None of this is happening
PUBLISHED: 10:31 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 May 2010
AS AN ardent supporter of your newspaper s policy of honest reporting, especially regarding North Somerset Council's imaginary successes, and multi-award winning capabilities, I feel I ought to point out some rather unclarified comments...
AS AN ardent supporter of your newspaper's policy of honest reporting, especially regarding North Somerset Council's imaginary successes, and multi-award winning capabilities, I feel I ought to point out some rather unclarified comments in the editorial column of your January 7.
I admire your raising optimistic vigour for Weston for 2010, but must add a note of reality to the zeal, by suggesting a possible dampener over our expectations. Firstly, the focal point of the seafront will, undoubtedly, be the new pier pavilion. Built, by the Michaels, but as a private project. The only hand played by our guiding council was to extract ever-increasing fees from the proprietors.
If the Tropicana development goes ahead with local, private initiatives it will place the development back where it would have been years ago. The Tropicana will be developed, not with the council, but in spite of the council.
If one takes a look around the Italian gardens end of the High Street, there are shops, and pubs, considering closing, closing, and boarding up. Could it be that Weston's development as a resort has been mismanaged? Not according to the Council's 'Life' magazine - what a ridiculous, outrageous, and untrue suggestion by me, then. At least our council tax will be low-ish (not the lowest though). Although we will have hardly any facilities. Never mind that though, we can go to see the council's awards in the 'mobile museum', or 'mobile library', or 'mobile all-purpose thingie' (The MAPT strategy), to cheer ourselves up a bit.
Also, making Weston an anti-visitor centre, with no 'quick-turnround' parking spaces, with no disabled parking spaces (but masses of 'Loading Only' spaces for those of us using lorries as runabouts), and frozen-over, un-treated council car parks, where one pays £1.10 for an hour of dancing on ice, must possess a logic, no doubt subliminally hidden in The Big Strategy?
At least portishead and Clevedon, where a smaller percentage of North Somerset citizens, but a bigger percentage of councillors, live, will be looked after. Overstretched Weston will take care of the new influx of 18,000-plus people, who will move onto our new 'wonderful' housing estates, while the above 'villages' relax. (Here, a little voice says, "Think of the new jobs/jobseekers Weston can boast of, by way of compensation"). Mmm.
As the council are going to add to the congestion of our junction 21 of the M5 with a new flow of workers out every morning, and back every evening, they are sure that Clevedon won't mind having their junction 20 blocked similarly by the same unfortunate, wholly-unconsulted people.
As a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management, my basic teaching has always been: 'to run a business at optimum efficiency; to know your market, optimise your skills, and then to provide the best product that it is possible to manufacture - because you are efficient at all times'. Good or less-good.
Don't pretend that cutting everything to the bone when the market cools is 'efficiency' please! It means you mismanaged when the market was hot, and have no contingencies at all. Re-emergence into the market is therefore impossible.
Weston is North Somerset's brand-name town; it is the greatest possible source of outside revenue; it should be protected, economically, aesthetically, and considerately. None of this is happening.
It should have been promoted vibrantly as a resort - not a house-developer's discount paradise.
To blame 'the recession' is total nonsense as it implies that all resort towns are declining in appearance and facilities. This is clearly not the case.
To destroy the quality and brand of your product, because you have operated neither efficiently, nor honestly, is a travesty, and total mismanagement. Lack of foresight and scape-goating is for amateurs and busybodies; and blaming staff, similarly. (Who hires them? Who trains them? Who supports them?)
Running a council is running a business - so, executive councillors, listen to businessmen and women who live, and fight, in the real world; and who lead by example and inspiration. Outside of Weston, Portishead, and Clevedon, no one knows who you are; you are not famous. But, locally, you are becoming infamous. Towing an outdated, bombastic, and insular, Conservative Party line is definitely not worth the local dismay and disadvantage it draws in its wake.
Trewartha Park, Weston