Letters to the editor - February 1

Majority

IT WAS with some sadness that I read Liese Stanley’s letter (Times January 25) but I understand entirely her reasons for not continuing on the committee of Portishead Skatepark Project.

The letter from your correspondent Kevin Vodden clearly gives his opinion of the matter which he is entitled to and I always enjoy reading his perspective.

However, his comment that he “couldn’t agree more” with last week’s letter from John Paull concerns me.

Mr Paull’s letter indicated that he feels the skatepark decision has been made “to the relief of the majority of Portishead residents”.


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This statement is not evidence based and if Mr Paull researched the extensive documentation on the skatepark application, he would find the majority of residents who engaged in the consultation that was widely publicised, supported the proposal. Planning permission was granted because every planning policy had been satisfied. Kevin Vodden is correct that the Lake Grounds is a unique leisure facility for people of all ages but I have to disagree with him that the area should be for people to escape the “hubbub of 21st Century living”.

Surely it should be for everyone to enjoy the benefits of 21st Century leisure activities including a wheels and skateboarding park for our town’s young people who should not be excluded from any area of our town?

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If Kevin would like to take the time to look at the background of every site previously considered by this group, he would hopefully appreciate that the Lake Grounds is to date the most suitable site and one which was suggested to the group with approval to proceed by Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader of North Somerset Council, who remained remarkably quiet sat behind me at the scrutiny meeting, faced with the insurmountable evidence in favour of the skatepark application.

ANNETTE HENNESSY

Albert Road, Portishead

Wrong

I LOVE reading your readers’ letters and often have a bit of a giggle seeing the opposing views across the area.

I rarely feel the need to stand on my own soapbox but do get riled when a correspondent claims to speak for the ‘majority’ as did John Paull (‘Stick’ January 18).

Sorry if I missed it but I don’t recall a local referendum on the Portishead skatepark. I’m therefore unsure how Mr Paull can claim that the: “right decision (to not site it at the Lake Grounds) has been made to the relief of the majority of Portishead residents”. I am certainly one resident who thinks it was the wrong decision and I know of many more, however I don’t know if we’re a minority because someone, somewhere decided that the residents could not be trusted to take a vote on the matter. So the councillors decided for us.

I know I don’t understand all the wheelings and dealings that have gone on in the past but as an innocent bystander the Lake Grounds seems the perfect place given it’s already home to the swimming pool, tennis courts, boating lake, cricket club, bowls, playground, etc. Let’s add a skatepark (and possibly a band stand) and it’s perfect.

And that’s my view. And while I’m on the soapbox and sharing my views, I also disagree with Mr Paull regarding the need for a mini roundabout at Cabstand and double yellow lines in Harbour Road. So there!

LORI ROWSELL

Heron Gardens, Portishead

Tourism

READING last week’s letter of how Portishead Lake Grounds is a tranquil peaceful place which a few think should be ample reason for no skatepark in the area, the contradictions scream loud.

For in the letter the writer then goes on to say how there was no parking space left when he went there on a Sunday. Surely that instantly makes it a far from tranquil area simply by the mere volume of people who use it?

The local tourism people are now saying they want to attract coaches to the area, surely that alone eradicates the argument for not allowing a skatepark there as the strongest argument, however flawed, against the skatepark was the peace and quiet.

LINDA WILLIAMS

Lower Burlington Road, Port Marine

ALLEGEDLY the biggest argument against creating a skatepark at Portishead Lake Grounds, in an area that isn’t particularly well looked after at present, was the effect it would have on this ‘peaceful, tranquil’ area.

That argument was proven to be negligible during the planning procedure.

However much last week’s letter writer Mr Vodden may be concerned by the effects on that area, surely that argument is further disproven by his comments of how the Lake Grounds attracts lots of visitors.

That contradiction simply dispels the myth of peaceful tranquillity. Either the area is a peaceful place or it is a magnet for tourists but lots of visitors instantly removes the tranquillity.

Do we ban visitors next so we can remain in the 19th Century world where recreation was walking along the Esplanade and nothing more.

I think our youngsters deserve much more than has just been denied them by shortsighted and selfish means.

The only time I have seen the area being tranquil and peaceful is early morning and I have yet to witness your average teenager out of bed at that hour.

H PORTMAN

Harbour Road, Portishead

The only bus

COUNCILLOR Elfan Ap Rees ought to know that the 800 is the only bus traversing; The Avenue, Park Road, Linden Road, Chapel Hill, Strode Road, Churchill Avenue, Coleridge Vale (West and North), Old Church Road from its junction with Strode Road to the Triangle, passing the library where it will stop at the passengers’ request, Tutton Way, Kenn Moor, Beaconsfield Road, Cherry Avenue, Kingston Avenue and a section of Teignmouth Road.

This makes nonsense of his comment that: “The only change really is that some people may have to change buses to get from A to B rather than staying on the same bus.”

That is quite a lot of Clevedon where schoolchildren and pensioners avail themselves of public transport – not everyone owns a car or has a chauffeur.

MRS J DAVIES

Cherry Avenue, Clevedon

Promoted

I WRITE to support the views from Mrs R J Blease in last week’s Times, and also to express some thoughts and views of my own, drawn from talking to people who use the 800 bus service in Clevedon.

What is the level of funding provided North Somerset Council (NSC) and/or Clevedon Town Council (CTC) in pounds please?

What are the total passenger numbers which Service 800 actually carries? How many are ‘free’. As a ‘free’ passenger I have never been given a ticket on this bus.

Why is this service not promoted better and why does this service not operate on Saturday and Sunday, when there are probably more fare-paying passengers about?

Last week on this bus, the driver invited me to sign the petition, started by whom? which I duly did. Blue Iris (providers of the service) are presumably making a profit on the activity (otherwise they would not do it), hence do not want it to cease.

Having taken a straw poll on the bus, I have found that: the bus ‘reaches parts of Clevedon other buses do not reach’ and that users value and/or need it (as Mrs Blease rightly says) and do not want to lose it; more than 98 per cent would rather pay a fare (say 50p per trip, discounted for a return, week, month, etc,) than lose it altogether – (not a marketing challenge); - no-one can understand why this mid-point option (of charging the ‘Free’ passengers and promoting it better) does not seem to have been considered.

For those who may have the funds to pay for a taxi, a ‘within Clevedon’ fare is about �4 (plus the obligatory tip); hence this is not an option for many, if not most.

I urge NSC and or CTC to consider all of the above, and to provide the numbers referred to.

NEIL TULLBERG

Castlewood Close, Clevedon

Pre-dates

THE bridleway referred to in the article “Crossing query” in last week’s Times, which, incidentally, is in the parish of Portbury not Portishead, is in fact an ancient bridleway which pre-dates by many years the M5 and the Portbury Hundred and provided a safe route for equestrian and other recreational users until the new roads were constructed in the early 1970s.

Since the mid 1980s the dramatic increase in the population of Portishead and the surrounding area has resulted in an increase in both traffic volumes and speeds on the A369 and has made crossing the Portbury Hundred a much more dangerous exercise for ‘right of way’ users.

Following an increasing number of requests from users of the bridleway, Portbury Parish Council has been in discussion with North Somerset Council for some time regarding the provision of a cost effective way of balancing the needs of users of the right of way and warning motorists of a possible hazard on the road.

The latest developments in solar power, wireless technology and the availability of Section 106 planning funds has allowed an extremely efficient and cost effective scheme to be implemented at no cost to council taxpayers, specifically for this purpose.

The majority of users of the bridleway do so at off-peak times, which coincides with reduced traffic volumes on the A369, but increased vehicle speeds.

A rider is able to operate the warning lights when no vehicle is in sight but with a speed limit of 60mph it is perfectly possible for a car to reach the crossing point before the rider has completed their crossing unless there is a warning.

All the warning signs are requesting is that motorists reduce their speed to permit a rider to complete their crossing safely.

If this scheme prevents the death or serious injury to any motorist, rider, or animal - there was a serious incident about two years go involving a motorcycle and horse rider - then it will have achieved its purpose and represent excellent value for money.

Moreover, a number of horse riders have commented favourably on the scheme though its effectiveness and safety continues to be monitored.

PETER COOKE

Chairman

Portbury Parish Council

Priory Road, Portbury

Wasting

WITH reference to the letter suggesting we should all make a slight effort to start carrying torches around to navigate our way around pitch black streets in Clevedon, my response is why the hell should we?

Perhaps instead North Somerset Council could make a slight effort to stop wasting �230,000 a year of our money sending to every home its ‘Life’ magazine which end up in the recycling bin anyway, or perhaps turn off the lights at the Castlewood ‘illuminations’ site which are on well into the early hours, not just until 10pm, as well as at weekends.

Not forgetting the millions of pounds worth of refurbishment we have paid for too.

As a council taxpayer, I think �115,000 a year to keep all lights on to make sure people can get home safety, is a small amount compared to what they squander on rubbish magazines, and their own luxury work environment

My 19-year-old daughter and myself are entitled to walk home after 11.30pm safely without worrying about crime, injury or even worse.

Have any of the councillors witnessed how dark and dangerous the streets are?

There are a lot of angry young people following the death of their friend on Christmas day, very possibly due to the lack of lighting on Kenn Road.

I hope the council realises it has let the young people of Clevedon down, as it already provides very little for them to do and now they are at risk simply walking home after a night out.

It’s about time Clevedon councillors got out of the dark ages.

REBECCA STEVENS

Westbourne Avenue, Clevedon

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