Letters to the editor - July 18


I LIVE at Highdale Farm (the building below the site to be developed, and possibly the second oldest building in Clevedon), and this is the first I have even heard of this lease of land to the YMCA for its In It To Grow scheme.

In your report, you refer to this natural meadow as a ‘forgotten’ and ‘overgrown’ piece of land.

The inference you make is that this is somehow derelict and ruined, almost a Brownfield site; useless without some human intervention.

Furthermore, your article asserts that the purpose of the renovation of the land is “to attract more wildlife to the area”, create a community garden, and to “plant a wildflower meadow”.

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This area is already a diverse and heavily inhabited wild area, complete with naturally seeded wildflowers, which begs the obvious observation that all of this would need to be disturbed to recreate it in a less effective way.

This land represents the very tip of a rapidly diminishing corridor of wild land that extends from the heart of Clevedon to the Leigh Woods and beyond.

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It is a natural transport for roe deer, badger, foxes and owls who will likely lose this bit of grazing/hunting land as the developers will need to build deer fences to protect the planned community gardens.

I have no objection to opening the land to the public to enjoy, nor do I feel that the YMCA’s project is without merit, but this land does not suit the proposed altered use.

By all means, clear a path, put in a bench or two, but leave the natural environment to be enjoyed as it is.


Highdale Avenue, Clevedon


I WRITE with reference to North Somerset Council leader Nigel’s Ashton’s regular column in the July issue of North Somerset Life.

In this column Cllr Ashton quotes from a sermon from the American Southern Baptist preacher Dr Adrian Rogers, wrongly attributing the date as 1931, when it was actually 1984.

I hope, given the council’s equalities duties, that Cllr Ashton has no idea that Dr Rogers’ views also include those which are supportive of slavery and those, which are homophobic.

But even without knowing about Dr Rogers’ other views, the quote itself is incredibly offensive to all those people made redundant as a result of the financial crisis caused by the bankers, which include many North Somerset Council workers and Unison members, who are now claiming benefits, those people whose health has failed them who are claiming benefits, and all our senior citizens who are claiming state pensions.

In fact the quote: “When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to benefit from it, that is the end of any nation” is one of the most offensive comments on what I take to be the most important human quality, that is our capacity to love and care for other human beings, particularly those who are less fortunate than us.

It also contradicts the idea of the safety net provided to all of us by the welfare state when we fall into hardship.

I am fortunate enough to have a job currently and I am proud to pay taxes to make my contribution to society and support those less fortunate than myself.

I also believe that the vast majority of ordinary working people like me feel the same.


North Somerset Unison, Town Hall, Weston


FOR some years now we have been seeing reports in the news about widespread flooding, though here in Clevedon we have not as yet had appreciable problems.

At this time, in this so-called summer, we are seeing some of the heaviest rainfall since records began.

The Land Yeo Friends has always understood the risk of flooding in this town and for this reason has tried to keep the river clear of weed and debris and increase flow rates.

The Environment Agency has made it clear how crucial this involvement has been in securing our safety here in Clevedon, and as a consequence of Land Yeo Friend’s intervention several culverts have been cleared of rubbish, silt and weed and trees removed, and tons of litter and other debris taken out of the Land Yeo.

At the end of June a great deal of debris and weed was once again removed from the section of the river between the Old Dairy Site and the Conservative Club.

It is for everyone’s benefit, for Clevedon town, for wildlife and for the greater environment to have a healthy river flowing through our town.

In recent months we have seen a larger commitment from riparian owners and the people of the town to keep the river free of the debris which has caused so many problems in the past.

The Land Yeo Friends would like to thank you all for the support from the Environment Agency, from councils and local businesses and private individuals working together to make Clevedon a better and safer place to live.


The Land Yeo Friends

Thackery Avenue, Clevedon


I AM fed up with letters every week with the content of “dog mess in public places, ban dogs, dog on a lead kills family cat” it should be classed as dangerous and “If it attacked a cat it could be a child next”.

What about these headlines? Cats’ mess in private place (my garden). Ban people from letting them out?

Cats running free kill songbirds: There have been reports of thousands of so-called harmless little fluffykins running riot and killing any songbird they could get their claws into.

Cat mistakes child for blackbird and attacks. Call the police straightaway.

Let’s not make the dog the only baddie out there please.


St Michaels Avenue, Clevedon


ALL rubbish in and around Portishead has been in the hands of a human being.

All dogs do is poo which is very unpleasant as we know.

Think how nice Portishead would be if we took picnic, takeaway wrappers etc home to our own bins plus cigarette butts.

If you drop it pick it up, it only takes a moment ‘Pride in Portishead’ litter pickers.


Elm Tree park, Sheepway, Portbury

Bargain price

WHY is North Somerset Council selling its excess 7,000 Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme (LATS) permits at the bargain price of �2 per unit?

Neighbouring councils who do not have our excellent recycling rates will be snapping them up and by not having to pay the �150 Government fine, they will save their council taxpayers �148 per excess recyclable waste dumped.

Even if the council thinks that selling excess LATS permits is the right thing to do (and I don’t because we have a finite number of landfill holes in the UK) doesn’t it have a duty to maximise income from the sale?

Surely, a permit must be worth �100, potentially netting �700,000 for our cash-strapped council?

I can suggest a good use for �700,000. Surely this would pay for another year of the North Somerset Youth Service?


Wetlands Lane, Portishead

Under control

I AM still reeling from the irony of a fellow dog owner’s comments to me as I walked my dog in the area of Princes Road on July 10.

I am a responsible dog owner with an extremely friendly, well-behaved and controlled border collie who requires no lead.

We met a mature couple who were coming towards us with their small dachshund on a lead.

As we approached them, their dachshund started yapping and growling, pulling violently on its lead and displaying aggressive behaviour towards my border collie – who just gave it a cursory glance, a wide berth on the pavement and walked on obediently with me.

The lady of the couple said, loudly for my earshot: “It should be on a lead.”

Instinctively I turned around and retorted “why”? Her reply was “because dogs should be on leads “.

Considering that it was her dog, who was the aggressor, and the behaviour of mine was exemplary – the irony of the situation is obvious.

If it comes to an encounter with a quiet, tail-wagging friendly border collie or a noisy snapping aggressive dachshund – I know what my choice would be.

Surely the issue here is – not whether a dog is on a lead, but whether it is under control?


Lower Queens Road, Clevedon

John Purkiss

I WRITE with great sadness to mark the death of John Purkiss, a man whose skill and expertise helped many local charities and community organisations.

Our sincere condolences go out to his family as they come to terms with their loss.

John was hugely respected by the organisations he worked with to raise funds and ensure that this money was well managed and used effectively.

Springboard, which supports North Somerset preschool children with additional needs and disabilities and their families, has particular reason to be grateful to John.

He provided invaluable advice in setting up our facilities at the Ashcombe Children’s Centre and also helped raise the money needed every year to run the playrooms and other facilities we provide in Weston and Clevedon.

More than a thousand young children and their families have been helped by Springboard over the last 25 years and the need for our services shows no sign of reducing.

John Purkiss played a big part in making this possible and we will find it difficult to fill this gap.

Continuing John’s work will be the best celebration of his very worthwhile life and we would love to hear from anyone who would like to help us with this.


Chair of Trustees,

Springboard Opportunity Group,

Princes Road, Clevedon

Upside down

I SUSPECT that the people who refer to the Union Flag as the Union Jack are the same people who fly it upside down.


Priory Road, Portbury

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