Letters to the Editor, October 29, 2015

PUBLISHED: 11:09 30 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:09 30 October 2015

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RE: DRIVING off without paying for petrol. 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.

BRIAN AIREY

Totterdown Road, 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.

LESLEY ASMAN

Hawthorn Hill, 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.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove 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.

ANNE BAILEY

The Weind, Worle

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.

RITA COOKSLEY

Severn Avenue, Weston

I WAS taken into Weston General Hospital. In the two days I was there they did a CT scan and other tests. The doctors and nurses were brilliant. I could not have had better treatment. Thank you Weston General Hospital.

JOHN SATCHWELL

Mendip Road, Yatton

I WOULD just like to say thank you to the manager of the Playhouse for bringing Blood Brothers to Weston. I have seen this show in London and Bristol many times. My family and myself went to see the Weston version and it was just fabulous, wonderful. More good shows please.

J STANELY

Constable Drive, Weston

I WISH to comment on Mr Bryant’s recent remarks regarding the possibility of delisting the architectural status of the former Magistrate’s Court.

I think that he should withdraw these remarks on the grounds that as an elected officer of the council his comments would compromise an impartial decision should an application be made in the future. I agree that he has ‘stuck his neck out’. This type of supine toadying to a developer with an interest should have no place in our local government. Perhaps we locals should be grateful that Mr Bryant has raised the curtain a bit too high and exposed the stratagem of the ‘four who know’.

Weston seems to be on a carousel which constantly revisits past mistakes. Can it be forty years since The Pool was delisted and resurrected as the Tropicana? The passing years have underscored the folly of that expedient decision and left us with what?

North Somerset has some way to go in the matter of redevelopment, it looks more like reverses than progress to me. So far we have had the ‘Festival of Failure’ that was Dismaland with councillors applauding their own ineptitude and milking other people’s successes. Then we have under kill at Dolphin Square and the Royal Pier Hotel site now followed by ‘unstoppable’ overkill around the ex police station.

Our local government seems immune to accountability and hell bent on having its way. If mistakes are made there is always the mystifying contingency fund to soften the blow which was called on to add safety rails along the seafront, although the financial pain from the Dolphin Square car park decision is chronic.

When developers meet our council they must dance with joy. It is a roll over with white elephants doing the cabaret.

CHRIS CROOK

Ashdene Road, Milton

I HAVE noticed for some time the gradual deterioration of the public footpath in Hill Road, Worle, especially the right side. As they have now completed the tarmac of the road, would it now be possible to repair the much needed footpath which is very uneven, cracked and somewhat dangerous to the elderly if they do not watch their step.

Let us hope the coming winter will not be severe as this would complicate matters. It’s no good making the streets of Weston look attractive for the visitors in the summer and not consider the rest of us who pay the rates.

JEANNE HOARE-MATTHEWS

Jubilee Road, Weston

I AM concerned that planned tax credit cuts will hit Weston in a big way. Hard working people on low incomes depend upon tax credits in order to pay winter heating bills and rent, and to provide food and school essentials for their children. That is why the Conservative Government promised not to cut them before the election. Tax credit cuts will be another broken promise by the Conservatives. Rates of pay in Weston are relatively low, however, utility bills, food, school uniforms and almost every other expense is no cheaper. Many Weston employers will only pay minimum wage, or are only too happy to exploit the poor, many businesses are still jittery about the so called recovery and are unwilling to give a pay rise, any amount of extra profit is being pocketed by the business owners with staff feeling no benefit. What people lose in tax credit cuts will not be equalled out by higher wages.

I think these cuts would have a devastating impact on many families in Weston, plunging the poor into even greater poverty, starving, under nourished, freezing cold children will as a consequence struggle at school leading to poor standards of education. People unable to pay their bills and rent and therefore getting evicted, possibly leading to homelessness.

Credit to those brave Conservative MPs who put their neck on the line and spoke out against tax credit cuts during October 20 parliamentary debate. However it is extremely disappointing that elected Conservative MP for Weston John Penrose did not represent the struggling families of his own constituency by speaking out against tax credit cuts. I have expressed my concerns by emailing John Penrose.

ANDY CLARK

Kensington Road, Weston

PERHAPS the sentiments of John Crockford-Hawley in last weeks issue of the Mercury represent the feelings of many Westonians with regard to the ‘Carrot’?

MIKE COUNSELL

Sunnyside Road, Weston

ON A recent visit to a friend in Worle we visited Grove Park and needed to use the public toilets. I was absolutely disgusted at the state of the toilet cubicle, not only was the whole area filthy and stinking of urine; someone had urinated all over the seat and

floor. How can the council think this is an acceptable standard for residents and visitors to Weston. These toilets have gone from a spotlessly clean and welcoming site, where you were greeted by music, flowers, and pleasant attendants, to a place where I would never wish to have to use again. How can the local council expect to attract visitors and have them return, when they cannot offer an acceptable standard of

hygiene in the public toilets? Grove Park was charming in the autumn sunshine, but my visit was marred by these disgusting facilities.

LORRAINE BROWN

Albert Avenue, Peasedown St John

I AM sure that we are all pleased that there is a result for the Government after the hard work it has put in recently to make a success of the visit by the President of China, and get the Chinese agreement to assist with a third of the cost of building Hinkley Point C power station.

Serious building work is expected to begin in only a few months and will involved thousands of people. Of course very many of them will be French engineers and technicians, because the reports seems to agree that the Chinese have the money, and now want to learn from the French how to go about the design and construction of Hinkley, so that they will then get a contract to build another nuclear power station in Essex. How nice.

Meanwhile here in Weston it is to be hoped that our own young people will have a good chance of being involved, maybe through our excellent technical courses at Weston and Bridgwater Colleges. For nearby Bristol too, it may make a change from aviation specialism.

What we mustn’t forget is that while we have dropped behind in recent years and decades, we British built the very first nuclear power station at Calder Hall, rather as earlier we built the first practical locomotive, the Rocket, and quite an array of other pioneering engineering projects where we now tend to acquire the latest versions from overseas. It needn’t always continue like this, and as Weston expands its new commercial and educational sectors in parallel with its established tourist attractions, it ought to be well-placed to exploit the natural talents of its people to innovate successfully. In which we can learn from the Chinese, even if we don’t feel an urge to kow-tow.

CHRISTOPHER MAY

Leewood Road, Weston

A Pensioners week – some frivolity – tongue in cheek – to lighten up the doom and gloom.

Moanday – The first day of the working week was never good so why break the habit? Use today to get rid of all your moans and groans and set yourself up for the rest of the week.

Chooseday – If you want space from your partner choose today for what you want to do. If you want to spend the day together why not take it in turns to choose. One week the choice is yours and the next week your partner can choose.

Wednesday – Today romance is in the air. Remember the day you first met your partner or your wedding day. A few flowers or a candlelit dinner for two. Make it a day of togetherness. If you live on your own, share the day with a very good friend.

Thirstday – Why not go for a pub lunch or spend the evening in the boozer – a day to let your hair down, if you have any left.

Fryupday – If you have been healthy eating all week why not break the mould and have a good fried breakfast or fish and chips – go on be a devil.

Sitaday – Time to really relax, so sit and watch the telly. If you want to go for a walk sit in the park, on the beach or even in the town centre watching the world go by. Take it easy – you deserve it.

Sunnyday – You may go to church to lift your spirits but whatever you do let the sun really radiate from you to all around. Have many good thoughts and if you have bad thoughts save them for tomorrow. After all Moanday will be here again.

GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

Dear John Penrose

ONCE again the voters of Weston elected you to represent them and to take care of their interests in the national arena. We have discussed several times healthcare and the needs of North Somerset and Weston both in your office and in Westminster, those discussions were based on what was possible at that time, I now write on what is and how those who re-elected you to represent them are being let down and put at risk.

Since the formation of the new health cluster in partnership Bristol and South Gloucester it has become increasingly apparent that those two area have benefited to the detriment of North Somerset so much so that our medical service are unable to cope with the declining resources and increasing and ageing population.

At weekends I work in Out of Hours and have seen over the past few years the effects of lack of resources and political commitment to Weston and North Somerset. I know you have broached the subject privately to Jeremy Hunt and that Liam Fox has raised questions in the house both with little effect. The Conservative Party appears to consider North Somerset to be so safe a seat as to be able to ignore the plight of the electorate.

Five years ago we had an integrated system of primary care although unofficial and put together by frontline staff it worked well. Based in Weston hospital Out of Hours services, district nurses and A& E continually supported each other ensuring patients had the best care possible, despite an ineffectual PCT and NHS administration. Out of Hours and district nurses services were removed from the hospital (some say with tongue in cheek to make way for Costa Coffee, this may or may not be true but certainly patients’ needs were not considered as part of that equation). Once this separation was achieved the close working partnership instigated by dedicated frontline staff evaporated. Now there is little or no cooperation between the groups according to district nurse managers this is down to funding. Finance seems to be effecting North Somerset far more than other members of the cluster. Bristol and South Gloucester have GP support units and other kinds of medical support systems, we in North Somerset have nothing. Yes a system was trialled but could not be funded properly, so was stopped. Your Government is insisting we build thousands of new homes in North Somerset yet medical services cannot cope with the population we have let alone such an increase.

In your weekly column in the Weston Mercury you comment on many things, rarely on healthcare and its effect on the lives of your constituents. You accepted the peoples mandate and by so doing committed yourself to representing our interest above those of the party. The present situation dictates the time for talking and listening is long past, frontline staff are doing a wonderful job keeping the creaking system together whilst those who are tasked to ensure the system works and is fit for purpose abdicate their responsibilities and do nothing except have continua meetings.

Every day of the week I hear tales of neglect, failure, and of incompetence not just from patients visiting Out of Hours but from GPs, nurses, people in the street discussing with friends and family. Statistics may indicate to you and others that all is well, but to frontline staff they mean little and are seen as a joke, they certainly do not show the true picture, they only show what administrators and ministers wish to see.

During the next few years many experienced older GPs will take early retirement, forced to do so by a system of oversight and autocracy that prevents frontline healthcare professionals from honouring the oaths they take to care for the sick and needy to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately the NHS rather than being a sentinel of care for those in need has become a political football for all parties, irrational promises have been made by politicians that cannot be implemented or funded, not for patient care but for political advantage. North Somerset is a microcosm of what is going to happen to our NHS if some kind of reality and commonsense does not start governing policy. Current oversight of health care professionals is more like a programme instigated by a dictatorship to control a political opposition than looking after British patient interest. Any medical student thinking of working in UK medicine would think twice before becoming involved with such an autocratic system. Medicine for centuries has been a family vocation, now there are not many medical professionals whose family histories has been service to medicine who would advise their children not to become involved.

The NHS probably spends more of its patient funding policing healthcare than is spent on anti-terror, monitoring paedophiles or preventing crime.

As our elected representative what are you going to do to ensure a more equitable share of resources and the safety and wellbeing of your constituents when doing nothing is not an option?

JAMES DOBSON

Swan Close, Weston


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