Letters to the editor - November 28

No barriers


I FULLY concur with David Hill’s statement last week: “I feel some adults need reminding that the marina, where there are no barriers protecting people from the water, is a dangerous place for youngsters without strict supervision.”

As a regular walker through the marina I have, on a couple of occasions, been forced to get out of the way of cyclists who seem to believe that they have right of way.

The path around the marina should be treated as a pedestrian zone and not as a cycle track.

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Kilkenny Place, Portishead

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IT WAS good to see the large number of organisations, particularly the young, marching along Portishead High Street in the Remembrance Day Parade on Armistice Day.

The number of groups, and the individual members in them seemed to exceed previous years’ parades, and they were a credit to their organisations. Very smart indeed.

The one organisation that was missing was the Portishead Town Band. Had they been there, they would have made the parade complete for those marching, and for the spectators who lined the roadside in some numbers. The Town Band, as they call themselves, let the side down in no uncertain measure.

I write as a founder member of the band. In earlier years, we band members saw it as our duty to lead this parade (and take part in other local events such as the carnival and flower show) in order to justify the name of the town in the band name, and the town crest which is displayed on the uniform badge.

We had an affinity with the town and an allegiance to it. We weren’t up to the standard of the existing band, but we couldn’t have been more proud than when marching through the town, and I am certain the bystanders appreciated our efforts. We saw those events as the band’s primary function.

It’s a shame that the current band apparently don’t see it as their duty to head the local parade nowadays. They seem to be neglecting their roots in the community whose name they carry.

Perhaps next year they will do the town a favour by leading the parade. If they are not prepared to do so, then perhaps they would let me know, and I will try to get a group of individuals together who can lead the Remembrance Day parade in the manner that the groups taking part deserve. We mustn’t allow them to be let down again.


Forester Road, Portishead




CONCERNING North Somerset Council Boundary Review 2012/13, I have been involved actively in electoral work, canvassing, councillor, etc, since 1945 and I realise that it is the public’s perception of the usefulness of councillors being able to influence matters on their behalf that counts.

Sadly that ability has declined rapidly over the years with the abolition of urban districts and the introduction of district and unitary authorities which has removed meaningful representation further away from the public, by reducing the number of councillors that they can contact.

In passing I would point out that the executive system has completely removed any meaningful role in the running of councils by individual councillors and this has been seen by the public.

The new mayoral system together with police commissioners has accentuated this problem as it would appear we are to have commissars responsible only to Central Government. That is why the democratic turnout to vote has diminished, as shown by the recent elections making the results and appointments derisory and meaningless.

My grandfather was elected to the Clevedon UDC Council in 1914 which had local autonomy, 18 councillors and a town population of 6,000. ie he represented 333 persons.

My father was elected to the same council in 1949, 21 councillors, population around 1,500. He represented 714 persons.

I am now on the district council with seven councillors representing Clevedon, population 23,000. I represent approximately 3,386 persons.

Not exactly an improvement in representation over 100 years, in fact a decline. The public realise this, they feel let down by the system and are losing faith in the process. They will soon start to look for an alternative.

Please do not reduce the number of councillors, the only improvement is more councillors paid less.


Councillor Clevedon East Ward,

North Somerset Council

Old Street, Clevedon


Not a believer


YOUR report in November 14, North Somerset Times regarding three sponsors bidding for a free school, worries me somewhat because one of the bidders is the Diocese of Bath and Wells which can impose great influence on any decision making.

I am not a believer in faith schools at all. Schools are for education not religious doctrine. If parents wish their children to learn about God, etc, then they should send them to Sunday School, or have churches given up on these?

My parents sent me to the local Salvation Army Sunday School 75 to 80 years ago, not because they thought I should learn about religion (I was attending a Church of England School at the time), but because it was then the thing to do.

As early as the age of eight, I could not believe what was being forced onto me about God and miracles and such and now as a Humanist, my thinking is not only unchanged, but I am wiser and stronger in mind regarding any religious faith.

Religious organisations of whatever faith can and do, do good in natural catastrophic events or in times of conflict, etc, but religion (Bishops in the House of Lords comes to mind) should be kept out of politics and schools or any other non-religious organisation, just as politics should be kept out of local government, police, etc.

I was appalled when I saw the number of candidates for both the Mayor of Bristol and the Avon and Somerset Police Commissioner from various political parties and was so pleased that independent candidates won both offices.


Hardwick Road, Pill




HAVING read Samantha Pope’s article in the North Somerset Times I must speak out in defence of Strode Swimming Pool.

I swim there daily and would say that I have normal standards of cleanliness but have never found the changing rooms as unacceptable as the picture painted in this article.

But I do find unacceptable the lack of respect shown by some customers, wrenching clothes’ hooks off the walls, breaking door locks, maltreating the lockers, leaving litter scattered around and other unsociable behaviour. The young life guards (as well as their main role) help with the cleaning, which they do during the pool’s opening hours and have to clean around swimmers and many of us know that it’s not easy to clean around people - especially if they’re showering, getting dressed or drying their hair. Mostly in various stages of undress.

Yes, there are signs of ageing; the building and many fittings are after all twenty-five years old, and much is shabby, but don’t knock a facility which does so much valuable work and gives pleasure to many.

A hundred pages on in the paper I read about young Clevedon swimmers achieving personal best times in swimming galas - these are the youngsters who train each Tuesday at 7am in Strode Pool, worked hard by their coach and watched over by the life guards.

In fairness I must add that mostly I swim early in the morning before the detritus of the day is present. The empty shower gel/shampoo bottles, swim bands, hair and other personal rubbish that doesn’t reach the bins as it should.

I know I am not alone in feeling that we, in Clevedon, are lucky to have this vibrant leisure centre enjoyed by so many, of all ages, following their various activities. So see you in the pool Samantha 7am sharp.


Highdale Avenue, Brockley


Thank You

I WOULD like, through your paper, to express my very grateful thanks to the Good Samaritans (Rachel and her husband) who came to my aid when I fell over at the junction of Avon Way and Link Road, on October 30.

They very kindly picked me up and took me to the health centre.

Thank you both very much for your help, I am making a good recovery.


Lower Down Road, Portishead

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