Readers’ letters - August 29

Why do we have to spend it?

I cannot believe what I have been reading recently about North Somerset Council.

In its wisdom, it has agreed to spend �9.7m of our money, repeat, our money, on revamping the town hall in Weston, as well as �15m spending and buying and kitting out Clevedon’s Castlewood office block. Then there is new office furniture, at �500,000, for Weston. Where are the calculations for ROI (Return On Investment) over the next five years?

I do not believe the council knows that ROI exists. It states that it remains well within its authorised budget limit of �202m. Why do we have to spend it? Let’s save it, we are in a recession

As for the Portishead High Street hold-up, well, this has to be a joke. Traffic lights in the High Street because of a suspected gas leak. What does that mean? A suspected gas leak? Is it one or not? It does not need a genius gas engineer to confirm it surely?

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And the Wyndham Way re-construction was delayed until the same day. A great decision but the whole of Portishead was grid-locked. The planning is absolutely non-existent.

Royston J Cook

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Drakes Way, Portishead

Free shopping bags do cost money

Dorothy Hubble defends her use of the bags she gets from shops on the grounds that she needs to use them for environmental purposes.

That’s fine, and it’s obviously better they get used in this sort of way than going straight out to landfill, recycling or - worst of all - as litter.

However, I don’t see why all of us should pay for the use that she and others make of these bags - and make no mistake, pay we do. They may be free when you get them at the shop, but they cost money.

I spoke to the owner of the Nisa store in Pill about this two years ago and he said he was spending about �430 a month on the bags the shop gives away - that’s money he has to recoup in other ways.

The figure for larger stores like Waitrose, Sainsbury’s etc must be much bigger, and no doubt has gone up since then. If they weren’t spending this money on bags that, mostly, only get used once they would be able to cut prices, or perhaps even give farmers and growers a bit more for their produce.

When governments in other countries have introduced a tax on the bags their use has dropped by 90 per cent or more and the great majority of people have benefited, quite apart from the environment. People with specific uses for bags can do what we all do about the things we use - buy them.

Bob Langton

Churchpath Road, Pill

Tweeting in the public interest

I totally agree with Sarah Hearne. For too long there has been a lack of openness about what goes on inside North Somerset Council and, as our elected representatives, our councillors will be doing us a service by telling us what really goes on.

As a planning agent, I know that the minutes of meetings only tell part of the story, things go on away from the public gaze which perhaps we should know about from time to time.

I have a lot of time for Cllr Shopland as an unbiased independent in a Tory dominated authority, but if he knew more about how Twitter works I think it could be a brilliant ally for him and others. No need to be scared of the technology as it’s simply texting on a mobile - kids’ stuff for sure, but mighty powerful at times.

Councillors should be free to use it as they want to so long as it’s in the public interest. North Somerset Council has had a Twitter account for some time but the tweets mainly refer to event information so it is not too interesting. What we need now are more individual councillors at it!

Andrew Hirst

Clevedon Road, Tickenham (@and01)

A lack of common courtesy

I am very disappointed that those horrible self service machines have now invaded Waitrose as well.

I had a good go at a chap in Portishead Library who was old enough to know better after one particular incident.

I was standing at the wretched machine just getting my key fob ticket the right way up and with my book in my other hand when he pushed in front of me and shoved his books through the machine .

I said very loudly, as staff were nearby: “One of the things I really loathe about these machines are the lack of manners and common courtesy that they engender.” He just looked at me. This was a well dressed man in his fifties.

This sort of behaviour shows how it is simply no longer a pleasure, along with the sterile plantless atmosphere, to the depths to which I feel our local library system has sunk.

Mary Cook

Sunnymede Road, Nailsea

Parkinson’s UK - a big thank you

ON BEHALF of the North West Somerset Branch of Parkinson’s UK, I would like to say a huge thank you to the Clevedon Ladies Circle for its extremely generous donations to Parkinson’s UK (national office) and also to our local branch, which meets in Nailsea every month.

The ladies organised a number of events, the main one being a fashion show and sale at Clevedon School earlier this year, and thanks to their tremendously hard work it was a great success.

Dr Anne Wilkinson was chairman of Clevedon Ladies Circle last year (2011-2012) and chose our charity as the one she wished to support because her mother has Parkinson’s. Her parents, Harold and Janet, were both early members of the North West Somerset branch and have always been great supporters.

Recently, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, asked for donations to our branch instead of presents, and gave us a considerable sum which will be used to help members with Parkinson’s and their carers.

Thank you so much to all those who were involved in any way in the fund-raising. We do appreciate your support!


Chairman, North West Somerset Branch, Parkinson’s UK, Church Lane, Nailsea

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