Readers’ letters - August 22

Mission audit

Your recent article about Congresbury War Memorial Hall and its financial difficulties would seem to raise more general questions.

Although the current efforts to raise funds are entirely praiseworthy, the fact is that, as with other village facilities such as The Old School Rooms and the cricket club, none of these areas by themselves is large enough for whole village events.

In this respect it is perhaps timely that the Anglican and Methodist churches in Banwell and Congresbury are now involved in a mission audit.

This is designed to look at how joint ventures could benefit individuals and social groups but ideally it should also consider the use of existing buildings.


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Thus, for instance, St Andrew’s refrectory and the Methodist Hall can be included in the comments above.

Perhaps now is the time to be bold and envisage a more imaginative plan in which the disposal of certain of these assets might create both the funds and momentum for upgrade of some of the others.

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With this in mind I would urge members of the village community to make their views known through the mission audit so that the question can be tackled as a whole, rather than certain individuals being left to fight their own corner.

STUART HAGGETT

Mission Audit Communication Group,

Kent Road, Congresbury

Toilets

Unfortunately I had to use the toilets situated in the car-park near the Co-op.

They are in a dirty dilapidated condition, locks on toilet doors missing, the toilets are badly stained, toilet roll dispensers inoperable and the floor is in need of a good clean. Their condition is a blight on the town and should no longer be tolerated. Portishead Town Councillors should hang their heads in shame.

Are they all ‘Yes men’ to North Somerset Council, or is there one who is willing to stand up and be counted and get something done?

They should remember there is a council election coming and if they will not fight to improve the toilets, then we the residents have the power to vote then off the local council.

CHARLIE CHIVERS

South Road, Portishead

Volunteers

‘The Big Society’ remember David Cameron’s rousing call to us all to get involved and give some time to local groups and organisations? Well it’s not everybody’s cup of tea let’s face it.

But, if you have wondered about trying something new and interesting and want to get involved as we did some 18 months ago, why not think about joining the team of volunteers at Clevedon pier?

Do as much or as little as you like, meet a variety of visitors and enjoy the UK’s only grade one listed pier open to the public.

If you would like a chat and more information about volunteering on the pier give Mikhael Comerford a call on 01275 878846

Jeff and Diane Redshaw

Camomile Walk, Portishead

I was helped

I would like to respond to the letter from Mandy Tucker who claims to have not received any assistance from the emergency services.

I was helped by two female PCSOs who had closed the road at Portbury Lane due to flooding.

They were soaked through but they continued to assist the public in torrential rain to find a safer route for the public even after they had closed the road.

I heard one disgruntled driver give the ladies some abuse despite their attempts to help.

I would like to thank those ladies and all the other members of the emergency services who I expect were stretched to capacity on that dreadful night.

I think the public needs to remember that the services are there for everyone and not your own personal service.

ANNE JOHNSTONE

Tutton Way, Clevedon

Lifeboat

I hope you caught David Herbert on the TV on duty for the Weymouth Olympic yacht races, keeping watch with the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat.

I’ll never forget volunteering at a dry, land event to don their lifeboatmen’s sea-going kit – it weighs a proverbial ton!

The guys and girls who go out in this gear to rescue others are top-notch.

They lift kids off rocks in a rising tide, they tow yachts which forget to check their fuel tanks and they go out in the foulest of weathers for a well-intentioned false alarm.

Highest praise and thanks to Portishead and Bristol’s lifeboat and their Olympic volunteers.

NIGEL COOMBES

High Street, Portishead

Twitter

I was disappointed to read that Clevedon Town Council has ruled against tweeting during council meetings. Wider participation in council matters should be encouraged and this is an excellent use of social media to engage directly with residents.

The comments made by Cllr Carl Francis-Pester and Cllr Trevor Morgan are indicative of an outmoded mentality. Cllr Morgan said that ‘people will have to come to our meetings’ if they want to engage with the council.

Given the hectic nature of many people’s lives and the poor public transport, getting to council meetings is impractical for many.

The attitude that ‘the minutes should be the only true record of what happens in meetings’ is one straight out of the Sir Humphrey Appleby school of politics, and one that is rather unnerving.

The council should be embracing modern technology, not banning its use. If tweeting is a problem, why not live-stream the meetings?

All that is needed is a webcam and an internet connection and there is no risk of anyone being misrepresented or unable to pay attention.

I applaud Cllr Jane Geldart’s attempt at engaging a politically ambivalent and disenfranchised electorate. I sincerely hope that the councillors reconsider their decision and utilise the technology available to them to better inform those very people who have voted them to their positions of power.

SARAH HEARNE

North Lane, Nailsea

Transition town

In RESPONSE to the letter written by Chris Perry about the Gaulacre site in Nailsea last week, the Transition Town Nailsea (TTN) group would like the opportunity to put the record straight, and correct some of the inaccuracies in Mr Perry’s letter.

TTN is a group of local people who are part of a world-wide movement which tries to find local solutions to the impact of climate change.

Some of Mr Perry’s statements are correct: There were three options presented to Nailsea Town Council by the consultant, but these emerged from a lengthy and extensive process of public consultation. The main driver for this process was the need for Nailsea to have more allotment space, but given the size of the plot, other ideas were welcomed. The idea of a Diamond Jubilee Copse came from a local resident.

Mr Perry says: ‘The site is wet in places’. This was recognised in the final plans and a wetland area will be created in the centre which will drain water from the site. TTN believes that the planting of a copse and the plans to plant an orchard will help to overcome some of problems of wetness. Raised beds within the growing space will ensure good drainage and allow people to grow plants even if the surrounding areas are wet.

Mr Perry is incorrect in stating that: TTN is ‘a group representing vulnerable people’. We do not represent any other groups, but during the consultation have spoken to several local organisations working with disabled people and those with special needs. We have had strong support for the idea of creating a growing space and orchard where people can grow food in a safe and supportive setting. Currently people are being taken by bus to Tyntesfield or Clevedon. A town the size of Nailsea should be able to provide outdoor activity for its own residents.

‘The cost of the scheme is in excess of 200k’ we want to reassure people that the Gaulacre project does not pose the costly threat suggested by Mr Perry. His statement is based on a hypothetical list of costs drawn up showing what the whole preferred option would cost if developed commercially. This is scaremongering, and will not happen. TTN intends to fund most of its scheme by applying for grants, fund raising, collaborating with other groups on site, and through material donations. We hope the user groups will assist us in carrying out work to develop the site. We accept that Nailsea Town Council may need to assist with some limited projects such as creating access to the site and allotments, but the cost of this will not be the 200k.

‘The council has set up a working party’ The ‘one off’ meeting held recently was not a working party but an opportunity for the user groups to meet. As yet, there are no formal structures for the development and management of this site and Nailsea Town Council is still agreeing on its role. The group recognised that there will be no major developments of the site for up to a year and decided to unite in planning to plant a small Jubilee Copse which will enhance the site and provide a permanent tribute to the Diamond Jubilee for all to enjoy. We hope that local people with positive ideas will become involved. TTN wants to see the Gaulacre project benefit the whole of Nailsea, and for it to become a lively, valuable and unique place, where people of all ages and needs can go for work or recreation.

TTN invites anyone who is interested in the ideas of growing local food, sustainability and a low carbon future to join the group.

SALLY TARR

On behalf of TTN,

Mizzymead Rise, Nailsea

Thank you

A huge thank you to all those who supported the ‘Festival on the Quay’ at Portishead Marina on Saturday August 4.

Despite adverse weather conditions you managed to raise �3,111 for the Portishead Lifeboat Trust. Well done everyone.

JENNY WILLIAMS

The Galley, The Lock Gates, Portishead Marina

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