says the building is in Beach Road. On a recent visit to Weston I could not identify it. Does anyone know whether it still exists or where it was?
I have the photo as my mother, Beatrice Wride, is on the photo eighth from the right aged about 16. I don’t know what the event was as I would be surprised if that number of people worked there. The photo was taken by R W Brown & Son of 18 High Street.
The Bumbles, Well Meadow, Shaw, Newbury, RG14 2DS
Tel 01635 41135
ACCORDING to the front cover story of last week’s Mercury, North Somerset Councils Executive Members are ‘Unstoppable’, a statement supported by a computer generated image created by LDA Design who were probably paid good money for this fantasy
Unstoppable is an appropriate word to describe our leaders, in the same way a runaway bulldozer or wrecking ball is scything through Weston. If anyone has any doubts, just look at Dolphin Square, a nice image, a nice story to tell us of how they are going to create a masterpiece of shopping and leisure for the town.
I wonder what these visionary’s ponder when looking out from the no expense spared, designer ivory tower which is our Town Hall, perhaps they only see some cyber world, created as a model of quality and value, a benchmark for a new demographic to the town. We mortals see a pile of rubble, a wasteland, where once there were shops, apartments, ten-pin bowling, and a children’s play area, yes not pretty but just about functioning.
As further evidence of out of touch thinking, dare I mention Tropicana, Grove Park tennis courts, the old pier, and of course Princess Consort Gardens, all earmarked for some kind of visionary improvement. These have been saved from the bulldozer and concrete monolith by clear thinking Weston people who have feet firmly on the ground.
North Somerset Council Executive I suggest you ask yourselves, what am I achieving here apart from some pretty pictures?
Coombe Road, Weston
Are we not supposed to be looking towards a greener future rather than a concrete one?
How will our wildlife thrive if our green areas are lost to one large concrete jungle, will they just become extinct like the dinosaurs? Will our children and future generations only learn of our wildlife through school, the internet and museums?
Will our villages lose their identity and with it the village way of life, just as the choice of rural living will be lost to us all?
The many proposed developments around North Somerset will bring with them a large increase in traffic into an area already unable to sustain the current volume, bringing with them a large increase in pollution, noise and the subsequent issues of health especially within the younger and older generations.
Do we feel our MPs and councillors are actually listening to the people and are they doing enough to stop these developments, how do they feel they can make a difference and be listened to by a government they work for?
Where as I appreciate there may be a need for more housing is there a need on the scale the Government is proposing?
Are the laws protecting our greenbelt areas strong enough?
As they appear to be disregarded on almost daily basis, when there are still Brownfield areas and derelict buildings that are crying out for regeneration.
Totterdown Lane, Weston
THE report in the Mercury about the increasing problems with gambling makes alarming reading but we must remember that we are encouraged to enter this dark world through the National Lottery and Camelot have seized on this addiction by moving the goalposts.
Players are quite correct to criticise Camelot on the way they are running the lottery and their claims that the new format will create more millionaires is absolute rubbish.
By increasing the numbers to choose from 49 to 59 there is less chance of winning the jackpot and also the lesser prizes. When Camelot raised the price of a ticket from £1 to 2 at least hey gave £25 for three winning numbers instead of the original £10 but then they introduced raffle numbers of eight digits that are almost impossible to win. As an example, in the first of the new games there were no jackpot winners, no surprise there, and with two of the numbers in the fifties, anyone with their regular numbers had far less chance of winning anything. Many people use birthdays as their numbers and fear changing their entries just in case their original number come up.
I accept that Camelot now give a free lucky dip to anyone who has two correct numbers but it would have been fairer to have given a small cash prize of £5 for the win instead of what is more likely to be just a piece of paper. Camelot are just looting our money and giving us less in return so perhaps they should now rename the game as the National Lootery. No wonder more and more people are leaving Lotto and changing to other fairer schemes.
Clarence Grove Road, Weston
THE front page of last weeks Mercury showed a building that had no relevance to anything else in Weston, reminding me of the reaction to the plans and realities of Weston College circa 1970. When I see the words “bold and vibrant” I tend to check if it actually means “totally out of place”. The local council always get over-excited by that kind of sales talk but it is the residents who have to live with the results.
Early days yet, and it has become a very uncertain world lately, but I throw in a couple of points to start with.
The plan seems to show an eight storey residential building opposite Tesco deliveries site – that should go down well in the early mornings – but if Tesco is to lose half of its potential customer parking spaces they might eventually need to relocate.
The east (Locking Road) car park is the main tourist coach park in summer, so where would they go? and it is also the car park that local residents were directed to during the parking charges controversy. According to the plan as shown the very considerable increase in Town Centre residents is matched by eliminating about half of the available parking spaces.
This, of course, matches the lack of logic from national government whose plan for vast numbers of new residences around here comes as the police are stretched, doctors are vanishing, shops are closing like autumn leaves, and the sewers are working at maximum capacity (now).
Optimism is always best from those who study reality rather than dancing through the bluebells with a glazed look in their eyes.
Alma Street, Weston
READING Richard Nightingale’s letter in last week’s Mercury filled in some of the pieces of the puzzle for me. I moved to Weston Village recently, courtesy of Nightingales. A big thank you to them for looking after us and our possessions. This was followed up after the move by a welcome to your new home card from Nightingales and details of the local area, its amenities, council services, together with contact information for my local councillors. I thought nothing more about it other than it was a nice touch, until I had an issue with my rubbish being collected. So I decided to put my guide to good use and after a couple of calls to people on the list, Councillor Mrs Codling answered. My bin was collected the same day, and I haven’t had an issue since.
Then when a parent, at the same school as my daughter, had a problem with an overhanging tree, which she had complained about for years. I passed on details Richard gave me for Martin Williams. She tells me the tree was removed in just over a week! I don’t think I even knew the name of my last local councillor when I lived in London, moving to Weston, though forced on us, is worlds apart from the city and is a wonderful area and community. My neighbour tells me though it wasn’t always that way, and there have been lots of changes in the area and on the council. It didn’t escape my attention that Mrs Codling and Mr Williams are both new councillors, now I realise from his letter, so is Richard Nightingale. May I wish them every success on reforming old school attitudes and for making Weston a community both me and my family are proud to be a part of.
MRS S ANDERSON
Worle Moor Road, Weston Village
THE article in last week’s Mercury made for worrying reading regarding North Somerset Council’s (NSC) plan for thousands of additional housing in Weston and surrounding areas. The sheer number is a real concern, with most of the proposed locations being very surprising. How will young people afford to live in these town centre properties as has been suggested?
If all is approved the police station and magistrates court will be turned into around 68 homes with parking. Also mentioned is the Walliscote Grove Road car park and Roselawn Terrace. Added to this will be half of Tesco car park and its garage. This will be a great loss as Tesco needs the whole car park as it is extremely busy being the only supermarket in the town and having the only free car park for shoppers. The loss of the garage would certainly be a backward step, as we have a real lack in the town, especially given the increased housing, meaning a lot more shoppers as well. Locking Road car park – where does that leave all the coaches who use it and the nearby residents who are not allowed to park outside their houses in the day time, not forgetting the annual carnival where all the floats park? All the car parks it seems are going to be developed. Dolphin Square – so it looks if most of this site is now being earmarked for residential use. What’s happened to the cinema, bowling alley, and restaurants, etc who have all supposedly signed contacts? Up to 5,000 new dwellings are planned off the seafront, Boulevard, Locking Road and nearby areas. Not clear exactly where! The list just goes on and on.
The building works for all these developments are going to be huge and lengthy and the subsequent disruption that this is going to cause to all and sundry around the town and beyond is unimaginable. The town will become a permanent building site for years with all this construction. The seafront already gets gridlocked with traffic. Congestion will get worse, especially getting in and out of Weston. Employment could be a problem. Parking is already a nightmare and to add insult to injury parking charges will be going up next year!
Weston has a population of over 188,000. Is anyone in authority aware that we do not have the infrastructure, or services to cope with such large scale building? We do not have enough schools, with most running at full capacity. There are inadequate doctors’ surgeries as it is. GP’s cannot be recruited and a lot are now retiring. There is also the threat of a surgery in Worle closing meaning 4,000 plus patients will possibly have to register with already overloaded surgeries. There is now just one surgery in the Town Centre which couldn’t cope with such a huge influx of new patients. Weston General Hospital (WGH) is at breaking point with the ever increasing number of patients it is seeing. It is now confirmed that Musgrove Park Hospital will not be going into partnership with WGH who have been told they are too small a trust to ‘go it alone’. Having been ranked in the top ten worst NHS Trusts in the country won’t help matters. The repercussions of where this leaves the hospital, especially A&E are unthinkable. Weston could not cope without its hospital.
To end on an equally dismal note for the many of us still wanting, hoping and pleading for the Tropicana to become a pool again – we can forget it. Just after Dismaland closed Nigel Ashton was talking on Breeze radio station and stated categorically there would never be another swimming pool on the site as that was what has held everything up for the last 15 years! So no leisure facilities, and non planned, very few decent shops, Winter Gardens going, no tourism (nothing to come here for) – just what the council ordered – one large concrete jungle to emerge over the coming years. I think the ‘super’ has gone out of Weston. I would love to be proved wrong.
MRS JULIE POWER
Exeter Road, Weston
I WOULD like to thank a community policeman; he appeared from nowhere to help me. I tripped at the edge of a pavement, did a Barns Wallace bomb bounce across the pavement and rugby tackled a lamppost. He called for an ambulance and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived.
A big thank you to him.
The Weind, Worle